Workshop: The Art of Democracy. Political Emotions in Times of War and Peace

January 13, 2023, 1:30 p.m. (CET)

Time: January 13, 2023, 1:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Venue: Institut français Stuttgart, Schloßstraße 51
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Democracy is challenged in new ways as war has returned to Europe and the enemies of the open society create new alliances. How is it possible to strive for justice and human dignity in a world without stability, becoming more and more vulnerable? Martha Nussbaum has argued that democracy also needs a particular form of political emotions in order to be sustainable. Different mechanisms and practices help to strengthen compassion and solidarity, she claims.

At the same time contemporary art seems to be focused on deconstructing the self-image of the West: Racism, colonialism, sexism have become the most important topics in the art world. Many artists critique a certain self-image of contemporary democracy by shedding light on the blind-spots and hidden exclusions. Art questions politics not only in illiberal and dictatorial regimes but considers what a democracy should be. We will explore how art offers an approach to life and reality that shape our vision of the world and proposes other conceptions of society.

In this complex situation it seems helpful to re-think the relation between art and democracy – arguing with and against Martha Nussbaum. Her work inspires not only philosophers, but also people in many neighboring disciplines like political science, theory of art and the Humanities in general. After listening to her talk on Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem we intend to shed new light on the perspectives opened by her thought. In what way does art (e.g. the opera, music, cinema) still create collective emotions? Does Nussbaum’s theory of political emotions help to understand the role of art in a democracy? Can the crisis of democracy be understood as a crisis of the art of democracy?We invite students and faculty members from different faculties to join us for a French-German Journée d’étude. Extracts from Nussbaum’s books will be provided in advance. The workshop will be held in English.

Please contact: Felix Heidenreich


Friday 13th of January

Get-together, coffee and snack

14.30h | Johanne Mazeau
Welcome note

14.35h | Fabienne Brugère / Virginie Dejos

15.00h | Florian Weber-Stein
Re-reading Nussbaum’s theory of political emotions in our times

short coffee break

Fabienne Brugère
Are We all Vulnerable? Emotions and Justice

16.45h | Virginie Dejos
A musician's journey: in search of a right interpretation. Anger in Wagner's Ring

Break beginning at about 18.00h

19.30h Key-Note via livestream lecture at the Literaturhaus Stuttgart:
Martha Nussbaum:
Crucified by the War Machine: Britten's War Requiem, Bodies, and the Hope of Reconciliation

Saturday, 14th of January

9.30h | Alexandre Gefen
Literature and Justice

10.30h | Saskia Schabio
Political Emotions and and the Contrapuntal Arts of Democracy

Coffee break

11.45h | Elise Domenach
Imagination, Emotions and Democracy in Japanese Ecocinema

12.45h | Closing debate, Introduction by Felix Heidenreich
The aporias of taking care of political emotions – democratically


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