'Felix Culpa'?

Zur kulturellen Produktivität der Schuld

Oktober 2018 - Juli 2019

Leitung: Matthias Buschmeier (Bielefeld, GER),
Katharina von Kellenbach (St. Mary's City, USA)
ZiF Workshop


Closing Conference 'Global Perspectives on Guilt'

cancelled due to the coronavirus

18 – 19 Juni 2020
Leitung: Klaus Günther (Goethe University Frankfurt a. M., GER), Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi (Rutgers University, USA), Victor Igreja (University of Southern Queensland, AUS), Katharina von Kellenbach (St. Mary's College of Maryland, USA), Angela Moré (Hannover University, GER)

The conference Global Perspectives on Guilt is an international conference that serves as the culmination of the ten month the Research Group'Felix Culpa'? – Guilt as Culturally Productive Force (2018/2019) spent in residence at the ZiF, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld.

The closing conference examinesguilt as culturally productive force through close examination of particular case studies tracing the language and symbolic representation of guilt relations in the aftermath of conflict. The invited speakers explore the legal, symbolic, and cultural forms of guilt representation in a variety of cultural and national contexts, including Indonesia, India, Mozambique, Serbia, and Australia. They use the methods of anthropology, international law, psychology, religious studies, political science, and sociology to examine their topics. “Guilt” is a complex and controversial term that varies across different academic disciplines and national, cultural and religious contexts. Guilt negotiations are local and global and take psychological and political, symbolic and legal frameworks. Specifically, the research groups asks whether and how guilt appears in culturally productive ways.

The conferenceaddresses four areas of guiltexpressions. The first panelGuilt, Silence, and the Violence Continuum looks at legal and moral models of guilt relations as a mode to disrupt the violence continuum, especially in the context of mass violence. The second panelGhost and Spirit Manifestations of Guilt and Debt Relations focuses on spectral remainders that give expression to tense, conflictual social relationships. Is it appropriate to speak of guilt when one interprets cultural practices involving ghosts, dreams, and restless souls in Thailand, India, Chinese and Vietnam? While most scholars have moved beyond Ruth Benedict’s distinction between Guilt and Shame Cultures, are discourses about guilt nevertheless always Christian-infused? The third panel looks at theThe Costs of Denial and Silence and investigates the political, psychological, and religious implications of the absence of guilt and grief in the aftermath of individual crime as well as political crimes (ISIS-Daesh). Since shame and guilt are unpleasant emotions and experiences, the productivity of guilt may consist precisely in in denial and resistance to guilt attributions. The forth panel,Dis/Embodying Guilt and Shameanalyzes the cultural conditions and structures that mark specific bodies as criminal, tainted, impure, or guilty while other bodies are rendered privileged. What is the role of guilt in justifying or alleviating intolerance, social exclusion and marginalization? Do labels such as white guilt, male privilege, or European colonial guilt shift power (im)balances or do they merely antagonize and/or sensitize individuals and groups? Overall, we want to deepen the conversations about the links between guilt and complex cultural configurations of forgiveness, punishment, redemption, redress, or, indeed, denial and indifference.

The conference juxtaposes the different ways in which guilt enters productively into human relations, either in their articulation or their absence therebyexpanding understanding of the variety of global practices that mitigate intolerable forms of guilt relations. It thereby increases interdisciplinary sophistication of a term such as guilt that is pervasive across the social sciences and humanities. Guilt is not only a central concept within academic discourses but carries considerable political power as societies wrestle with the reproduction ofmass violence as well as everyday experiences of discrimination, such as racism, sexism and xenophobia. By inviting scholars from different disciplines and areas of expertise, we explore diverse ways to contain guilt relations through cultural practices.


Bei weiteren Fragen und für weitere Informationen wenden Sie sich bitte an Marina Hoffmann.

E-Mail: marina.hoffmann@uni-bielefeld.de
Tel. +49 521 106-2768