Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Workshop

Felix Culpa
Toward a Theory of Productive Guilt

Date: 13 - 15 March 2017

Convenors: Matthias Buschmeier (Bielefeld, GER), Katharina von Kellenbach (St. Mary’s City, USA)

In March 2017, a group of fifteen scholars from Africa, Europe and the United States, representing the disciplines of literature, classics, history, law, philosophy, religious studies, psychology, art, and anthropology met to examine the concept of guilt as a productive force in the transformation of violent conflict, the creation of culture, and the consolidation of social order. In sometimes surprising sets of discipline-specific lectures, participants discussed theoretical perspectives on ‘productive guilt’, the intersection of collective violence and guilt, the varieties of symbolic representations and discourses of guilt across time and space, as well as the productive interrelationship of shame and guilt. The ensuing dialogue across disciplines as well as religious, cultural, and linguistic borderlines proved inspiring and fruitful.


John Borneman (Princeton, USA), Marijke Box (Bielefeld, GER), Ekrem Düzen (Bielefeld, GER), Ingo W. Gerhartz (Mainz, GER), Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi (New Brunswick, USA), Stephan Grätzel (Mainz, GER), Klaus Günther (Frankfurt am Main, GER), Victor Igreja (Toowoomba, AUS), Karima Lanius (Bielefeld, GER), Maria-Sybilla Lotter (Bochum, GER), Michael Lurie (Hanover, USA), Jane Mulfinger (Santa Barbara, USA), Yudit Namer (Bielefeld, GER), Tanja Penter (Heidelberg, GER), Meinolf Schumacher (Bielefeld, GER), Lisa B. Spanierman (Tempe, USA), Nike Thurn (Bielefeld, GER), Nelly Van Doorn-Hader (Winsten-Salem, USA)

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