Submission deadline:

March 22, 2023

Contesting dignity in space: between shame, fame and pride

In everyday life and in spatial practices, dignity appears to hold a significant and motivational meaning. It has a distinctive ability to mobilize and guide actions, or perhaps, it is the absence of or the threat of the loss of dignity that unfolds this mobilizing power. Yet, in academic discourse, dignity is often celebrated as a moral concept, or reduced to an intrinsic virtue. In this session, the conveners want to discuss how and why dignity is contested, thus emphasizing a significant gap in the academic discourse on the concept. By examining the performance of dignity in public space and beyond, alternative nuances of the concept become evident. Such a discussion will also extend the critical use of dignity as a concept to become relevant as a spatial phenomenon, not limited to legal studies or philosophy.

The call for presentations invites scholars from different fields to submit their original works on the contestations of dignity and its expressions in space. This might refer to dimensions like embodiment in politics, questions of ethnicity, moral or religious stance, or socio-economic status, or as expressions in performances of and feelings such as pride, humility or, shame.

The conveners are interested in presentations that are grounded in the acts and practices of dignity, that situate themselves in experiences, narratives, cases, knowledge, and philosophies from different geographical and cultural contexts. The convenors encourage researchers to depart from the chaotic lived experiences and embrace their ambivalence in an attempt to articulate a pluriverse approach to dignity that accounts for its contestations. Here is a brief and non-exclusive list of relevant topics:

  • The performance of dignity in space
  • The aesthetics of dignity and its contestations in art, music, or popular culture
  • Dignity and the body: Shame, fame, honour, and autonomy
  • Dignity and social justice: the performativity of dignity and its embodiments in political action
  • Dignity and violence: the role of violence in achieving/denying dignity
  • The materiality and immateriality of dignity
  • Dignity and its role towards reparation
  • Dignity and its application and contestation in architecture and place
  • Hospitality, generosity and the roots of dignity (Karameh) in the Arab world
  • Dignity beyond the human

The conveners are very much looking forward to discussing these issues in-person, in a friendly, dialogue-oriented setting. Please indicate in your email whether will be able to attend the conference in person or not.

Kindly, send your title, abstract (around 300 words), and full contact details/affiliation to the session conveners by 22nd March 2023 (midnight).

For more information, please contact Husam Abusalem: husam.abusalem@usn.no

The conveners look forward to receiving your submissions.

Session conveners:
Husam Abusalem (husam.abusalem@usn.no), University of Southeastern Norway
Lars Frers (frers@usn.no), University of Southeastern Norway
Lars Meier (meier@soz.uni-frankfurt.de), Goethe-University of Frankfurt

Share this post

News from the field

Materia Arquitectura 26: Cartography and Resistance

MATERIA ARQUITECTURA is a bi-annual publication on architecture, published since 2009 by the School of Architecture of the Universidad San Sebastián. As a documentation, dissemination and reference tool, the magazine aims to broaden knowledge of the discipline from a...

DocTalks and DocTalks x MoMA CfP Spring 2024

On top of regular DocTalks sessions, the organizers are excited to continue DocTalks x MoMA series with The Emilio Ambasz Institute for a fourth semester! For regular DocTalks sessions, the organizers welcome any topic within the broad fields of architectural history...