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minor constellations
Foto: minor cosmopolitanisms

Minor Constellations in Conversation

Conversations: an introduction 

This project was originally conceived of as a series of conversations that would take place between thinkers / researchers / activists during summer semester 2020 at the University of Potsdam.

We wanted to create a space that departed deliberately from the conventional unidirectional lecture or panel discussion, using the form and praxis of conversation. Conversations, we felt, can foreground the way that knowledge is assembled in process and through engagement in enriching and more de-hierarchised ways. We, along with our guest interlocutors, developed conversational prompts and set dates for the conversations to take place between invitees, the RTG fellows, and members of the audience in attendance.  

The global pandemic has meant, among many other things, that conversations in the kind of shared-room-shared-energy way we were used to are not possible for us to have any time soon. 

So with this website project we try to recreate, reimagine or just salvage the conversational character that was the impetus behind this series, and in a way that doesn't further tax everyone's already overloaded capacity for video calls. We are sure that that these re-envisioned formats can match the ’simple’ face to face conversation in generating something unusual, of-the-moment, and vibrant. 

You'll find different media formats here -  something like a conversational exhibition or collection. You'll also find us trying to respond to or just understand what this pandemic means for the routines of academia. 

We've also tried to enable space here to add your own voices, so please do join us in creating minor constellations in conversation.


The conversations:

Erased in translation: A conversation about race and religion in European pasts and presents

A conversation with Vanessa Thompson and Sara Salem on race and religion took place on 25 June 2020. From this, a podcast series is generated and uploaded onto the site, with space for comments and links to relevant reading materials.

Embodied Practices: Looking From Small Places

An online event with Sruti Bala and Dylan Kerrigan took place on 19 November 2020  in similar format to the event as first conceived, with a brief presentation by the guests and a following conversation with participants. The event was conceptualized and organized by Tori Sinanan, Johanna Heide, Jan Dammel and Saskia Köbschall. The edited transcript was published in 2021 on the project website.



Vanessa Eileen Thompson (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main)

Sara Salem (London School of Economics)

Sruti Bala (University of Amsterdam)

Dylan Kerrigan (University of Leicester)