NSU Summer Session: Feminist Philosophy: Where is the human today?

July 26, 2020 - August 2, 2020
Nordic Summer University


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Nordic Summer University
Åbo Akademi University

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in experiments, workshops and exchange of thought

Scholars, students, artists and activists are invited to participate in the first conference of the Nordic Summer University study circle Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action (2020-2022) on the themes of Hospitality and Solidarity.

After the successful winter symposium in Turku, Finland on the topic of Feminism and Hospitality: Religious and Critical Perspectives in dialogue with a Secular Age, we would like to continue the shared platform of thought during our first summer symposium and further engage in a discussion on Solidarity and Hospitality.

The question of what defines the human being and humanism are recurring themes in the history of ideas, philosophy and theology. Historically the human being has been defined in relation to God, to animals and to the material world. Human centered reasoning can be found in Ancient Greece, most notably in the words of pre-Socratic philosopher Protagoras, who claimed that ”man is the measure of all things”. In an essay on education, Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote that ”man is certainly not born, but made man”. In the debates about humanism in 20th century European philosophy, humanism became the occasion to protect and defend humans from powers and processes that tear them apart, sometimes threatening to annihilate humanity altogether. Since then, the intellectual strands of post-humanism and trans-humanism have taken the project of decentering the human even further. For feminists, the tradition of humanism constitutes a challenge. If “what is proper to man” is attributed only to elite Western men, then humanism “functions ideologically to justify exploitation and oppression” (Kruks: 2012: 21). Nonetheless, the question of the human being and the values of humanism cannot be jettisoned as such. During this sympodium, we will focus on the intersections between feminist theory, humanism and posthumanism. What does the legacy of humanism mean for feminists today? How should the concepts of woman and man be understood in relation to the concept of the human? Where is the human today? What does it mean to be human today?

• feminist thought

• hospitality

• solidarity with the other

• religious and philosophical worldviews

• practices in a secular age. 

We invite experiments, papers, presentations and workshops that approach any combination of these themes from different theoretical and methodological perspectives and in relation to various religious and philosophical traditions.

Format of the presentation

We strongly encourage you to craft a format that suits your presentation, such as a workshop, experiment, exercise, or interactive dialogue. Include at least 10 minutes for discussion, out of the 40 minutes allotted to each presentation/workshop. If you need more time for an interactive workshop, please indicate this when you send in your proposal.

Interaction with other circles

During the summer session of the Nordic Summer University nine different study circles have a full program during the days, and participants are welcome to join the programs depending on their interests. 

This year, the evening cultural program will be open for circles to propose an activity that is open to all participants. This can be organised by a specific circle or a combination of circles. Like other years, the feminist circle will organise one ‘Greek symposium’ – meaning reading a play together while drinking wine, preferably outside. If you have any other suggestions of a cultural program for the evening, please let us know and we can help you organise this. 

Proposal deadline

Please send in proposals for a paper, presentation, workshop or other type of experiment by May 1st, 2020, to [email protected] Please indicate what format of presentation you are interested in, and if you need any equipment beyond the standard for it. Please also send in a short bio (5-10 lines) we can share with all participants beforehand. 

You are also welcome to participate without giving a presentation. Please apply by the same deadline if you’d like to join as a participant. 


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June 1, 2020, 5:00am CET

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