Communities and the Individual: Beyond the Liberal-Communitarian Divide

Venice Seminars May 26th – 29th | Ca’ Foscari University of Venice 


Please note that due to the current developments regarding COVID-19 (Corona Virus) in Italy, all the activities of the Venice Seminar 2020 will be transferred online. As such, we encourage all people willing to apply to do so. All accepted candidates will be contacted by e-mail with instructions on how to participate in the conference.

Thank you for your understanding.

Despite the rise of individualism and human rights in the aftermath of World War II, communitarian approaches to politics continue to challenge liberal assumptions. Subnational groups and communities challenge this perspective and bring to surface the tensions of the democratic project. They may endorse a partial and identitarian project that clashes with the values of other groups, which can undermine democratic cohesion.

The debate generally turns around the oppositions of communitarianism and liberalism, collective rights and individual rights, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, tradition and modernity. Venice Seminars 2020 aim to concentrate the discussion on the very notion and nature of the community, asking to what extent the dichotomy between community and individuals is irreconcilable and what the repercussions on the democratic process are.

In this context, the Seminars are going to analyze if communities are given or constructed and examine the role language, recognition and alterity have for the shape of communities. The Seminars will address issues concerning global intellectual history and study how modern nation-states have engaged with issues of difference and integration, including the themes of subnational identities and linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Radical religious-political ideologies in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions will also be taken into account, with regard to their potential direct challenge to basic personal freedoms and the recognition of religious identities.

A special emphasis will be put on the transcultural construction of communities and their translingual practices. Transculturalism, with respect to the simple multiculturalism, tends not to solidify difference, but acknowledges cultural fluidity, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and métissage. At the center of the analysis will be the concept of identity arising from transculturalism. Ultimately, it may be necessary to go beyond the liberal-communitarian divide in order to reconcile the valuable insights that may be rescued from both positions.



  1. Master’s and Ph.D. students and recent graduates, young scholars in the field of humanities, social and political science are welcome to participate in the Venice Seminars 2020 that will take place in Venice from the 25th to the 30th of May 2020.
  2. Have a good working knowledge of English, knowledge of other languages is considered a plus but not indispensable.


Please, see all application details here below.

Scientific Committee:

Giulia Baccini (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Stefano Beggiora (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), José Casanova (Georgetown University), Maria Cristina Paciello (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice).


Giuliano Amato, Lisa Anderson, Seyla Benhabib, Giancarlo Bosetti, Daniele Brombal, Craig Calhoun, Marina Calloni, José Casanova, Alessandro Ferrara, Silvio Ferrari, Volker Kaul, Sudipta Kaviraj, Jonathan Laurence, Tiziana Lippiello, Chunrong Liu, Stephen Macedo, Avishai Margalit, Toshio Miyake, Amal Moussa, George Najib Awad, Awino Okech, David Rasmussen, Adam Seligman, Francesca Tarocco, Michael Walzer and others.

Venice Seminars ‘20 | Ca’ Foscari University of Venice | Application

26 – 29 May 2020


It is now possible to apply for participating in the Venice Seminars 2020 (28-30 May)

In order to register to the Venice Seminars please click here, complete the form and send your application by May 24, 2020. Only registered candidates will be able to attend all conference speeches.


Important: In order to receive the certificate of attendance of the Seminars, attendance to all conference speeches is mandatory.




The list of speakers may be subject to change. Participants will receive the final program of the Summer School.

For any additional information regarding the application process please write to Marco Lucidi:

For any additional information regarding logistics please write to Sofia De Benedictis:




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