Alterity, Contingency, and the Difference of it All

In this public talk, Prof. Dr. Thomas Claviez (University of Bern) discusses the concept of "alterity" mainly from the perspective of Emmanuel Levinas' work.

Datum: 7. Dezember 2018
Zeit: 14.15 Uhr bis 15.15 Uhr
Ort: 3.A05

Abstract Talk
Forms of “othering” often rely on strategies that turn differences into alterity, opposition, or even antagonism, and thus follow a dialectical schema. To review alterity in the framework of the larger concept of contingency might offer a way out of this dilemma. The talk will read Emmanuel Levinas’ “ethics as first philosophy” in light of its radicalized dialectics, and try to assess what the concept of contingency can add as regards alternative notions of community.

CV Thomas Claviez
Thomas Claviez
is Professor for Literary Theory and Co-Director of the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at the University of Bern, where he is responsible for the MA-program “World Literature.” Among numerous publications, he is the author of Aesthetics & Ethics: Moral Imagination from Aristotle to Levinas and from Uncle Tom's Cabin to House Made of Dawn (Winter, 2008), the co-author of Zur Aktualität von Jacques Rancière (VS, 2016) and the editor of the collections The Conditions of Hospitality: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics at the Treshold of the Possible (Fordham, 2014) and The Common Growl: Toward a Poetics of Precarious Community (Fordham, 2016). Currently he is working on the monograph A Metonymic Community? Towards a New Poetics of Contingency, and on two editions of essays: Throwing the Moral Dice: Ethics and/of Contingency (Fordham 2019) and ACritique of Authenticity (Vernon, 2019).

This talk is one of the keynote speeches of the workshop "Alterity Revisited – A Closer Look at Transpositions of a Traveling Concept in the Humanities" that takes place at the University of Lucerne on December 7th and 8th. While his talk is open to a general public, the workshop is reserved for invited participants. Please also have a look at the keynote speech by Christine Abbt titled "Enlightenment, Democratic Rights and Alterity", which takes place the same day at 2.15 p.m.

Flyer Keynote Speeches "Alterity Revisited"