Hegel, Social Theory, and the Problem of Recognition

This workshop invokes Hegel as a springboard to think about fundamental questions in the humanities, related to the problems of identity, resistance and recognition in ways that go beyond rigid ideological divisions, such as left and right or conservative and radical.  To the extent that one holds onto an identity and wants this to be recognized, identity politics has been characterized as “conservative”, but in the past few years, minority rights has become an essential part of emancipatory politics. Hegel’s work and those who draw on him to construct a social theory provides opportunities for us to rethink various politics of recognition that pervade our ethical and political lives. Our goals for the workshop are: to introduce students and faculty on our campus to the complexities of both Hegel’s philosophy and the problem of recognition; to provide a conceptual framework that goes beyond disciplinary boundaries to discuss problems of identity, difference and social domination; to de-colonize and creolize Hegelian philosophy, so that it moves beyond enclaves in Philosophy departments and becomes a window to problems of the humanities and social sciences in general.  An examination of the various uses of the politics of recognition will open us to more fundamental questions around the critique of Eurocentrism and essentialism, which are often invoked today but without interrogating the various meanings of “essence” and “essentialism”.


Viren Murthy, Professor, Department of History

Chad Alan Goldberg, Professor, Department of Sociology

Hannah Eldridge, Associate Professor, Department of German, Nordic and Slavic+

Daniel Spaulding, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History

Claus Andersen, Assistant Professor, Department of German, Nordic and Slavic+

Arijit Banerjee, PhD student, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies

David Smith, PhD student, Department of German, Nordic and Slavic+

Magna Mohapatra, PhD student, Department of Anthropology

Tiantian Cai, PhD student, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Sahil Sasidharan, PhD student, Department of Geography