Katharina von Kellenbach, professor of religious studies and her colleague Matthias Buschmeier (German literature, University of Bielefeld) were awarded a prestigious grant for over €500,000 (about $600,000) by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) at the University of Bielefeld for the 2018-2019 academic year.
She and Dr. Buschmeier will lead 15 scholars from different continents representing the disciplines of anthropology, art, classics, law, medieval studies, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and sociology to examine the idea of guilt as an enduring and generative force in the aftermath of violent conflicts.
Titled “Felix Culpa? Guilt as a Culturally Productive Force,” the research group will be in residence at the ZIF in Bielefeld to exchange theoretical perspectives on the notion of ‘productive guilt’ and to pursue individual projects examining a variety of topics ranging from white guilt in the United States to the Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide, from religious healing rituals in Mozambique to the reception of Syrian refugees in Germany as negotiation of different kinds of guilt.
The project closely examines the intersections of violence, shame, and guilt to ask how guilt consolidates social orders in the cultural production of jurisprudence, art, literature, and religion. Each scholar pursues their own research project while engaging in collaborative discussion across disciplines and different religious, cultural, and linguistic contexts to explore the wealth of symbolic representations and discourses of guilt.