I formed part of the Graz International Summer School Seggau 2017: Radical Definitions – State, Society & Religion through a scholarship from David-Herzog-Fonds (one out of the five scholars) and organized by the University of Graz in cooperation with the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community and the Diocese Graz-Seckau
About the Summer School (from the website)
Instead of cohesion and communality, a re-negotiation of definitions of state, society, and religion is taking place, sometimes simply by popular vote and political maneuvering, as the Brexit example shows. Feelings of fatigue, despondency, and resignation have replaced the upbeat definition of Europe, and consequently put into question the very foundations of the European Union. Instead of greater economic, political integration, and open border policies, individual states are reclaiming the rhetoric of national identity and national self-interest.
Faced with unprecedented demographic changes and national and international challenges, political decisions need to be based on radical definitions in order to accept the responsibility of the power to describe, explain, and understand the ambivalences of the terms used. The topic of “State – Society – Religion” in juxtaposition with radical definitions thus offers an in-depth analysis in a world of vagueness and babble, and validates intellectual endeavors as a radical commitment to academic and political engagement. This engagement is, however, not abstract, but very concrete in its re-definition of state, society, and religion. Such negotiations lead to an understanding of the dynamics and structures that govern our societies and us as individuals. Facts and figures are then comprehended as cultural representations of material and social realities.
The radical nature of these definitions lies in the fact that the summer school will provide more questions than answers, and will allow us to investigate the different approaches to the definitions of state, society, and religion and their interconnectedness. Focusing on the emphasis areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America – this will provide a basis for an interdisciplinary analysis in terms of opportunities provided and challenges we have been facing in the past, preparing us for the present and future.
The Graz International Summer School Seggau is designed for internationally oriented, highly motivated students from all disciplines, who wish to deepen their understanding of current European and international affairs by studying and discussing global developments and challenges within the context of transformation processes and demographic change reflecting aspects of individual, social, political, religious, cultural, literary, regional, economic, cohort and national identities.
- Development and education of young leaders of tomorrow in the fields of politics, administration, business, science, culture and religion.
- In the dictionary term, a definition is an interpretation, a statement expressing the essential nature of concerns. Juxtaposed with ‘radical’ it means that we have to scrutinize these definitions more closely in order to utilize the power we have in describing, explaining, or pointing to the ambivalences in the concepts which in theory seem defined and clear, but are vague when applied. Although radicalism is mostly encountered in negative socio-political contexts, we want to use the term ‘radical’ as an expression of our responsibility as academics to offer explanations and an analysis of the world we live in. The radical nature of these definitions lies in the fact that the summer school will provide more questions than answers, and will allow us to investigate the different approaches to defining, and connecting state, society, and. Focusing on the emphasis areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America – this will provide a basis for an interdisciplinary analysis in terms of opportunities provided and challenges faced in the past, present and future.