Summer School “Eating Walking Thinking”, Milan, 15th-21st June 2015

The Summer School Eating Walking Thinking (EWT) is organised by the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milano-Bicocca (Unimib), in collaboration with 11 renowned external partners. It is focused on the cultural “construction” of food as dynamic construct. The way we eat is the result of a complex and multifaceted cultural process, entangling different traditions, origins and cultures as well as new attitudes towards nutrition, heal and sustainability. This prismatic and mobile dimension of food needs to be considered from different angles, disciplines and places, in order to understand (starting from daily practices) the radical changes, which are nowadays affecting lifestyles and collective identities at the both local and global levels.

Communities develop their preferences towards specific kinds of food and cooking. Cultural inclinations are determined by a changing interaction between food supplies, traditions, social environment and global transformations. Rules concerning feeding are thus determined by taboos and practices related to convictions about the values for a “good life”. Therefore, food behaviours are influenced by socio-economic and cultural factors as well as by religious and ethical conceptions. Food is not only a physiological instrument but also a cultural need. 

Philosophical, historical, anthropological, economic, social, geographical and cultural analyses and lectures in the morning will be followed in the afternoon by guided tours to Expo site, museums, botanic gardens, farm productions, religious sites, exhibitions, art cities, centres of excellence towards a new culture of feeding/ healing, with a cultural- gastronomic tour in the region Piedmont in the week-end. 

Rethinking food means to consider the multifaceted components, which determine it,  walking and meeting different social actors, who are interested in the improvement of the quality of life and the development of human capabilities, feeding and healing the planet. 

For more information please visit the Summer school’s website:

EWT Summer School – General Program

EWT – Call for Applications

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conference “Dignity, Respect, and Self-respect. Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Perspectives”, Bologna, 26-27 May 2014

foto (6)

foto (1)

foto (3)

foto (5)

foto (8)

foto (4)

foto (7)


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conference “Dignity, Respect, and Self-respect. Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Perspectives”, Bologna, 26-27 May



(Painting by Laura Facchini)

Dignity, Respect, and Self-respect. Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary

26th – 27th May 2014, Department of History Cultures Civilization
(University of Bologna)

Conference Programme

26th May, 2014

9.00-9.30: Registration and Welcome Address

9.30-11.00 Keynote Lecture: Robin Dillon (Aula Prodi)

11.00-11.30: Coffee Break

11.30-13.00: Ancient Views of Respect and Self-Respect (Parallel Sessions)

(1)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Federico Zuolo (Università di Pavia)
          -Giovanni Giorgini (Università di Bologna), Respect and Justice: What
            can we learn from Plato and Protagoras?
         -Simon Weber (University of Bonn), Aristotle on “Human Dignity”

(2)     Aula Capitani. Chair: Elena Irrera (Università di Bologna)
         -Pia Campeggiani (Università di Bologna), The Ancient Greek Roots of
           the Idea of Self-Respect: Notes on its Relation with Equality and Justice
         -Arianna Fermani (Università di Macerata), Respect for Oneself and
           for Others: Aristotle’s Reflection on Suicide

13.00-14.30: Lunch

14.30-16.00:  Modern Perspectives on Respect and Self-Respect (Parallel Sessions)
(3)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Corrado del Bò (Università di Milano)
         -Michael Lyons (Trinity College Dublin), Carter, Kant, and the Basis
           of Equal Respect
         -Maria C. Gobel (Utrecht University), To what Extent is the Concept
           of Respect Relevant for Kant’s Philosophy of Law?

 (4)     Aula Capitani. Chair: Chiara Testino (Università di Pavia)
         -Elena Irrera (Università di Bologna), From the State of Nature to a
           Sovereign Power. Hobbes on Respect for Persons and Self-respect
         -Christine Bratu (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München), À la
           Kant: Dignity, Respect and Self-Respect and our Capacity to Act Reasonably

16.00-16.30: Coffee break

16.30-18.00:  Contemporary Perspectives on Respect and Self-Respect (Parallel Sessions)

(5)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Emanuela Ceva (Università di Pavia)
         -Carla Bagnoli (Università di Modena), Coercive Respect
         -Andrea Sangiovanni (King’s College London), Moral Equality, Respect,
           and Cruelty

(6)      Aula Capitani. Chair: Francesco Ferraro (Università di Milano)
         -Camillia Kong (University of Oxford), The Space Between Second-
           Personal Respect and Rational Care in Theory and Mental Health Law
         -Antonino Falduto (University of Mainz), Respect as Correlate of the
           Moral Law: A Phenomenological Account of Kant’s Moral Theory

