Fighting – Knowledge – Bodies. Historical Perspectives on Fighting Practices

International Conference, Trier University, 11-13 September 2019
PD Dr. Eva Bischoff & Dr. Eric Burkart

Wednesday, 11.09.19,  19.00: Public opening keynote, Frankenturm, Dietrichstraße 4, 54290 Trier
Thursday and Friday, 12.-13.09.2019: Conference, Stadtbibliothek Trier, Weberbach 25, 54290 Trier

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Dr. Esther Berg-Chan (Religionswissenschaft, Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule St. Georgen, Frankfurt)
  • PD Dr. Eva Bischoff (Internationale Geschichte, Universität Trier)
  • Dr. Eric Burkart (Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Universität Trier)
  • Prof. Dr. Paul Bowman (Cultural Studies, Cardiff University, UK)
  • Prof. Dr. Greg Downey (Anthropology, Macquarie University Sydney, AUS)
  • Dr. Daniel Jaquet (Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Universität Bern / Militärhistorisches Museum Château de Morges, CH)
  • Dr. Ben Judkins (Political Science, Cornell University, New York, USA)
  • Dr. Romana Kaske (Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Prof. Dr. Maren Lorenz (Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  • Dr. Ben Spatz (Drama, Theatre and Performance, Huddersfield, UK)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Mario Staller (Psychologie/Polizei, Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen) 
  • Dr. Sixt Wetzler (Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen)

Topic

Fighting as a social practice and as a mode of interpersonal interaction is omnipresent in historical tradition. In addition to various forms of violent confrontation, normed forms of fighting as well as friendly fighting competitions can be observed throughout the ages. They were (and still are) part of a recreational and sports culture, have contributed to the creation of communities and are part of the articulation of gendered identities and the representation of social status. Nevertheless, fighting has yet to be examined in an overarching, systematic and historical perspective. So far, scholarly discourse has treated fighting practices in a compartmentalized way: as a means to resolve conflicts (political history), as an expression of violence (research in the history of violence and crime, sociology of violence), as an object of military history or sports science, and as a specialized topic examining concrete historical contexts (e.g. medieval judicial duels, tournaments, and fencing schools, early modern duels). This sectoral separation, usually associated with a categorical differentiation between violent and normative / playful forms of fighting, prohibits a systematic reconstruction of the entangled history of the transfer of knowledge and bodily practices.

This conference, by contrast, focuses on the structural similarities, knowledge systems and discourses as well as the material foundations of fighting practices. “Fighting”, in this context, is understood literally, without any metaphorical connotation, as a tangible confrontation between human actors. As such, fighting permeates all strata of society as a historically and culturally variable practice and experience. It is a polysemic phenomenon and takes various forms. The conference’s objective is to explore its dimensions in a historical perspective, to test different methodological approaches across epochs and to define common areas of interest for future research.
To achieve this goal, three analytical perspectives will be linked: Firstly, the praxeological perspective, which aims at reconstructing fighting practices in terms of their framework (persons involved, modalities, contemporary norms and sanctions), investigating how these practices were symbolically charged and reconstructing their significance in processes of social stratification. Secondly, the conference will question the topic from the perspective of the history of knowledge, tracing the resources and reservoirs of knowledges on combat. Thirdly, it will adopt a perspective developed to investigate the history of the body, asking what kind of physicalities were created by fighting practices (embodiment of knowledge).

The human body stands at the nexus of all three perspectives. It represents the conditio sine qua non of combative interaction. Its materiality determines the vulnerability of every body as well as its potential to mete out pain and violence onto others (Sofsky 2005). This materiality of human existence renders struggle and violence into a resource, which in principle is available to every individual. Yet the productivity of fighting (knowledge and practices) can only be understood fully by going beyond a narrow conception of fighting as a phenomenon of violence or violentia. Instead, the productivity of this corporeal practice has to be taken into account as well. To capture this characteristic, we employ a conceptual framework developed in feminist theory, gender and queer studies (Braidotti 2002, Ahmed 2008, Netzwerk Körper in den Kulturwissenschaften 2012) and consider the human body as a cultural artifact, articulated through the complex interaction of physical structure (heredity, abilities), social practices, and corporeal knowledge. In line with current sociological accounts coming from the field of theatre and performance studies, techniques are understood as "transmissible and repeatable
knowledge of relatively reliable possibilities afforded by human embodiment" (Spatz 2015) and thus conceived as a form of knowledge which affects and structures individual bodies, but also spreads from one body to another.

This conference is supported by:

Deutscher Fernsehpreis 2019

Die Internationale Geschichte der Universität Trier freut sich im Zuge dieser Meldung mitteilen zu können, dass der Dreiteiler „Die Reise der Menschheit“ (Terra X, Moderation Dirk Steffens), für dessen dritten Teil die Trierer Wissenschaftlerin Ursula Lehmkuhl am Drehbuch mitschrieb und als Expertin selbst vor der Kamera stand, in der Kategorie Bester Doku-Mehrteiler mit dem Deutschen Fernsehpreis 2019 ausgezeichnet wurde.

