Challenging collectivities

October 29 – 31, 2015 | Goethe-University | Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Call for Papers

In their political force as well as in the conditions of their constitution, collectivities entail essential ambivalences: processes of collectivization often carry totalizing tendencies with them or planish differences. At the same time, however, they possess emancipatory promise and transformative potential. Precisely because of its ambivalence, the concept of collectivity requires constant actualization and critical reflection. The ubiquity of collective phenomena warrants questioning well-established presuppositions and theories. To which constellations do we refer when we speak about collectivities? What are the forms of collectivity surrounding us today? Might concepts of collectivity and collective action-oriented political practice harbor diagnostic and emancipatory potential? Or does collectivity perforce imply serious problems and dangers?

The conference “Challenging Collectivities” raises such questions from an interdisciplinary perspective. Focusing on the role of collectivities, we want to theoretically reflect and empirically consider a wide range of contemporary phenomena. We are interested in developments such as contemporary social and political movements, the debate surrounding the so-called digital revolution associated with new forms of networking, the newly arising debate on the concept of life forms and their political or critical potentials, the relevance of a collective unconscious for the analysis of contemporary events, and discussions of global phenomena which invite us to reconsider collective formations – especially in regard to the concept of (maybe even non-human) agency. Thus, the conference engages questions concerning the conditions and forms of collective action, the social transformation that occurs in social and political movements in continuation of and/or against established models, and the manifestations of violence that occur in processes of collectivization

To approach these problems we suggest the following sub-topics. We welcome abstracts on these topics specifically or the general theme of the conference.

The Material of the Collective

The Collectivity of Democracy

Law and Collectivity

Organization and Collectivity

Collective Action and Collective Agency

Identity and Collectivity

Experience and Collectivity

The Collectivity of Life Forms

The Psyche of/and Collectivity

Economies of Collective Formations

The Space of Collectivity

Collectivity as Methodology

The Collectivity of Art


This call for papers addresses graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty members. We explicitly invite you to also submit work-in-progress or cooperative works. Furthermore, we will gladly accept artistic contributions, lecture performances, and artistic endeavors.

The conference language is English and German, with at least 50% of the presentations held in English. Abstracts may be submitted in both languages.
Abstracts should not exceed 400 words. Please attach a biographical note on a separate paper. Deadline for submission of abstracts is March 1st 2015. Candidates will be informed by May 1st 2015 whether their paper has been accepted for the conference. Paper presentations should be 20 minutes. They will take place in parallel panels during the three days of the conference. The panels are planned as discussion forums, meaning that each presentation will be followed by 20 minutes for discussion. In order to guarantee participation for everybody, we kindly ask the German speaking participants to provide an English summary of their papers beforehand.

Please pay attention to the extended deadline: Abstracts can be submitted until the 5th of April.

Papers will be selected through a blind review process. Therefore, please do not include your name or other references to the author on the abstract and make sure to clearly state the title of your proposal in the e-mail and in the filename of the document. We will ensure that at least 50% of the presentations will be assigned to women. Should you be neither an English nor German native speaker, we kindly encourage you to note this on a separate paper, since we will try to pay special attention to that in terms of equality.

A limited amount of daily allowance will be made available by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for graduate students coming as a group from countries of Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. If interested, please inquire.

Participants in need of childcare during the conference time, please indicate. In cooperation with the equality office of Goethe-University efforts will be taken to facilitate childcare.

Challenging Collectivites – PDF

Flyer – PDF

Poster – PNG


Send your abstracts and questions to: