Naar de inhoud

University of Humanistic Studies

Day 1

Thursday, January 30th


  8.45 -  9.30 Welcome and Registration

  9.30 -  9.45 Opening by prof. dr. Gerty Lensvelt-Mulders, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Humanistic Studies

  9.45 -10.30 Lecture by prof. Joan Tronto (University of Minnesota, USA): Against Good Caring?  Meeting         Immediate and Distant Needs Democratically

10.30 -11.15 Lecture by prof. dr. Frans Vosman (University of Humanistic Studies): Approaching Care via Practice Approaches 

11.15 -11.45 Coffee break

11.45 -12.45 Discussion led by prof. dr. Carlo Leget (University of Humanistic Studies)

12.45 -13.00 Book Presentation Twenty Years After Moral Boundaries by Gert Olthuis (Tilburg University, the Netherlands), Jorma Heier (Osnabrück University, Germany) and Helen Kohlen (Philosophical- Theological University of Vallendar (Koblenz), Germany)


13.00 -14.00  Lunch break


14.00 -15.45 2 Parallel Sessions:

1. Rendering Care the Meaning of Politics, by Jorma Heier M.A. (Osnabrück University, Germany)

In 1993, when Tronto formulated her ground-breaking title A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care, the political viewpoint from which she conceptualized care was rather radical, even among the relatively newly emerging body of literature centred around care practices. Despite the fact that all feminist theorizing shares the default recognition of ´the private` as being political, Joan Tronto was the first to name care in the same breath with the political in a place as exposed as a book title. And even twenty years later, relating care to the political, and

especially political theory, has not lost any of its original radicalness. The contributions in this session all take up Tronto’s claim that we “cannot understand an ethic of care until we place such an ethic in its full moral and

political context” (1993, 125). They outline what political thought and practice will look like if we render care the meaning of politics. They give an anatomy of active attention in caring activities, look at ways to identify and overcome privileged irresponsibility in the context of political segregation, engage the claim a caring society makes on democracy, liberty and equality and outline a caring bureaucracy for political institutions.


Prof. em. Selma Sevenhuijsen: Care and Attention

Prof. Vivienne Bozalek (University of The Western Cape, South Africa)Privileged Irresponsibility as a Barrier to Achieving a Meaningful Life and a Just Society

in South African Higher Education

Prof. Fabienne Brugère (University of Bordeaux, France): From Politics to Ethics. A Caring Democracy

Prof. Sophie Bourgault (University of Ottawa, Canada): The ´Care Crisis` and the Welfare State: a Feminist Case for Bureaucracy

2. Disability, Care and Inclusive Citizenship by dr. Gily Coene  (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

In the past decades, disabled citizens have struggled for the recognition of their human rights and for their inclusion as equal citizens in society. Studies and reports, however, indicate that disabled persons are still a

highly vulnerable group in society. Disabled citizens are confronted with multiple forms of discrimination, face a lot of barriers to access basic facilities and ‘good’ care, and remain largely invisible in the social and

political domain. In this session we wish to explore some alternative theoretical frameworks that can ground more inclusive policies and practices of democratic citizenship for disabled persons. How can a care-ethics perspective and relational concepts of citizenship inspire such policies and practices? What are the possible tensions? Where do current approaches fail to include disabled persons and why? How to balance the recognition of identities and diversity with demands for equal rights and inclusive citizenship in daily practices and institutional policies?


Kristof Uvijn & Jurgen De Wispelaere PhD (University College Gent, Belgium): Disability Against Domination: The Promise of Republican Freedom

Dr. Goedele De Clerck (Gent University, Belgium): Care, Identity, and Deaf Citizenship

Elizabeth De Schauwer MA (Gent University, Belgium): Difference and Differentiation – Opportunities of Becoming in Inclusive Education

15.45 - 16.15 Tea break

16.15 - 18.00 2 Parallel sessions:

3. Ethics of Care As an Interdisciplinary Challenge by prof. dr. Helen Kohlen (University of Vallendar, Koblenz, Germany) and prof. dr. Carlo Leget (University of Humanistic Studies)


There is no doubt that the ethics of care is driven by the ambition to contribute to a meaningful life in a just society. There is much discussion, however, about the question what the ethics of care is. Can it be seen as a fully normative and distinctive moral theory (Held 2005) or is there no such thing as a distinctive care ethics (Edwards 2011)? And if it is a fully normative theory, how then does it conceptualize the interdisciplinary that seems to be part of the ethics of care from its very beginning? A plausible and convincing answer to these questions has high relevance for the impact the ethics of care may have in academic discussions. Recently, a discussion paper was published in which a proposal is done to clearly demarcate the ethics of care. (Ethics of Care as a discipline? Klaartje K,  E van Elst and A J Baart, Demarcation of the ethics of care as a discipline: Discussion article Nursing Ethics 0969733013500162, first published on October 22, 2013 as doi:10.1177/0969733013500162) Taking this paper as a point of departure, in this session we will discuss the question how the ethics of care can be best conceptualized and whether we should seek for a clear demarcation or not. We will illustrate our arguments by referring to a concrete domain of care and research: palliative care and end of life care.

4. Attentive Listening, by prof. Lenart Skof (University of Primorska, Slovenia)

This panel argues, that in a world we inhabit, attentive listening is becoming a virtue of its own, which could contribute towards better understanding of differences and ethical spaces between sexes, generations and cultures. Whether in interpersonal relations, or within different social and political contexts, individuals are encouraged to find a way from various forms of moral apathy and social nihilism in order to transform their modes of conduct into full respect for the other(s). With its three approaches to this task, the panel wishes to elaborate on the role of listening as attention towards others, both as individuals in different social roles, as well as victims – with their longing for recognition and acknowledgment of their loss, fear, and anger. With this, in ourselves and in a society, a place, reserved for the welcome of the other, can be imagined and construed. As in contemporary ethics and studies of intersubjectivity the role of attentive listening in various contexts and ethical spaces or between-two is often undervaluated, this panel looks for its rehabilitation through the examples of, (1) listening as our awareness and respect of the other person, (2) listening in secular humanist counselling, and (3), attention to the problematic of sexual abuse of both girls and boys within families and residential care.


Prof. Lenart Skof (University of Primorska, Slovenia): Breath of Hospitality: Silence, Listening, Care

Prof. Sietske Dijkstra (Avans Hogeschool, Netherlands): Handle Safe With care. A Reflection on Sexual Abuse in Residential Youth Care and Families
Wouter Kuijlman (UvH): Secular Samaritans: the emergence of humanist counselling as a helping profession (1946-1978)

18.00 - 20.00 Conference Dinner (by separate registration)

Programme day 2 >>