Deutsches Haus at NYU, the International Center for Critical Theory, and the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute will jointly host a conference entitled "Constitutional Theory as Cultural Problem: Global Perspectives," to be held at New York University, New York, February 16, 17, 18, 2018. Bernhard Schlink will deliver a keynote address entitled "Minimal Constitutionalism" on Friday, February 16, from 5:00-6:30pm. Paul Kahn will deliver a keynote address entitled "A Constitutional Culture: Between Law and Power" on Saturday, February 17, from 5:00-6:30pm. For a detailed conference schedule, please click here.
The challenges faced by the liberal democratic model in the 21st century have made constitutional theory into an urgent topic of global concern. Both the second Iraq War and the revolutions of the Arab Spring frustrated hopes of an easy trajectory toward liberal democratic constitutional orders. If there was the hope that liberation would mean the establishment of liberal democracy, the result has been that emancipation from tyranny does not naturally lead in a particular political direction. Such a conclusion presents fundamental problems for a constitutional theory that is built around a liberal democratic model.
These questions indicate that the constitutional state, as theory and practice in modern Europe, North America, and Japan, while continuing to be the common point of reference, calls for renewed reflections as it faces new challenges both domestic/national and global in nature. The shift of economic and productive centers of gravity from the West to other parts of the world comes not only with a whole range of issues regarding geopolitics, international relations, and security, but also with a new sense of urgency to study different state forms, forms of sovereignty, notions of democracy and freedom, and political legitimacy as they are rooted in and informed by long-standing social and cultural norms. An understanding of these social and cultural norms not as remnants of what has been rendered obsolete and backward by modernity and postmodernity, but as vital processes that foster new ideas and drive change, requires concerted efforts at reading them—as texts, as theory, and as practice—both sympathetically and critically. By placing them under the sharp focus of constitutional theory and theories of sovereignty, we seek to promote a sustained dialogue between scholars and thinkers from both the West and the non-Western world in an area defined by the intersection between critical theory and political philosophy.
The 2018 Telos-Paul Piccone Institute conference is organized by Xudong Zhang (International Center for Critical Theory and New York University) and David Pan (Telos-Paul Piccone Institute and the University of California, Irvine).
Please note: Sessions taking place at Deutsches Haus at NYU will be open to the general public. Attendance for break-out sessions will be limited to conference participants who have registered with the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute only. Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat. Thank you!