Fellows

Prof. Feng-Mei Heberer

Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies, New York University, New York, NY

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Hediger

Duration of stay: December 2022

Feng-Mei Heberer is Assistant Professor in Cinema Studies at New York University. Her research spans transnational media, ethnic studies, feminist and queer studies, with particular focus on Asian diasporic media cultures. Her work has appeared, among others, in Camera Obscura, Sexualities, and the edited volume Asian Video Cultures. Her book, Asians On Demand: Mediating Race in Video Art and Activism, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. Complementing her academic work, she has been a programmer for several film festivals, including the Asian Film Festival Berlin.

Research Project Title
Asian German Media Activisms

Research abstract
This project proceeds from the question, what can we learn about conflict and trust-building from the activist media practices of marginalized groups, in particular when conceived through an intersectional grassroots perspective? With a focus on the Asian Film Festival Berlin as a nodal point of different generations of Asian German activism, it seeks to explore overarching questions of representational practices, collective organizing, and the particular role of distinct media formats in articulating minority politics and advancing a social justice agenda, including film, podcasts, and social media.

Publications:
2023. Asians On Demand: Mediating Race in Video Art and Activism (University of Minnesota Press).
2020. “Scaling Down Workload, Upping Co-Presence. Reflecting on Teaching in the Time of Corona.” Open Media Studies Blog.
2019. “Sentimental Activism as Queer-Feminist Documentary Practice, or How To Make Love in a Room Full of People,” Camera Obscura (Best Publication Award Gender and Media 2020,Gender-/Queer and Media Studies Interest Group, Society for Media Studies).
2017. “The Asianization of Heimat – Ming Wong’s Asian German Video Works,” in Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global (Duke University Press), ed. Bhaskar Sarkar and Joshua Neves (Society for Cinema and Media Studies Award for Best Edited Collection, 2019).

Events:
16 December 2022 Workshop: Asiatisch Deutscher Kulturaktivismus: Medien, Repräsentation, Generationen

Prof. Dr. Roberto Mordacci

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst

Duration of stay: From November 2022 to July 2023

Roberto Mordacci graduated in philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan in 1989 and then obtained a PhD in Bioethics at the University of Genoa.
Since November 1, 2002 he has been associate professor (confirmed since November 1, 2004) of Moral Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
Since 1 November 2013 he is Full Professor of Moral Philosophy at the same University, where he teaches Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of History.
Since January 2017 he is founder and Director of the International Research Centre for European Culture and Politics (IRCECP) at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
From 1 July 2013 to July 2022 he was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
Since July 2021 he is Co-Director of the Journal Filosofia morale / Moral Philosophy (Mimesis) promoted by the Italian Society of Moral Philosophy
Since 1 October 2022 he is Pro-Rector for Humanities and Social Sciences of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.

Research Project Title
Critical Ethics & Politics. Normative Reasons & Social Practices

Research abstract
Even though the principle of respect for persons is almost universally invoked in moral normative theory, not so many books are entirely dedicated to the idea of respect.
Maybe the first systematic theory of respect for persons is expounded in R. Downie, E. Telfer, Respect for Persons (Allen & Unwin, London 1969), a rather influential but outdated book based on a personalistic interpretation of some of Kant’s ideas on the subject. Quite understandably, also Kantian in their general outlook, with many differences among them, are the attempts of building a moral theory on the grounds of respect: Carl Cranor’s articles in the ‘70s (e.g. Toward a Theory of Respect for Persons, «American Philosophical Quarterly», 1975), Alan Donagan’s well-known The Theory of Morality (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1977), and more recently T.E. Hill’s Respect, Pluralism, and Justice (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000), the highly influential S. Darwall’s The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect and Accountability (Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 2006) and a number of good articles by Carla Bagnoli (e.g. The Mafioso Case: Morality, Autonomy, and Self-Respect, «Ethical Theory and Moral Practice», 2009).
Yet, all of these attempts rather seem to take for granted the normative validity of the principle of respect, and do not offer a thorough theoretical foundation for it (with the possible exception of Darwall’s book). Furthermore, none of these theories offers a historical reconstruction of the concept, at least as a supporting argument showing how it happened that this principle is so prominent nowadays. Finally, the Kantian ground assumed as the basis of a theory of respect is often unexplored in both its more radical grounds in Kant’s doctrine of non-contradiction in the will, and in its possible connection with the idea of critical philosophy.
This book attempts to fill this gap in the academic research and to offer a systematic theory of respect as the foundation of critical ethics and politics, overcoming the limitations of the existing studies. Furthermore, exploring the notion of critique in a connection between Kant’s critical philosophy and the methodological suggestions coming from the Critical Theory developed by the authors of the Frankfurt School, this book aims to elaborate a fresh outlook to the ethical and political issues of contemporary society, in both moral and political terms.
The idea of respect is the practical ground of normative theory. It does not depend on or derive from other notions, such as the idea of dignity or the nature of human beings, but it is inscribed in the original structure of intentional action with an evaluative relevance. Any human practice is subject to a judgment in terms of respect and a comprehensive theory is needed to critically assess our individual and social practices.

