Call for Papers „Exploring Contradictions beyond Contradiction. 1st International Conference on Contradiction Studies“ | University of Bremen | February 11–14, 2025

Contradictions are omnipresent and the identification of contradictions is usually accompanied by the imperative to resolve them. Contradictions can be ascribed to individual actions as well as to social formations. They extend to all areas of life: political orders, academic settings, religious practices and many more fields that are permeated by them. Without contradictions, there are no pluralities and no truths. Nevertheless, there is a long and powerful (especially European) tradition of problematizing and resolving contradictions and reducing them to logical incompatibility. This tradition of avoiding contradiction is countered by alternative concepts of thinking contradiction, above all in dialectics or paraconsistent logic (Priest/Tanaka [1996]2022). Contradiction Studies take up this reflection and move away from the widespread negative assessment of contradiction (cp. Febel/Knopf/Nonhoff 2023; Lienert 2019; Lossau/Schmidt-Brücken/Warnke 2019; Nintemann/Stroh 2022; Warnke/Hornidge/Schattenberg 2021). In this sense, our conference aims to explore contradictions beyond contradiction.

Contradiction Studies question the primacy of consistency without contradiction and the imperative of overcoming contradictions and in doing so focus on the everyday omnipresence of contradictions, their inevitability and ambiguity, their effects and the ways in which contradictions are dealt with. Contradiction Studies, as a new internationally and interdisciplinary oriented field of research, thus rethink the complex topic of contradiction by focusing on living in and with contradictions.Of particular interest are the epistemic preconditions of concepts of contradiction, their formation, negotiations, and the explanatory limits of contradiction.

The 1st International Conference on Contradiction Studies at the University of Bremen picks up this approach of inquiring contradictions, and interrogates and discusses constellations of contradiction, modes of resolving contradiction, everyday contradictions, and practices of contradiction in a multi- and interdisciplinary setting. We are also interested in the historization and provincialization of contradiction, enabling post- and decolonial discussions on how to open up, decenter and question contradiction as an ordering practice. Both theoretical contributions and the discussion of empirical approaches and results are welcome.

The conference features a combination of plenary lectures and panels. The conference language is English but individual presentations or panels in German are possible. Six General Panels (GP) will be organized:

GP 1 | Practices
GP 2 | Texts/Objects
GP 3 | Norms
GP 4 | Contradiction as Method
GP 5 | Provincializing Contradictions
GP 6 | Contradictions in History

We invite contributions to the following formats:

Single Papers | Abstract for a single paper (20 minutes) assigned to a General Panel 1-6

Special Panels | Abstract for a Special Panel (1-2 moderators and 3-4 single papers; a Special Panel is self-organized and is proposed as a whole).

Open Format Contributions | Abstract for a free format such as roundtable, poster presentation, book discussion, podium

For each proposal in these three formats, please provide an abstract containing a provisional title, a description of the planned project, a short bio and up to four literature references.

Proposals should be submitted by June 1, 2024 to:

Please send any queries to the same address.

The conference is organized by the DFG Research Training Group 2686 Contradiction Studies – Constellations, Heuristics, and Concepts of the Contradictory (DFG RTG 2686 2023) as part of the Collaborative Research Platform Worlds of Contradiction (WoC) at the University of Bremen and hosted by the speakers of the GRK 2686, Prof. Michi Knecht and Prof. Ingo H. Warnke, the scientific coordinator PD Dr. Ehler Voss, as well as the entire faculty of the Research Training Group:


DFG RTG 2686. 2023. Initial Application. Contradiction Studies – Constellations, Heuristics, and Concepts of the Contradictory. Reading Version. Research Training Group Contradiction Studies (GRK2686) Working Paper Series #1_en. Bremen: U Bremen.

Febel, Gisela, Kerstin Knopf and Martin Nonhoff, eds. 2023. Contradiction Studies – Exploring the Field. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Lienert, Elisabeth, ed. 2019. Poetiken des Widerspruchs in vormoderner Erzählliteratur. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Lossau, Julia, Daniel Schmidt-Brücken and Ingo H. Warnke, eds. 2019. Spaces of Dissention: Towards a New Perspective on Contradiction. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Nintemann, Julia and Cornelia Stroh, eds. 2022. Über Widersprüche sprechen. Linguistische Beiträge zu Contradiction Studies. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Priest, Graham and Koji Tanaka 2022 [1996]. Paraconsistent Logic. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA:

Warnke, Ingo H., Anna-Katharina Hornidge and Susanne Schattenberg, eds. 2021. Kontradiktorische Diskurse und Macht im Widerspruch. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

PDF of the call

Back to overview
problem to be solved

“Contradiction is not primarily a problem to be solved but a motor we cannot do without.”

Martin Nonhoff
sustained engagement

“The history of Western philosophy can be understood as a sustained engagement with contradiction.”

Norman Sieroka
prison of difference

“‘Contradiction is the prison of difference‘ writes the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Worlds of Contradiction asks: how can we explain and describe the world without making it more coherent and systematic than it is?”

Michi Knecht
decolonial scholarship

“Creating decentralizing and decolonizing scholarship on contradiction, contradictory phenomena, and contradicting processes is a challenging task.”

Kerstin Knopf
power and resistance

“Michel Foucault says: “Where there is power, there is resistance, and […] this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power” (History of Sexuality I, The Will to Knowledge, 1976, p. 95)”

Gisela Febel