Friday 30th November 2012

Bernhard Strigel
Bernhard Strigel (1465-1528), Pilate Washing His Hands of Guilt for Christ's Death, ca. 1495/1500

When, how and why did guilt become part of the inner make-up of human beings?

How have views, expressions and manifestations of individual or collective guilt changed over time and across cultures?

Is guilt ‘earned’ or a prior human condition, via original sin or Pandora’s Box?

Is guilt something to be overcome, wished away, atoned for, combated by therapy, or is it something that, unresolved, can serve a useful function?

This forum examined these and other questions from a variety of inter/disciplinary perspectives.

The full programme is below, including copies of papers/presentations.



Opening and Welcome

Mary Fulbrook (SELCS) and Susanne Kord (SELCS)


Session 1:

Definitions I: What is Guilt?

Session Chair: Claire Lindsay (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Kathrine Fragkou (CES): Perceptions of guilt in a moral and philosophical context

Akosua Bonsu (Philosophy): Does guilt track actual moral transgressions?

11.05-11.30 Tea/Coffee break

Session 2:

Definitions II: What is Guilt?

Session Chair: Florian Mussgnug (Italian/Comparative Literature)

Claire Lindsay (Spanish and Latin American Studies): Guilt and Shame

Daniel Elstein (Philosophy): Guilt and Wrongdoing

12.30-13.30 Sandwich lunch - provided by FIGS

Session 3:

Guilt on Page and Stage

Session Chair: Christiane Luck (German)

Efstathia Maria Athanasopoulou (Greek and Latin): Fighting Against Guilt for the Sake of Theatre in Late Antiquity

Gaelle Fisher (German): Historical Memory as a Source of Shame and Guilt 


Session 4:

Guilt, Love and Sex

Session Chair: Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (Scandinavian)

Rachel Alliston (Slade): Guilt, Monogamy and Practice: Between Adorno's Commitment and Hardt's Political Love

Patrick Zhao (Information Studies): Guilt from Seeing Sex

15.30-16.00 Tea/coffee break

Session 5:

Overcoming Guilt: Forgiveness

Session Chair: Gaelle Fisher (German)

Svend Larsen (Scandinavian Studies): Forgiveness: Hurting or Healing?

Merav Kaddar (Philosophy): The place of (objective) guilt in asking for forgiveness

17.00-17.20 General discussion
17.20-18.30 Drinks reception

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