1st German-Israeli Frontiers of Humanities Symposium 2009

Design of Symposium

On the Move: People, Ideas, and Artifacts

Mobility of people, ideas, and artifacts is ubiquitous in human history, and has had a transformative impact on its participants. Throughout history, migrations and the flow of ideas, technologies and artifacts have contributed significantly to the shaping of societies and cultures, and have conditioned the way human beings live and perceive reality. In the globalized world of today, mobility is faster and easier, thereby accelerating connections, cross-fertilizations, and constant cultural changes, and encouraging the study of their past antecedents. Therefore, culture is no longer regarded as a compartmentalized, autonomous, and relatively stable entity, but as a dynamic and ever changing process that can be best perceived in a comparative perspective.

At the invitation of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, young scholars from Islamic Studies, Greek Philosophy, Global History and Art/Architectural History will come together to explore new ways in which the humanities might elucidate the complex phenomena associated with the movements of people, ideas, and artefacts throughout time and space. Moving beyond disciplinary divisions, the conference organizers suggest four trajectories to structure discussions and to invite interdisciplinary approaches: transmission of knowledge/commentaries; the past in the presents; biological paradigms; and histories of globalization.

Conference speakers and general participants are invited to engage such questions as: how, why and in which ways did studies of late-antiquity commentary tradition and post-Avicennan Islamic thought undergo such significant changes over the past few decades, and what does the study of these texts tell us about movements of ideas and transformations of culture? How and why did historical antecedents evolve over time and space among different cultures, and what do we gain by interpreting their changing intellectual premises? In which ways have the natural sciences, and in particular, biology, become important for understanding the production of art and art theory? And finally, how did the globalized world we live in evolve, and which important milestones exemplify globalization?