Call: The manifold senses of presence – Hybrid workshop

Call for Abstracts

Workshop: The manifold senses of presence
Heidelberg, Germany and Online
October 19, 2021

Submission deadline: July 28, 2021

At the latest since our everyday life was and partly still is dominated by social distance, it has become clear what role the phenomenon of “presence” plays for our lifeworld. Strictly speaking, it is the increasing lack of presence that has become conspicuous and that can be attributed not only to the special circumstances of the pandemic, but also to an increasing medialization, virtualization and acceleration of the lifeworld. Yet, what actually characterizes presence is not so easy to grasp. Sometimes it is understood to mean the quality of something that is particularly salient in perception, or the impression that something feels authentic or “real”; finally, a particular intensity of interaction can also be assigned to the term of presence.

Presence seems to unfold along all these perceptual, affective and embodied-interactional dimensions, but can by no means be reduced to one of them. Rather, the phenomenon seems to reflect an overarching and specific kind of (self-)awareness. Even more than a lack, but an extensive loss of the experience of presence can be observed in various psychopathological disorders such as schizophrenia or affective disorders, thus indicating the precarious equilibrium enabling the feeling of presence in the first place. To investigate these aspects and bring together perspectives from philosophy, phenomenology, psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, the DGAP (German Society for Phenomenological Anthropology, Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy) invites to an early-career workshop.

Possible topics:

  • The embodied, affective and cognitive factors influencing the sense of presence
  • Presence and virtuality
  • Presence in the context of (virtual or aesthetic) immersion
  • Senses of place and belonging
  • Feelings of authenticity and the sense of presence
  • Conscious experience of spatiality (peripersonal space, “we-space”, etc.)
  • Social perception and the sense of presence
  • Perceptual presence and “vividness”
  • The sense of presence as an intermodal quality
  • “Presence in absence”: the decoupling of experienced and physical presence in, e.g., experiences of grief
  • The “now-moment” in the therapeutic encounter
  • Intensification of presence in altered states of consciousness (pathological or otherwise)
  • Pathological experiences of “merging” with others or the environment
  • Diminishment or loss of the feeling of presence in psychopathological conditions

The workshop is directed at advanced graduate students, Phd students, and early post-doctoral researchers and invites to give a short presentation (25-30 minutes), followed by a discussion (20-25 minutes). Contributions can be in English or German. Anonymized and detailed abstracts (max. 500 words) are to be submitted until the 28th of July to Ute-Anna.Wittenberg@med.uni-heidelberg.de. We will notify all applicants by the 4th of August about the acceptance of their submission.

The workshop is bilingual (German/English) and planned as a presence respectively hybrid event (with the possibility of digital participation) to take place in Heidelberg (Clinic for General Psychiatry).

We offer the participants the opportunity to publish papers based on their talks in a special issue of the open-access journal “InterCultural Philosophy”.

We look forward to an enriching exchange – if possible in bodily presence!

Scientific Organization: Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Fuchs, Daniel Vespermann and Monika Knack (Section Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, Clinic for General Psychiatry, University Hospital Heidelberg)

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