CFP: Cosmopolitics and the Emergence of a Future (3/15/04; collection)

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Cosmopolitics and the Emergence of a Future

edited by Diane Morgan (University College Northampton, U.K.) and Gary Banham=20
(Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K.)

"The peoples of the earth have thus entered in varying degrees into a=20
universal community, and it has developed to the point where a violation of=20=
rights in=20
one part of the world is felt everywhere. The idea of a cosmopolitan right i=
therefore not fantastic and overstrained; it is a necessary complement to th=
unwritten code of political and international right, transforming it into a=20
right of humanity. Only under this condition can we flatter ourselves that w=
are continually towards a perpetual peace".
Kant "Perpetual Peace"1795/6.

This co-edited collection intends to make a strong contribution to the timel=
issue of cosmopolitics. It particularly welcomes articles which analyse=20
Enlightenment debates of the cosmopolitan ideal and what it means to be a "c=
of the world", as well as engaging with contemporary discussion of the notio=
of global democracy, international law, "crimes against humanity",=20
"humanitarian intervention" and the role of global communications.

Today's political scene has seen growing controversy concerning the role of=20
international institutions such as the U.N. and bodies set up to defend and=20
define the notion of "International Law". The relation between such law and=
notion of "Crimes against Humanity" has further illustrated the problem of t=
normative status of conceptions of the "international". Whilst the=20
proponents of these notions have claimed a universal validity for conception=
s of=20
international law, this has been resisted both by those who argue for an "en=
d" to=20
the traditions of the Enlightenment on the basis of contemporary theoretical=
developments and, in contrast, by those arguing for new forms of "realism" i=
n the=20
comprehension of international affairs.=20

The notion of "war" has itself been re-invented recently through the wide=20
deployment of conceptions of "humanitarian intervention" in contexts as dive=
as Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. As part of the debate concerning such questions=20=
have witnessed a striking resurgence in references to "just war" theory and,=
in relevant contrast, to notions of political theology (which have provided=20=
context of resistance to arguments concerning the relevance and plausibility=
of the notion of international law). Given the increased prevalence of moral=
political and cultural perspectives that pre-date modernity, it is one of ou=
hopes to raise the question concerning the cosmopolitical condition as one=20
that needs to be theorized beyond the perspectives of the modern as launched=
classical social contract theory or models of state sovereignty.=20

Traditional objections to cosmopolitics and the humanist tradition=20
underpinning it have mainly taken the following forms:
1. Cosmopolitics presents itself as a commitment to the interests of=20
humanity as a whole. There is a fundamental assumption that humanity can be=20
perceived as a whole, i.e. that there are basic human characteristics which=20=
we all=20
share and should respect. This leads to a dogmatic and monolithic sense of w=
it is to be human, one that runs a risk of turning out to be merely a=20
disguised assumption and attribution of properties by a dominant culture (of=
European or American) on other, different cultures. Indeed, the European dom=
tradition of humanism has tended to foist its socio-political and cultural=20
values on others in the name of a supposed universality of interests.

2. The cosmopolitan thinker of cosmopolitics practises a form of armchair=
participation in foreign events, a merely aesthetic spectatorship of events=20=
the world. The cosmopolitan is too detached, too passive and ineffectual to=20
contribute in any significant way to what is actually being played out in re=
socio-political terms.

3. Humanism itself is often criticised as being anthropocentric, a reductive=
and irresponsible investment in the human at the expense of other life forms=
Equally, in overprivileging a supposedly eternal human 'essence', humanism h=
very little to contribute to current debates within philosophy, cultural and=
gender studies which posit a going beyond the human(whether in the form of t=
posthuman or the transhuman). Humanism is old-fashioned, out-of-date and=20
reactionary in its assumptions about the ascendancy of Man, his ineluctable=20
progress towards an ever increasing rationality and defence of (Western domi=

Resisting the orthodoxy of such readings we propose to demonstrate how=20
cosmopolitical thinking attempts not only to cut across national borders, to=
through and with differences but also to reveal how the nature of the 'human=
is concomitantly traversed with unknowability and contingency whilst being=20
combined with a compelling injunction to think ethico-politically beyond the=
particular, as a whole in some sense.

We welcome papers on the following:

1. Moral and Political theory. The legacy of the Kantian ideals of=20
"perpetual peace", "universal history" "the universal community", "cosmopoli=
existence". Eighteenth century models for a "world state" or inter-national=20
republicanism. Enlightenment discussion of "just wars", "humanitarian interv=
refugee rights and "hospitality".

2. The Natural Sciences, anthropology and eco-politics. The relationship=20
between cosmopolitics and cosmology and ecology; universality and the univer=
the thinking of the human through its relation to other life forms (here on=20
this planet and potentially elsewhere).=20

3. Social and cultural theory. Integration (la la=EFcit=E9) versus=20
multiculturalism. The eighteenth century debates on these issues and their r=
elevance today.

4. Literary history. Cosmopolitanism as a way of living, travelling,=20
creating friendship networks. Model patterns of co-habiting and interacting.=

Deadline for submitting 200-300 word abstracts: March 15th, 2004.=20

Send to:=20
Dr. Diane Morgan=20
Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies
University College Northampton,
School of Cultural Studies,
Northampton NN2 7AL
England, U.K.

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Received on Fri Feb 20 2004 - 00:17:25 EST