Cosmopolitanism explored 21-24 June in Bergen
The concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’ has become increasingly important in academic debates on diversity, but is often criticised for being too wide and unspecific to work as an analytical concept. 21-24 June a group of scholars gather in Bergen to explore how cosmopolitanism can best be theorised in order to help us understand diversity, both in contemporary societies and historically. The conference is hosted by professor Vigdis Broch-Due and associate professor Kathinka Frøystad at the Department of Social Anthropology.
Is 'cosmopolitanism' a useful concept?
As the concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’ has become increasingly important in academic debates on diversity, the concept itself has taken on a wide array of meanings in a multitude of fields. As the meanings attributed to cosmopolitanism has expanded, however, analyses applying the concept are also criticised for their lack of specificity as to what exactly is the phenomena being discussed. Should it be relexicalized? Cut down to size? Taxonomized? Treated heuristically? Scrapped altogether? This conference aims to scrutinise this matter by throwing cosmopolitanism and the phenomena captured by this concept into sharp relief. The aim is to engage in a critical exploration of the possibilities and limitations entailed by the use of ‘cosmopolitanism’ as an analytical tool. Primarily, the conference will present empirically informed contributions of a theoretical nature, yet, by including scholars working in different parts of the world, and with a variety of topics, we simultaneously aim to contribute to the comparative study of cosmopolitanism.
Main questions to be explored at the conference are:
What kind of concept is cosmopolitanism? What can be captured by this concept? How does it relate to empirical realities? Which phenomena does it capture – and which does it obscure? We seek to explore these questions along four thematic lines: the cultural and aesthetic underpinnings of cosmopolitanism, religious diversity, colonial legacies and the production and contestation of ‘otherness’.
Marcy Brink-Danan, assistant professor at Judaic Studies and Anthropology, Brown University
P. J. Cherian, professor at the Kerala Council for Historical Research
Ian Coller, lecturer at the School of Historical and European Studies, La Trobe University
Steven Feld, professor at the Department of Music, University of New Mexico
Maja Povrzanovic Frykman, associate professor at the Department of Global Political Studies, University of Malmö
Devleena Ghosh, associate professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney
Rachel Gillett, lecturer in History and Literature, Harvard University
Khalil M. Habib, associate professor at the Department of Philosophy, Salve Regina University
Eric Hirsch, reader at the Department of Social Anthropology, Brunel University
Julia Horne, university historian and senior research fellow at the Department of History, University of Sydney
Joel S. Kahn, professor emeritus at the School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University
Annemette Kirkegaard, associate professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Section of Musicology, University of Copenhagen
Nigel Rapport, professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews
Glenda Sluga, professor at the Department of History, University of Sydney
Huon Wardle, senior lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews
Pnina Werbner, professor emerita at the School of Sociology and Criminology, Keele University