Publications:
Among his recent publications: Ritorno a Utopia (Laterza, Roma-Bari 2020); La condizione neomoderna (Einaudi, Torino 2017); (ed. with Stefania Contesini), Fare impresa con i valori. Teoria e pratica dell’Identity Shaping (Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2018); Essence et mèthode de l’utopie, Diogène 2021/1 n° 273-274, 7-22; A Short History and Theory of Respect, International Philosophical Quarterly, 59, 2, issue 234 (June 2019), pp. 121-136.

Events during the scholarship (lectures, etc.):
- The idea of critique. A reappraisal, May 16th, 2023, Normative Orders (Kolloquium)
- Respect as a relation of power, May 23rd, 2023, Normative Orders

Asja Makarević, PhD

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Hediger

Funded by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung

Duration of stay: October 1 - December 31, 2022

Asja Makarević holds a PhD degree in Film Studies at the Goethe University, Frankfurt. Her research addresses the ongoing "post-war" condition of the former Yugoslav countries and concomitant emergence of “non-representational” images of war in post-Yugoslav film. From 2009 till 2017 Asja managed Talents Sarajevo, the Sarajevo Film Festival’s networking and training platform for emerging film professionals from Southeast Europe and Southern Caucasus. In the past year Asja worked as a University Assistant in the Department of Media and Film Studies at the Vienna Film Academy, at mdw University for Music and Performing Arts. As of October 2022 Asja conducts her post-doc research at the Goethe University, Frankfurt.

Research Project Title
Knowledge Production in the Post-Conflict Society of Former Yugoslavia: From Documentary to Legal Evidence

Research abstract
Filmmakers, visual artists and photographers, who are active in conflict and post-conflict societies, such as the former Yugoslav countries, often engage in investigations. They document ongoing violations of human rights or visualise past, unresolved crimes. Intentionally or not, their work can lead to the creation of evidence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia or state courts. Reversely, established criminal records are put in use as a way of reflecting and contextualising publicly unknown or disputed facts. Sometimes it is difficult to tell where a visual practice stops and a legal evidence begins, or the other way around.
By eye-witnessing military or militia abuse of power, image-makers become integral to the dispositif of modern warfare. Their images come under careful scrutiny of critical scholars, whose mode of operation is characterised by suspicion of the authority of established truths. Post-structural theories rightly argue for skepticism of master narratives and media representations, but, when used with disregard to specific socio-political considerations immanent to analyzed images of war, can sow doubt about non-negotiable points of reference of a country’s past and its history of war. The resulting performance of discourse resembles a performance of ideology for its own sake. As such it aligns with anti-epistemology as defined by Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman (2021). When the applied critical theory shares characteristics with anti-epistemology, it plays into hands of radical ethno-nationalists. In those instances, it has a potential to accelerate further fragmentation of ethnically diverse societies such as present Bosnia and Herzegovina. Against this background I am interested in studying visual practices which contribute to knowledge production as a factor of stability in multicultural societies.
Images which help secure evidence in time when there is no political will or ability yet to engage official public bodies to investigate or reinvestigate war crimes in the former Yugoslavia will be carefully analyzed.

Publications:
Makarević, A. Beyond Post-War Cinema. Historical Experience in Post-Yugoslav Film. Amsterdam University Press (pending peer review, 2022)
Makarević, A. Book Review: Contemporary Balkan Cinema: Transnational Exchanges and Global Circuit. Apparatus: Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe (forthcoming No. 15, Fall 2022)
Makarević, A. Beyond Post-War Cinema. Historical Experience and Cultural Agency in Post-Yugoslav Film. Cinema & Cie (Vol. XVI, No. 26/27, Spring/Fall 2016, p. 161-163)

Events during the scholarship (lectures, etc.):
Makarević, A. 2022. Master Class and a Film Debate. Non-Representational Images of War in Films. Eastern Neighbours Film Festival, 24. November, The Hague.
Makarević, A. 2022. Ethical Considerations of Visual Practices in the Post-Conflict Society of Former Yugoslavia. Glowing Globe Symposium. Ethics and Aesthetics in Post-Digital Art, University of Rijeka, 13. October, Rijeka.
Makarević, A. 2022. Knowledge Production in the Post-Conflict Society of Former Yugoslavia: From Documentary to Legal Evidence. (Post-)Yugoslav History, Society and Culture. Workshop for Networking and Exchange, University of Vienna, 30. September, Vienna.