20.00: Dinner

27th May, 2014

9.30-11.00 Keynote Lecture: Colin Bird

11.00-11.30: Coffee Break

11.30 – 13.00: Issues on (Human and Animal) Dignity (Parallel Sessions)

(7)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Ian Carter (Università di Pavia)
         -Jan-Willem van der Rijt (University of Bayreuth), Moral Lawgiving
           and Dignity
         -Federico Zuolo (Università di Pavia), Dignity and Animals. Does it
           Make Sense to Apply the Concept of Dignity to all Sentient Beings?

(8)     Aula Capitani. Chair: Chiara Testino (Università di Pavia)
         -Nicholas Vallone (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Human Worth
           vs. Human Status: A Debate about the Meaning of Dignity
         -Francesco Ferraro (Università di Milano), Expanding Dignity: Humans
           and Animals as Moral Subjects from a Utilitarian Perspective

13.00-14.00: Lunch

14.00 – 15:30: Self-Respect and Justice (Parallel Sessions)

(9)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Emanuela Ceva (Università di Pavia)
         -Jeff Moriarty (Bentley University, USA), Self-Respect and the
           Economic Liberties
         -Daniel Attas (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Self-respect: its
          Significance to Well-being and Justice

(10)    Aula Capitani. Chair: Elena Irrera (Università di Bologna)
         -Jonathan Seglow (Royal Holloway, University of London), Religious
           Exemptions and Self-Respect
         -Christian Schemmel (University of Manchester), Self-Respect,
          Justice, and Equality

15.30 – 16:00: Coffee Break

16.00 – 17:30: Dignity, Respect, and Self-respect: Culture, Identity, and
Rights (Parallel Sessions)

(11)     Aula Prodi. Chair: Corrado del Bò (Università di Milano)
          -Elvio Baccarini (University of Rijeka), National Identity, Culture,
            and Self-respect for Rawlsians
          -Francesco Chiesa (University of South Wales), Standards-Self-Respect
            and the Limits of Respect

(12)      Aula Capitani. Chair: Federico Zuolo (Università di Pavia)
           -Suzy Killmister (University of Connecticut), Dignity, Respect and
            Human Rights
           -Thomas Wachtendorf (University of Oldenburg), On Absolute Metaphors:
             The Dignity of Man

Non-presenters can register by sending an email to by
May 5th.

The conference is organized within the framework of the ‘Feeding
Respect’ Research Project financed by Italian Ministry of Research
(FIRB – Futuro in ricerca 2010, RBFR107AN0).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dignity, Respect, and Self-respect. Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Perspectives – Call for abstracts

Bologna, 26 – 27 May 2014

Department of History Culture Civilization (University of Bologna)

Cfa deadline: 20 December 2013

Contact: Dr. Elena Irrera (email:

The conference, which is part of the FIRB Research Project “Feeding Respect” (, is meant to bring together leading academics and researchers from different areas of philosophy and offer them the opportunity to exchange ideas on the topics of respect, self-respect, and dignity. We invite proposals for papers that explore the above mentioned concepts across a wide range of perspectives, including political, moral, legal philosophy and history of political thought. Please email a title and a 500-word description of your proposed paper, along with your academic affiliation and contact information to Carla Jemma ( Please direct conference inquiries to Dr Elena Irrera (  We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. Submissions should be prepared for blind review.

Decisions regarding the program will be made by February 2014.

Papers should be delivered in English.

Keynote speakers: Prof. Colin Bird (University of Virginia)

                               Prof. Robin Dillon (Lehigh University)


The ideas of respect (understood in terms of respect for persons as well as in terms of self-respect) and dignity have attracted an enormous amount of philosophical attention in recent years, especially within the fields of ethics, sociology, political theory, and legal philosophy. Notably, as many political philosophers have contended (see for instance Rawls, Raz, Nussbaum, Hill, Feinberg), the concepts at issue – either separately examined or addressed in their mutual relations – have the power to promote a political praxis based on the recognition of the collective identities of oppressed, subordinated or marginal groups. So understood, respect and defense of human dignity can be envisaged not only as general guides to ethical practice, but also as two of the most forceful normative political principles to which liberal democratic institutions are committed in their attempt to negotiate different types of tensions inherent in political life.