Nach den fiktionalen Kategorien hatte die 14-köpfige Fachjury unter Leitung von Wolf Bauer die Preisanwärter in Information, Sport und Unterhaltung benannt. Die 20. Verleihung des Deutschen Fernsehpreises fand am 31. Januar in der Düsseldorfer Rheinterrasse statt und wurde live auf www.wdr.de sowie als Aufzeichnung in One übertragen.

Stellvertretend für das Team der Dokumentation waren anwesend: 

Moderation: Dirk Steffens
Autoren: Susanne Utzt, Christina Trebbi
Für die Redaktion: Friederike Haedecke
Für die Produzenten: Alexander Hesse

Publikation: Länderbericht Kanada

"Dünn besiedelt, fortschrittlich, divers, friedlich und nicht nur für Reisende ein Sehnsuchtsort. Was ist dran an diesen Vorstellungen über das zweitgrößte Land der Erde? Der Länderbericht blickt hinter die Klischees und informiert über Geschichte, Kultur, Geografie, Politik und Gesellschaft Kanadas."

In der Schriftenreihe der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) erschien von Prof. Dr. Ursula Lehmkuhl am 29.06.2018 der "Länderbericht Kanada".

Unter Mitarbeit der Herausgeberin veranstaltete die bpb im Medienzentrum Bonn zusätzlich zur Publikation eine auf Video aufgezeichnete Buchvorstellung. Das komplette fast zweistündige Event mit Interviews, Publikumsfragen und informativen Beiträgen gibt es hier als Livestream zu sehen.

Begleitend zur Erscheinung des Länderberichts Kanada veröffentlichte die Pressestelle der Universität Trier am 25.07.2018 unter dem Titel "Oh wie schön ist Kanada" ein Interview mit der Kanada-Expertin Ursula Lehmkuhl und sprach mit ihr über Migrationspolitik und ihren gemeinsam mit der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung herausgegeben Länderbericht.

Mehr zum Thema Migration aus historischer Sicht bietet die dreiteilige Terra X Miniserie "Reise der Menschheit", welche kostenfrei in der ZDF-Mediathek zur Verfügung steht.

 

Preisverleihung

Verleihung eines Förderpreises für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs durch die Industrie- und Handelskammer Trier im Rahmen des Dies Academicus am 25.11.2015 an der Universität Trier an Dr. Hanno Scheerer für seine herausragende Dissertation "Settlers, Surveyors, Speculators, and the State: Struggles for Control over Land in Ohio's Virginia Military District, 1776 - 1810" (2014). Die Dissertation wurde von Prof. Dr. Ursula Lehmkuhl (Trier) als Erstgutachterin betreut. Das Bild zeigt Frau Prof. Lehmkuhl und Dr. Scheerer im Anschluss an die Preisverleihung.

Neuerscheinungen IRTG

Wor(l)ds of Trauma

The essays collected in this volume address a wide spectrum of issues connected to traumatic events and experiences, be they of personal, collective, national or global scale. They are complemented by poetic contemplations on trauma, which set the tone for the following scholarly investigations. The thematic scope of the collection encompasses psychological, sociological and political approaches to trauma, examples of ethnic and indigenous traumatizations, literary, cultural and visual manifestations of trauma or the medialization of trauma in the museum. As a result of the comparative, and in some cases cross-hermeneutic, design of the volume with German scholars looking at Canadian and Canadian scholars looking at German / European examples of traumatization, transatlantic perspectives on the problems at stake are opened.

Of ‘Contact Zones’ and ‘Liminal Spaces’

The first volume of the IRTG Diversity’s publication series, the essay collection Of ‘Contact Zones’ and ‘Liminal Spaces’: Mapping the Everyday Life of Cultural Translation (Lehmkuhl, Lüsebrink, McFalls, eds.) was published with Waxmann (Münster / New York) in 2015. The book is based on the IRTG Diversity’s 2014 lecture series and represents the work of the IRTG Diversity in many ways: The lecture series was an example of true transatlantic scholarly dialogue, with talks being given on either side of the Atlantic, streamed live to Trier, Montréal and Saarbrücken, and discussed in videoconferences. The contributors include renowned scholars from various fields such as sociology, literary studies, geocriticism, and anthropology. The book features essays in the IRTG’s three official languages, English, French, and German. Finally, Of ‘Contact Zones’ and ‘Liminal Spaces’ includes a short introductory text on the IRTG Diversity’s general research agenda and research objectives.

Spaces of Difference

The second volume, Spaces of Difference: Conflicts and Cohabitation, based on the IRTG Diversity’s International Conference in Montréal (2014), has just been published in February 2016. Spaces of Difference discusses the construction of transcultural spaces and the representation and negotiation of diversity through the analytical lenses of narratives, practices and politics of diversity. The multi-disciplinary contributions to this volume address four broader research fields: (1) the entangled and contested (hi)stories of diversity; (2) migration and the creation of transcultural spaces; (3) practices and politics of belonging; and (4) the dynamics of confrontation and cohabitation in spaces of difference. The research presented in this volume combines approaches from history, political science, sociology, migration studies and literature.