A day of encounters, co-organized by the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture and Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge

On 4 June 2019, Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge and the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) co-organized a forum in which artists, scholars, and activists discussed and exchanged new ideas and understandings of bio-cultural diversity.

Art installation

A video installation created by artist Dorine van Meel, Beyond the Nation State I Want to Dream (see picture above) showed decomposing and recomposing computer-generated images of past and present colonial places, accompanied by a monologue which is haunted by the historical violence of the nation state, perpetuated into the present. The participants and artist discussed if and how art can contribute to the world we want to live in.

Roundtable discussion

In the roundtable conversation with artists, scholars, and politicians various ideas on hegemony in the past and the present were discussed. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab discussed the previous hegemonic role of the Persian language. Sven Gins analyyed human control over their environment in pre-modern animal law and trials, and Wesley Pechler discussed the Party for the Animals’ aims to put animal rights on the national and European agenda.
Sophia Löwe argued for the benefit of shapeshifting in order to be bio-cultural diversity in humanities. Alternatives to ocularcentric and ableist knowledge systems were explored by Piet Devos. Last but not least, Whitney A. Bauman inquired which knowledge traditions and approaches can aid in addressing unearned privileges.


You can listen to the audio recording of the roundtable discussion here (MP3)


The afternoon included a workshop convened by anthropologist Susannah Crockford, in which narratives of fragmentation and loss of hegemony and grief, especially in relation to climate change, were discussed. The second workshop was based on discussing the question how the humanities can actively contribute to the discourse on hegemony. Participants exchanged ideas on how the humanities can reorganize to go beyond the economic norm, analyze fluid categories of knowledge, and be self-reflective.

Word of thanks

We would like to express our gratitude to the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture for co-organizing this forum on which innovative ideas and exchanges traversed the boundaries of disciplines and traditional institutes. We would also like to thank the Groningen Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization for co-sponsoring the event.

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