Conference "Concepts of Equality"
At the invitation of Ulrike Davy, Malika Mansouri (both subproject B06), Antje Flüchter (subproject B01), and Cornelia Aust, scholars from various backgrounds came to Bielefeld to discuss concepts of equality from a legal and a historical point of view. The workshop set out to tackle questions evolving around the limits and tensions of notions of equality: To what extent and how do concepts of equality and inequality like rank or hierarchy intersect? How did the idea of equality emerge in the first place and how was it contested throughout history (and is still today)?
The contributions highlighted critical junctures in which constellations of (in)equality became especially virulent and contested. Lynn Hunt (UCLA), for instance, focused on the emergence of 'equality' as an aspiration during the French Enlightenment, Demetrius Eudell (Wesleyan University) showed how 'equality' was the privilege of the white male citizen throughout US history, Saul Dubow (University of Cambridge) concentrated on a particular form of inequality, the apartheid regime in South Africa, and Gina Stopler (College of Law and Business, Tel Aviv) stressed the partial nature of equality in nowadays Israel, mostly affecting women and non-Jews.
Special attention was paid to the role of practices of comparing: Stressing differences or similarities, respectively, practices of comparing could and can be used to argue for a widening as well as for a narrowing down of equality.
As a preliminary result of the conference it could be concluded that 'equality'—albeit often presented as a universal all-encompassing value—limits seem to be substantive. Secondly, practices of comparing presented themselves as crucial practices when it comes to (re)drawing the limits or boundaries of equality.
Photos: Rebecca Moltmann