 

Prof Veena Hariharan

Associate Professor of Cinema Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Duration of stay: September 1 2022 to February 29 2024

Funded by Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation

Veena Hariharan is currently Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Department of Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt. After completing her PhD in Cinema Studies from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, she taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India where she is Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics. Her articles and chapters on non-fiction film, the environment and non-human animals have appeared in anthologies and journals. Her book, Embers of Reason: Contemporary Indian Documentary and the Secular Imagination is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Research project title
Entangled Lives: Animals, Humans, and the Moving Image

Research abstract
By shifting the exclusive focus of studies on conflict and trust away from human worlds to include non-human animals, I underline the critical importance of the animal for thinking about human life. The project is located in my disciplinary focus of film and media studies, and I look at the entanglements of animals, humans and the moving image in the figure of the screen animal. Studies about animals are predicated on their fundamental otherness and disappearance under regimes of regulation and sanitization of human-animal boundaries in western industrial modernity. My research challenges this critical move by locating the animal in the feral cities of the postcolonial world where modern technologies of visuality, conservation, and governmentality on the one hand, and religion, mythology, human livelihoods, and traditional ways of life on the other, mediate everyday human encounters with animals. By studying these complex ecosystems where animals and humans coexist amid affective relationships of care, vulnerability and precarity, I hope to explore new, urgent and ethical ways in which to inhabit multispecies-worlds.

Publications
(2014) “At home in the Empire: The Colonial Home Movies of Edgar S Hyde”, Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies. 5(1): 49-61.
(2021) “The Shikar Film and Photograph: Hunting in Colonial India”. In Blackwell Companion to Indian Film edited by Neepa Majumdar and Ranjani Mazumdar. UK: Blackwell.
 (2022) “Contagious Aesthetics: Bios, Politics and Cinema in Contemporary Kerala”. In “Cinema of the Global South: Towards a Southern Aesthetics” CISA (Centre for Indian Studies in Africa) Journal, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Events
Further information will follow

Prof. Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha

Professor of Literary Studies, Kazi Nazrul University, India, and (currently) Institute of Language Studies and Research (ILSR), Kolkata, India

Duration of Stay
October - November 2022

In cooperation with Dr. Pavan Malreddy

Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha, currently with the School of Translation and Cultural Studies, Institute of Language Studies and Research (ILSR), Kolkata, India, is Professor in the Department of English and Co-coordinator of the Centre for Critical Social Inquiry at Kazi Nazrul University in India. He has been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and visiting scholar at Institute for Critical Social Inquiry in the New School for Social Research in New York, and at Linnaeus University in Sweden, etc. Anindya's current research focuses on postcolonial literature and cultural practices, critical theory, violence and citizenship rights. He is one of the founding members of the Postcolonial Studies Association of the Global South (PSAGS).

Research Project Title
»Anarchiving Social Change: Black Reason, Caste Conflicts and the Postcolonial Imperative«

Research abstract
During my research fellowship stay, together with Pavan Kumar Malreddy, I will continue to work on our joint book project »Anarchiving Social Change: Black Reason, Caste Conflicts and the Postcolonial Imperative«. Focusing on ideologies of conflict and hate, built around systems of caste, ethnic and racial discriminations, this book revisits how B. R. Ambedkar and W. E. B. DuBois, two prominent early twentieth century thinker-activists, envisaged constitutionalism and principles of social »endosmosis« as possible means of dialogue, social justice and inter-community trust building. Examining conventional definitions of the archive, this study explores the possibility of a more effective discourse of »anarchiving« that historicizes the present in such a way so that potential spaces of subject formation and social critique can be fortified for future. (Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha)

Publications (selection)
(ed. with Saswat Samay Das), Deleuze and Guattari and Terror, Edinburgh University Press 2022.
(co-authored with Manas Dutta and Tirthankar Ghosh), Social Movements, Media and Civil Society in Contemporary India: Historical Trajectories of Public Protest and Political Mobilisation, Palgrave Macmillan 2022.
Literature, Cultural Politics and Counter-Readings: Hamlet As the Prince of Deconstruction, Routledge and Aakar Books 2021.
(ed. with Pavan Malreddy and Birte Heidemann), Violence in South Asia: Contemporary Perspectives, Routledge 2020.

Events
Lecture on October 26, 2022: Postcolonial perspectives on conflict and trust building. Tolerance, Fratricidal Violence and Samata: Critical Anarchives of Nazrul, Ambedkar and W.E.B. DuBois. Part of the Lecture Series "Trust Contexted". For more: Click here...


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