ZfL Annual Conference
11 Jan 2018 – 12 Jan 2018

Diversität darstellen

Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum
Organized by Mona Körte, Georg Toepfer, Stefan Willer
Contact: Birgit Raabe
Research project(s): Diversity (2017/18)

Diversity is everywhere. Diversity management has become mandatory in organizations and administrations; the United Nations have declared 2011–2020 the decade of biological diversity, seeking to link the protection of species diversity with the sustainable use of natural ressources; politically, diversity names both the heterogeneity of different collective identities and the effort to gurantee all of them equal opportunities. Yet, precisely this emphasis on plurality, at the expense of unity, has been deployed as an argument against diversity policies. Such was the case when, in November 2016, the New York Times argued that the fixation on diversity was among the crucial factors for Donald Trump's success in the presidential election. However, political concepts and practices of diversity have long transgressed any fixed orientation on race, class, and gender—if those have ever been consistent at all. By now, diversity can support individualistic claims and life styles as well as socio-political concerns (regarding tolerance, acceptance, togetherness). Cultural and biological diversity have become two sides of the same coin (at least for the UN, cf. the Convention on Biological Diversity,” 1992, and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity,” 2001). Obviously, diversity is a highly expansive notion which tends to absorb or conflate its respective opposites and antonyms. This may be said to have always been a hallmark of the semantics of diversity, which oscillates between abundance, multitude,” and variety, between “manifold” and marginal.

But how can potentially infinite differentiation and ever greater diversity be conceived, conceptualized, and represented? It is especially the set of problems termed Darstellung in German, i.e., (re‑)presentation, figuration, and demonstration, that will be at the center of the annual conference of the Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin. Taking the ongoing debates on diversity as our starting point, we ask researchers and practitioners from different fields—literary studies, history of science, arts, museology, cultural and media theory, economy, politics, social sciences— for more profound examinations. A main focus will be on the question of perspective: From which point of view can or should diversity be perceived, articulated or defended? Can there be a standard for diversity? How does diversity refer to accepted multiperspectivity (in the sciences, the arts, or in practices of exhibition)? Another point of interest will be forms and formats: What are the preferred models and metaphors, paradigms and narratives operative in cultural and political demands for diversity (and converseley, what imperatives ought to be avoided)? Finally: How do such representations result in diversity as a normative concept?


(Last update 08 Jan 2018: Lecture by Deniz Göktürk is cancelled. Lecture times on Friday afternoon have been changed.)

Thursday, 11 Jan 2018

  • Mona Körte, Georg Toepfer, Stefan Willer (ZfL): Einführung
    Contribution published, in: ZfL Blog, Berlin, 24 May 2018

Moderation: Eva Axer

  • Peter C. Pohl (Innsbruck): Essayismus und Polyphonie. Diversitätsromane im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert (Musil, Antunes, Chirbes)
  • Jutta Müller-Tamm (FU Berlin): Ordnung des Diversen. Wissenschaftliche Typen-Einteilungen am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts
    Contribution published under the title: Ordnung des Diversen. Typeneinteilungen um 1900, in: ZfL Blog, Berlin, 7 Jun 2018

Moderation: Mona Körte

  • Moritz Baßler (Münster): Ästhetik im Zeichen des Konsums. Ausdifferenzierung oder Entzug der Diversität?

Moderation: Mona Körte

  • Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Bochum): Diversität und situiertes Wissen, oder: Was heißt divers sein?

Moderation: Georg Toepfer

  • Sara Fortuna (Rom): Sprachliche Diversität und politischer Konflikt in Vicos Philosophie
  • Horst Bredekamp (HU Berlin): Intrinsische Diversität. Kunst als Bindung von Widerspruch und Einheit

Moderation: Stefan Willer

  • Sharon MacDonald (HU Berlin): Making Diversities and Differences in Museums
    Contribution published under the title: Diverse Museum Diversities, in: ZfL Blog, Berlin, 20 Oct 2018

Friday, 12 Jan 2018

Moderation: Matthias Schwartz

Moderation: Aurélia Kalisky

  • Jürgen Trabant (Berlin): Sprachliche Diversität in Europa: Fluch oder Segen?

Moderation: Falko Schmieder

  • Thomas Potthast (Tübingen): The Values of (not?) Being Diverse. Normative Transfers zwischen Biologie und Kultur
  • Georg Toepfer (ZfL): Neben- statt Miteinander. Parataktische Bildlogik in Biodiversitätsdarstellungen

Moderation: Daniel Weidner

  • Eva Geulen (ZfL): Ganz vergessen: die Solidarität?

Moderation: Eva Geulen

  • Albrecht Koschorke (Konstanz): Diversity und das ‘Volk’
    Contribution published under the title: Auf der anderen Seite des Grabens, in: ZfL Blog, Berlin, 30 Aug 2018

Media Response

10 Jan 2018
Diversität – mehr als ein Modebegriff? Tagung am Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin

Talk by Christoph Leibold with Georg Toepfer, in: Bayern 2, program: kulturWelt, 10 Jan 2018 (6:25 min)