July 26 - 27, 2016 | Freie Universitaet Berlin, Seminarzentrum, Room L115, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin
It is evident that the dynamics of cultural change differ in terms of speed and direction, depending on the period and the respective cultural communities involved. One of the most important questions in the field of cultural theory is this: are we, as scholars, only able to describe these differences, or is it also possible to suggest specific reasons for them?
Beginning with the development of Humanist thought, and perpetuated by Hegel and his many followers in 20th century cultural theory, traditional research assumed that general worldviews – cosmic as well as anthropological models – determine the potential evolution and progress of a given society. The dissemination of these views among the members of cultural communities is assumed to take place by way of ‘religions’. In this perspective, the latter are conceived of as re-concretizations of ‘world models’ (in many cases by way of narrative).
The topics addressed in the context of this workshop circle around the question of the extent to which specific cultural developments might interrelate with worldviews and religious concepts. If the ‘religious hypothesis’ is found to be questionable, what alternatives do we have to explain the differing dynamics in cultural developments?