Homo homini lupus est? Images of Human Beings and the Unknown: Interaction and Perception

*** English version below***

Homo homini lupus est? Menschenbilder und das Fremde: Interaktion und Wahrnehmung. Kiel/Hamburg 2023

Are humans "inherently good", as Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, or do they behave in a fundamentally predatory manner towards other human beings, as the phrase "homo homini lupus" (man is man's wolf) suggests, used by, for example, Thomas Hobbes or Arthur Schopenhauer? Anyone who scientifically studies the past of humankind encounters—reflected and unreflected—very different images of human beings.

A new volume now published as an Open Access publication entitled "Homo homini lupus est? Menschenbilder und das Fremde: Interaktion und Wahrnehmung" critically examines and discusses concrete examples of images of humans. The volume thus highlights their diversity and the contexts in which these images occur. The publication is based on a symposium with the same title that was organised by PhD students of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS at Kiel University in September 2021. It was the first project of the Cluster of Excellence to be organised and managed purely by PhD students.

The cluster investigates the roots of social, environmental and cultural phenomena and processes that substantially marked past human development. The historical dimension of this task  and the associated discourse on past cultures promotes a diversity of descriptions of humans. "Against this background, there was a great deal of interest in the plurality of concepts of human beings," says Dana Zentgraf, PhD student in ROOTS and one of the editors of the volume.  

The new book contributes to a current and interdisciplinary discussion of divergent images of humans. The contributions were prepared by researchers of various individual disciplines, including philosophy, German studies, illustration and archaeology.

The focus is placed on investigations into how different images of human beings emerge, how they become normalised and how they are transmitted. How can a specific view of humans be recognised as such and how do these constructs vary culturally, milieu-specifically and over time? To what extent can professional and historical contexts themselves influence the study of specific images of humans? The authors further address the limits of the known and familiar, the intangibility of the unknown, and fear or bias towards the other.

The book is published by Wachholtz-Verlag in Kiel and Hamburg (Germany). The digital version can be downloaded free of charge from the publisher's website.

Catharina Müller-Liedtke, Dana N. Zentgraf, Lisa Pannek, Gido Lukas, Sascha Boelcke (eds.): Homo homini lupus est? Images of Man and the Alien: Interaction and Perception. Kiel/Hamburg 2023
ISBN: 978-3-529-05083-1



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