The idea of ‘difference’ governs today’s political thinking. Struggles for equality and justice are generally concerned with recognizing and protecting differences, not least because varieties of difference, including gender, sexuality, race, class, religion and language are used to justify political oppression, discrimination and exclusion. Difference has become axiomatic to political debate and therefore requires further reflection and analysis.

In a series of events we explore and interrogate ‘difference’ as a political category. We aim to map categories of difference structuring political life, in past and present, and across and beyond the global North. How and to what effect have categories of ‘difference’ been fostered historically, debated philosophically and in politics, fought over by social movements, codified in law, transmitted through education and the media, and lived out in everyday life? Moreover, we aim to explore more meta-level questions about what ‘difference’ means in the first place. How did our modern thinking about ‘difference’ come about? What roads of political thinking does it facilitate, and which does it close off? And can we think beyond ‘difference’?

In seeking answers to these questions, we intend to facilitate dialogue between a range of approaches, including but not limited to liberalism, republicanism, Marxism, de- and postcolonial, feminist and queer theories.

Organized by Fredericke Weiner and Sophie Lauwers

All visuals © Deniz Altug


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.