Such a vivid upsurge of interest in the ideals of respect and dignity has not been matched by a similar degree of conceptual clarity relative to their meaning, reciprocal relations and role in the implementation of policies. Even more remarkably, rare are the attempts to address the concepts at issue from the perspective of history of philosophy and history of ideas. The aim of this conference is to foster discussion and contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the functions and semantic nuances of respect and dignity from both a theoretical and a properly historic-philosophical standpoint.

The conference will address the following questions:

  • What are the relationships between respect for persons and self-respect?
  • What kind/s of respect is/are involved in the recognition of the moral authority supposedly possessed by human beings? How does such an authority shape the nature of individual dignity?
  •  What are the main underpinnings of the idea of “equal respect”? How does the idea of respect connect with that of equality of status?
  • What do we mean by “inherent dignity” of a human being?
  • What are the social bases self-respect? How do these contribute to the promotion of fair policies?
  • Is there any attempt to conceptualize different types of respect and/or dignity in the history of philosophy? In case there is, did it affect the contemporary reflection on the problems of respect and justice, and how?
  • What are the main underpinnings of Kant’s view of respect and dignity? What is the ultimate object of respect in his philosophy? The moral law? Persons?
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cultural pluralism and food security issues


 Elena Irrera

Among the many examples of controversies recently elicited on matters of food distribution at school canteens, a case that deserves special attention for the complexity of its theoretical and normative implications is the one reported by The Mirror on 14th March 2013. According to the public statement released by Westminster administration (UK), traces of pork DNA have been found in halal-labelled chicken sausage products (halal meat is the one slaughtered in accordance with the principles of Islamic law) served in a primary school canteen in London. The statement reports that traces not only of pork, but also of lamb meat have been detected in foods passed off as “minced beef”. The fact rises an issue of lack of respect towards both those schoolchildren (and their families) who adhere to Islamic religion and those (and their respective families) who, although free from the constraints imposed by specific religious prescriptions, have a right to receive a truthful and transparent information on the components of the food they take in. That the problem at stake is not simply one of religious character is remarkably witnessed by the way in which the scam has been discovered, that is, by means of food controls conducted in response to a need of precautionary measures utterly alien to the issue of respect of food habits consonant to religious prescriptions. Such controls have been disposed by local authorities following a widespread apprehension stirred in England by the discovery of horse meat both in hamburgers served in several fast-food restaurants and in other types of pre-packed food. Continue reading

Posted in Food security, Pluralism and canteens | Leave a comment

Requests for differential treatment as demands for respect


Elena Irrera

Delving into a wide variety of case studies concerning issues of food pluralism, one will easily realise that school canteens prove themselves to be a peculiarly suitable framework for the analysis of puzzling situations to which communications media have accorded outstanding social import. In recent years, increasingly frequent and numerous facts have occurred which brought to the fore a prima facie irreconcilability between the requests issued by the main beneficiaries of the school meals service (i.e. young students) and their families on the one hand and, on the other, the activity of those committed to service provision at various levels (see for instance local [city/province/regional] administrators and school directors, who are respectively engaged in the task of drafting and implementing guiding lines for an appropriate regulation of the school meals service, but also individuals who actively operate within other professional sectors, such as those in charge of the preparation, wrapping, labelling and quality control of the food served daily in schools). In the present discussion I shall briefly outline some cases of conflict on the issue of school nutrition that have been reported by both national and international press. I will suggest that, in spite of the peculiar nature of each situation, they can all be read in terms of requests for respect. Continue reading

Posted in Pluralism and canteens | Leave a comment

No Gluten, No Eucharist. Is it permissible that a religious institution limits the participation of its members on the basis of their food restrictions?


Emanuela Ceva

One of the most common ways to accommodate citizens’ ethical, cultural, and religious claims   consists in granting some room for the differential treatment of individuals and groups with respect to generally binding rules. Examples of this strategy of accommodation include physicians’ conscientious exemptions from abortion services, as well as religious or cultural exemptions to allow certain minorities’ practices (e.g., exemptions from rules of animal slaughter for Muslims and Jews). In such cases, differential treatment is granted to resolve a conflict between a legal duty, which institutions coercively impose on citizens, and these latter’s various moral duties derived from their ethical, religious, or cultural convictions. This strategy is grounded in the distinctive liberal democratic belief that public rules, to be justified, must be acceptable to all those who are bound by such rules so that by following them citizens may preserve their moral integrity. Continue reading

Posted in Food restrictions and opportunities | Leave a comment