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Bio-cultural Diversity & Hegemonic Power: The Role of the Humanities in Navigating Knowledge - A day of encounters co-organised with Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge

18 June 2019
A photo of the roundtable discussion: six people are sitting on chairs, five are facing the viewer, one is with their back to the camera. One is speaking while holding a notebook, the others are listening attentively.

On 4 June 2019, the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture and Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge co-organised a forum in which artists, scholars, and activists discussed and exchanged new ideas and understandings of bio-cultural diversity.

Art installation

A video installation created by artist Dorine van Meel , Beyond the Nation State I Want to Dream showed decomposing and recomposing computer-generated images of past and present colonial places, accompanied by a monologue which is haunted by the historical violence of the nation state, perpetuated into the present. The participants and artist discussed if and how art can contribute to the world we want to live in.

Roundtable discussions

In the roundtable conversation with artists, scholars, and politicians various ideas on hegemony in the past and the present were discussed. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab discussed the previous hegemonic role of the Persian language. Sven Gins analysed human control over their environment in pre-modern animal law and trials, and Wesley Pechler discussed the Party for the Animals’ aims to put animal rights on the national and European agenda. Sophia Löwe argued for the benefit of shapeshifting in order to be bio-cultural diversity in humanities. Alternatives to ocularcentric and ableist knowledge systems were explored by Piet Devos. Last but not least, Whitney A. Bauman inquired which knowledge traditions and approaches can aid in addressing unearned privileges.

Workshops

The afternoon included a workshop convened by anthropologist Susannah Crackford, in which narratives of fragmentation and loss of hegemony and grief, especially in relation to climate change, were discussed. The second workshop was based on discussing the question how the humanities can actively contribute to the discourse on hegemony. Participants exchanged ideas on how the humanities can reorganise to go beyond the economic norm, analyse fluid categories of knowledge, and be self-reflective.

Word of thanks

We would like to express our gratitude to Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge for co-organising this forum on which innovative ideas and exchanges traversed the boundaries of disciplines and traditional institutes. We would also like to thank the Groningen Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization for co-sponsoring the event.

Text: Gooitske Nijboer

Last modified:18 June 2019 12.10 p.m.

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