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Relations of Difference - Dynamics of Conflict in Global Perspective


The Humanities Faculty, Leibniz University Hannover, thanks all contributors for making this congress a fruitful event.

When and Where

1.-3. July 2009

Werkhof Hannover Nordstadt
Schaufelder Straße 11
30167 Hannover





In political, media but also academic discourses, conflicts about difference are often simplified, for instance when clashes are explained by referring to essentially different qualities of humans and social groups (notably ‘gender’ or ‘racial’ characteristics). The international congress aimed at contrasting such generalisations with a critical, historical, process-oriented and comparative perspective. It brought together insights from international scholars of many disciplines (history, sociology, pedagogy, literature and religious studies among others) who discussed different functions and meanings of difference in specific conflict constellations and dynamics.

Structured around the central idea of integration and defiance strategies by underprivileged groups, a total of seven panels attended to (1) the relationship between conflicts and various forms of resolution (legal or violent), (2) the relevant theoretical approaches and concepts, (3) strategies of inclusion and exclusion, (4) the opportunities for and conditions of mobility seen from the actors’ perspectives, (5) the different responses to social hierarchising, (6) the impacts of civilising missions and (7) the manifestations of culture as a category of difference.

By connecting interdisciplinarity with international scholarly expertise that spans historical times and world regions, this congress expanded and cultivated a complex analysis of difference and conflict. Within the framework of a final round table, the conclusions were discussed with a view to designing a new research agenda.