JFIGS Friday Forum

JFIGS hosts regular forums which encourage both staff and graduate students to contribute to academic discussion.

The full day forum encourages staff and graduate students to offer brief (10 minute) contributions on a particular topic. It is an opportunity to discuss a particular theme in an interdisciplinary context.

All staff and graduate students are invited to either offer their thoughts in a brief paper, or simply attend a session that is of interest.

February 2016 Forum - 'Recognition' 

Submission deadline: 23 December 2015

Conference date: 5 February 2016 

Forum Programme: Download the JFIGS Friday Forum Programme.

We welcome proposals from graduate students and staff from across UCL, and especially from departments in the faculties of Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences. Presentations should be between 15 and 20 minutes. 

'Recognition' is a rich concept that has several meanings. In everyday use it refers to the identification of objects and persons as entities known to oneself. Here, recognition involves moving from a state of ignorance to one of knowledge as to the nature of an entity. It is also used to signal awareness that a particular state of affairs is of a certain kind; to recognise, for example, that one's actions were morally wrong. In another usage, recognition refers to acknowledgment of the existence or legality of something, such as an event or a nation state.

In a related usage, recognition, as it arises in the phrase 'the politics of recognition', refers to a mutual attitude towards others by which we acknowledge and honour their status. In this final meaning, the concept of recognition has been developed into a moral and political theory, and employed to understand and justify many contemporary struggles for identity and rights, including gay rights, the rights of ethnic minorities, and disability rights.  

This conference aims to explore the concept of recognition from an interdisciplinary perspective. Topics to be considered include: 

  • The different meanings of 'recognition'
  • History and evolution of the word recognition
  • The use of recognition (anagnorisis)  in Classical and Modern drama
  • The relation between mutual recognition and identity formation
  • The ethical significance of recognition and misrecognition
  • Historical and philosophical underpinnings to contemporary political uses of the concept of recognition
  • Contemporary struggles for legal and cultural recognition of rights and status
  • Mechanisms of misrecognition and social invisibility 

If you would like to participate, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed at the Institute of Advanced Studies.

Past Forums

See the programmes of past events at the links below:


Any enquiries should be sent to Catherine Thomson (catherine.thomson@ucl.ac.uk).

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