International Conference: Experts exchange at the University of Bielefeld

March 24, 2017

Engaged Debate on Human Dignity / The lecturers also
include the constitutional lawyer Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff


Wissenschaftlicher Diskurs: Aleida Assmann, Stephanie Arel, Anita von Poser, Ulrike Davy, Levi Cooper und Vanessa Hellmann (v. l.) im Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung.  | © Wolfgang Rudolf


Matthias Bungeroth12.08.2016 | Stand 12.08.2016, 13:21 clock

Bielefeld. In the times of great refugee flows or the threat of international terror to talk about the topic “human dignity” is quite obvious. If this field is also taken by two scientific institutions in Germany and Israel in focus, such an initiative gets a whole Special weight.

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) at the University of Bielefeld is delighted to be able to get scientists from five continents together, who are debating about human dignity there for nearly two weeks.

“This is the first time that we have been involved in such a close cooperation,” says ZIF’s Managing Director Britta Padberg. Nine scientific disciplines are involved in the discourse, conducted by the ZIF and the Israel Institute for Advanced Study (IIAS) Jerusalem is designed professionally.

This includes legal and political scientists as well as sociologists, historians, philosophers, theologians or ethnologists. They are part of an intercontinental academy (Intercontinental Academia), which includes the two organizers of the Bielefeld Conference.

The exchange between representatives of different disciplines in the area of basic research is the basic idea of the ZIF, founded in 1968, which was at the time the first of its kind in Germany and has since found numerous imitators throughout Europe.

“We believe that the overly great specialization of research is detrimental,” says Britta Padberg. The experience of the discussions within the framework of ZIF events is changing the way in which further research is carried out by the mostly younger scientists involved.

This is similar to Ulrike Davy, professor of public law at the University of Bielefeld, who heads the Masterclass on human rights together with the Jerusalem professor Michal Linial. “We are touching on a whole range of current issues,” says Day, referring to the human dignity of asylum seekers in Germany, but also historical aspects of the development of the concept of human rights and the influence of the Holocaust on the values behind this concept Scientists from different angles.

The importance of such a dialogue is illustrated by the lecturer Aleida Assmann, renowned literary and cultural scientist from Constance. “There has been a long period of silence in both countries,” says the native Bielefelder, who spoke about the culture of memory in front of the Masterclass participants. “It is really great to be able to share this group,” says Assmann, Who himself was a fellow at the ZIF in 1995.

The masters of the Masterclass also include Gertrude Lübbe-Wolf. Bielefelder Rechtswissenschaftlerin and former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court gave a lecture to the forum of the highest German court.

On the Canadian freedom and human rights, Emiliy Kidd White, Sima Kramer, spoke on the debate about the privatization of the prison system in Israel. Caterina Drigo, Lynn Hunt, emphasized the importance of the eighteenth century for the development of human rights, and thus the legal concept of human dignity, about the softening of fundamental rights in Italy.

Puzzles, which are now used by the graduates of the Masterclass as the basis for further work of their own. Davy: “It will lead to a publication.” During the conference, the installation of the Polish artist Anna Konik, who takes up migrant internships, is presented. Britta Padberg is convinced that the conference has further strengthened ZIF’s reputation An international sign of the University of Bielefeld “, she says. Copyright © Neue Westfälische 2017

By Stephanie Arel