Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Workshop

Female Intellectuals in the 20th and 21st Century. Diagnoses of the Present and 'Intervening Thinking'

Date: 24 - 25 March 2014

Convenor: Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey (Bielefeld, GER)

The 20th century has been named as "century of the intellectuals". Numerous studies have depicted the history of intellectuals. They have one thing in common: the omission of women. The working group "Female intellectuals in the 20th century" has undertaken the attempt to move women as diagnosticians of events and "intervening thinkers" into the focus of research about intellectuals. They based their conference on an understanding of the term ?intellectual?, which differentiated between ?intelligence? and "intellectuality". The term "intellectual" was neither defined as belonging to the categories of occupation, nor class, nor stratum, but as a social role, which could be exercised only in certain situations. Writers, artists, scientists become intellectuals, according to Pierre Bourdieu`s premise, if they dispose of a "specific authority", which an autonomous world (independent of religious, political and economic powers) allots to them, whose specific rules they respect, and if they deploy this specific authority within political disputes. From this it derives that only the intervention into the field of politics transforms members of the intelligence into intellectuals. The centre of attention of the conference was therefore directed to women, who had interfered in the political arena through public statements. The case-studies, presented during the conference, included women from different scientific and artistic disciplines from France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Canada and the USA (Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, Käthe Kollwitz, Margarete Buber-Neumann, Erika Mann, Yoko Ono, Elfriede Jelinek, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein). They analysed their key-values, their ways of writing, their networks and their strategies to change the criteria of perception and division of the public. The results of the conference will be published by the Siebeck Mohr publishing house (Tübingen) in 2015.

Participants Silja Behre (Paris, FRA), Bettina Brandt (Bielefeld, GER), Steffen Bruendel (Essen, GER), Uta Gerhardt (Heidelberg, GER), Karin Hausen (Berlin, GER), Agnes Heller (Budapest, HUN), Stephan Isernhagen (Bielefeld, GER), Ilse Lenz (Bochum, GER), Dorothee Liehr (Oststeinbek, GER), Henning Marmulla (Luxemburg, LUX), Eva Oberloskamp (München, GER), Franziska Schößler (Trier, GER), Kristina Schulz (Bern, SUI), Katrin Stoll (Warschau, POL), Miriam Strube (Paderborn, GER), Brigitte Studer (Bern, SUI), Marica Tolomelli (Bologna, ITA), Ingeborg Villinger (Freiburg i.Br., GER), Annette Wolf (Berlin, GER)

Photo on Poster: Fred W. McDarrah/Portrait of Susan Sontag/Getty Images

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