From Enlightened Medialities
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"Enlightened Medialities" investigates communicative technologies and techniques during the age of Enlightenment in the Greek "republic of letters" (the Ottoman Empire and the Western European Greek diaspora), Spain and its (former) colonies, and the newly founded United States at the time of the French and Haitian Revolutions. The project focuses on Enlightenment theories and practices of disinterested deliberation, on the one hand, and the Enlightenment rhetoric of friendship and empathy, on the other, analysing them as two versions of one and the same desire for non-normative norms. The Enlightenment’s fascination with "the strangely non-coercive force of the better argument" (J. Habermas) – disavowing competitive mediation while enacting it – represents a central element of Western discourses of domination and emancipation alike. It also serves as a foundational figure for prevailing fictions of' ‘centre/periphery.' Therefore, our central question revolves around the tension between forces of community-building and forces of critique in Enlightened print culture, asking whether competing media practices of writing/reading have produced counter-discourses to the Western desire for non-coercive modes of coercion or even new types of mediated competition in global(ising) networks of literary production.