Participants are invited to the international conference Cultural Policies and the Symbolic Geographies of Europe.
The political, economic and philosophical cartography, which was achieved by the Western Enlightenment, predicted the European division completed by the Iron Curtain. The Enlightenment philosophical map offered a theoretical support for the political, diplomatic, economic and military map of Europe. Perceived not only as a geographical reality, but also as an imagined, or invented reality, binary Europe is a cultural and political construct, rooted in the century of the Enlightenment and European dilatation (the epoch of epistemological acknowledgements, and of colonial expansion as well). Europe (identified with the West) was defining itself by referring to the East: the Enlightenment philosophers characterized civilization as opposed to Eastern or Oriental barbarity, and demonstrated it by historical and anthropological arguments. Knowledge is power, and knowledge of human beings is power over human beings, and knowledge of distant places is power over distant places. We do not have to resort to Michel Foucault’s theory on the relationship subject – knowledge – discourse – power, we can trace the same idea back to Francis Bacon, the philosopher who laid the theoretical foundation of empiricism in close connection to imperialism: „And so those twin objects, human knowledge and human Power, do really meet in one, and it is from ignorance of causes that operation fails“.
Dr Carmen Andras
The "Gheorghe Sincai" Institute for Social Sciences and the Humanities of the Romanian Academy
A. Papiu Ilarian Street, 10A
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