Concerning Matters and Truths. Postmodernism's Shift and the Left-Right-Divide.
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Postcolonial and poststructural theory finds itself today acutely challenged by a remarkable reversal of political fortunes. Much of what for fifty years had been the target of emancipatory, left-wing critique is now (with even more popular resonance) also the object of attack by nationalist-authoritarian movements: liberalism, capitalism, globalization, the principle of political representation, and the hegemonic character of claims to reason and truth. Leading key words of French Theory like “deconstruction” and “simulation” have suddenly been adapted to the political power strategies of right-wing populism. Cultural theorists who specialized in recognizing and affirming alterity and diversity find themselves in the unexpected role of insisting on fact checking; they are now in a position that argues against the relativization of universally accepted scientific findings. They must, therefore, ask themselves with urgency how the achievements of poststructuralism in successfully questioning the nature of hegemonic truth claims can be defended in the face of this “hostile takeover.”
This conference addresses various aspects of this cultural and political turn of events in four thematic sections:
– Revisiting the Near Past.
– Questions of Identity. Poststructuralists and Populists.
– Contested Values: Facts, Truth, and Social Media.
– How to Dig In.
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