Uluslararası Sempozyum Çağrısı: Aftershocks: Globalism and the Future of Democracy, The University of Zaragoza, Spain, July 2-5, 2019.

Oluşturma Tarihi: 2018-11-06 10:48:00 - Son Güncelleme Tarihi: 2018-11-06 10:48:00


Dear Colleagues,

We have the pleasure of informing you that our next conference—ISSEI’s 16th international conference—will be held in cooperation with The University of Zaragoza, Spain, July 2-5, 2019.

Conference Theme: Aftershocks: Globalism and the Future of Democracy

The long history of democracy as a political concept is today intensely scrutinized and much debated. Some say that as a form of government, democracy, like all political systems, follows cycles: it comes into being, grows, and then declines; some say it is a uniquely European idea, while others strongly contend it is not unique to Europe at all, but had been “developing in the Middle East, India, and China before classical Athens” (Paul Cartledge, Democracy: A Life, OUP, 2016).

Democracy, as Raymond Williams wrote in the mid-1970s, “is a very old word but its meanings have always been complex.” He briefly describes its ambiguous meanings from its ancient Greek use to its first appearance in English in the 16th century and from then on to its modern meanings from the French Revolution to the mid- 20th century. While in the West we have grown used to taking it for granted as the only good and fair form of government, we are oblivious to its primarily negative meanings of ‘mob rule’ and ‘popular power’ up until the late 19th century. That democracy then gained wider acceptance by “a majority of political parties and tendencies,” Williams writes, “is the most striking historical fact.”

While at the beginning of the 20th century there were less than twenty states that could be defined as democracies, today most countries define themselves as such (120 out of 192 UN member states in 2000), even though their political realities are so radically differentthat the very term seems questionable. Democracy is not only hard to define but hard to sustain in practice. Economic and social crises, such as the 2008 financial crisis, international terrorism, mass immigration and unemployment, and major geopolitical shifts, challenge the democratic ideals of the rule of law and human rights, the multi-party system and open and free elections, consensual decision-making and the spirit of inclusion and tolerance—all of which are predicated, at least in the Western social democratic model, on a stable and politically-engagedcivic society.

As an ‘in-between’ form of governance that seeks to avoid extremism, whether of tyranny or of anarchy, democracy must steer a middle paththat requires enormous resources of deliberation, mediation, literary and artistic expression and above all an attentive and responsive public. In recent years, it is precisely these processes—deliberation, mediation, and public trust—that have been defied by a rising tide of populist-nationalist movements. These movements have gained wide public support not only by mobilizing reactions to the multiple crises besetting the EU, the USA and the world at large but also by the ‘rhetorical/verbal extremism’ flowing fromthe new social networks, the political implications of which cannot as yet be determined. Along with Brexit and the US elections this surge of popular grievance calls for new ways of seeing and thinking aboutthe causes, nature, unintended consequences and bitter human costs of the socio-political changes the world is undergoing. It calls for a new vocabulary, one that is more flexible and less prescriptive about the language of the formal public sphere, a language that can grasp and convey what is at stake in the crises humanity faces, from the growing generational gap, the democratic deficit, the volatility of the public mood, to the dangers to our planet and our survival as a species—for are these not symptoms of a failure of communication, of education, of public and academic discourse to defend fundamentalhuman values and ideals?

Globalism is generally said to be the immediate cause of these multiple crises. But what more precisely is meant by ‘globalism’ and can its effects, good and bad, be more precisely determined? In exposingdeep economic, social, cultural and religious fault-lines within nation-states and among them—globalism holds up a mirror to our failure to understand our own blind spots: our failure to admit that our political and theoretical certainties have allowed, have not prevented, and perhaps have aided and abetted the course of events leading to the current impasse.

Our global crises are a call to look introspectively, with new eyes, into the ways we do things. We should take a brave, critical look at our own academic engagements, our philosophies and beliefs, for nothing short of that can ever lead to a new consciousness of human possibility. When “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” (Yeats, “The Second Coming,” 1919)—there is clearly much that can and should be discussed and much that can and should be done.


We invite scholars and graduate students to discuss the dimensions, manifestations, and problems, both theoretical and pragmatic of “Globalism and the Future of Democracy” from multiple perspectives: historical, philosophical, linguistic, cultural, religious, artistic, political, socio-economic and others.

If you would like to present a paper in one or more of the workshops, please note:

Abstracts (350-500 words) should be submitted directly to a Workshop Chair.
Please check the list of workshops with the contact information of the Chairs on the Conference Website: http://issei2019.info under “Our Conference >> Workshops”.

If you are unsure which workshop best suits your proposed paper, please consult Dr. Edna Rosenthal by sending her your abstract (Edna.Rosenthal@smkb.ac.il).

Deadline for submitting abstracts to a Workshop Chair: February 28, 2019.

Papers presented in a workshop should not exceed 3000 words or 10 double-spaced pages, including the Notes.

We very much look forward to seeing you at the University of Zaragoza in the summer of 2019.

SUNUM DİLİ: Ingilizce, İspanyolca, Arapça

Organizasyon Türkiye Sorumlusu: Prof. Dr. Ramazan BİÇER (Sakarya Üniv. İlahiyat Fak.)

E-MAIL: rbicer@sakarya.edu.tr

Sempozyum web adresi: http://issei2019.info