European Conference of the SLSA
02 Jun 2008 – 07 Aug 2008 · 2.00 am

Figurations of Knowledge

Venue: Berlin


Figurations of Knowledge
5th Biannual European Conference of the
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
02 - 07 June, 2008

hosted by the
Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin (ZfL)

stream Art as Research supported by the
Bern University of the Arts

Recent and current research in Science Studies has devoted increasing attention to semantic transfers, translations, and changes of register between forms of knowledge. In terms of studying the relationship between literature, science, and the arts, this implies a general reinterpretation of how scientific knowledge affects literature and the arts or how it is represented in them. For the 'and' linking established oppositional pairs such as 'art and science,' 'literature and science,' or else 'sciences and humanities' ultimately presumes a homogeneous situation on both respective sides. It is only under this precondition that the clear dichotomies between knowledge cultures can be formed which are so powerful within the system of modern science. Yet the arts—as well as the historical and hermeneutic disciplines—have always worked empirically, and the sciences have long dealt with questions calling for the interpretative capacity of the humanities or the creative potential of the arts: questions such as those about free will or consciousness.
The 2008 European Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) will therefore focus on such transitional phenomena with their historical, conceptual, and epistemological conditions. In contrast to the persistent tendency of science theory, science history, and science policies to fall back on the 'two cultures' model, we intend to examine how knowledge figures both historically and presently within the plurality and heterogeneity of knowledge cultures, i.e. in different respective functional contexts. The perspective of figurations of knowledge draws on the multiple meanings of the notions figure and figuration—from the symbolism of mathematical, geometric, or diagrammatic figures to figurality and figuration in rhetoric and iconography up to figural interpretation as an interpretative tool—, in order to delineate the specific ways in which knowledge is produced, distributed, and received in the interplay of schematization and dynamization, of empiricism and speculation, of measurement and interpretation. Thus, figurations of knowledge are understood to be instances of thought, speech, imagery, and experiment in which crossovers between literature, science, and the arts are essential.

Media Response

30 Jun 2008
Figurations of Knowledge – Kunst und Wissenschaft

Article by Gerrit Gohlke, in:, 30 Jun 2008

06 Jun 2008

Article by Bianca Schröder, in: die tageszeitung, 6 Jun 2008

05 Jun 2008
Figurations Of Knowledge