Since its birth at the end of the 18th century, modern democracy has proved to be more than a system of government: forms of governance and ways of living dovetail as to formulate its structural complexity. Already in classical antiquity, politicians and thinkers observed the profound influence of the self-governing collective in shaping individual sensibilities; the modern democratic mechanism of representation increases and foregrounds such structural complexity, seeing the self-actualization of the demos and selection of political representatives via aesthetic media and strategies. Indeed, the aesthetic dimensions reveal modern democracies to be life-forms. That is, democracies reach deep into the fabric of life, cultivating certain modes of conduct, forms of communication, artistic practices, individual as well as collective forms of experience – all of which intertwine and shape the lives of those involved.
The international graduate conference »The Aesthetics of Democratic Life-Forms« thus seeks to understand aesthetics not as a disparate, hostile sphere in relation to democracy – an assumption which posits the aestheticization of politics to be inherently anti-democratic –, nor as a structurally analogous foil for democratic politics. Rather, this conference hopes to shed light on how aesthetic practices and phenomena provide insight into democratic life-forms, as well as how political practices and discussions implicate modes of conduct whose aesthetic dimensions lend themselves to productive analysis.
Keynotes and invited speakers include Steffen Andrae, Susan Buck-Morss, Eva-Maria Ciesla, Dorothea Douglas, Anne Eusterschulte, Sören Fiedler, Rainer Forst, Jason Frank, Daniel Hartley, Dominik Herold, Rob Horning, Martin Jay, Antje Krause-Wahl, Bianca Laliberté, Sandra Laugier, Leonie Licht, Sophie Loidolt, Jaka Lombar, Patchen Markell, Sabine Müller, Claudia Young-joo Park, Francesca Raimondi, Martin Renz, Leonhard Riep, Samuel Rosenblum, William Ross, Martin Saar, Jochen Schuff, Julius Schwarzwälder, Samu/elle Striewski, Nathan Taylor, Katrin Trüstedt, Johannes Völz, Franziska Wildt, Johanna Wurz, a.o.
The conference is organized by the university initiative Ästhetik demokratischer Lebensformen in collaboration with the Institute for Social Research, the Cluster Initiative ConTrust at the Research Institute Normative Orders, and Netzwerk Paulskirche, as well as the planned Graduiertenkolleg »Ästhetik der Demokratie« and the project »Democratic Vistas: Reflections on the Atlantic World« at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften.
The conference will be held in english. Prior registration is encouraged under firstname.lastname@example.org.