The visual sense plays a crucial role in the question of whether we perceive a person as white or black, female or male. In his book Black Skin, White Masks (French first edition 1952), the French psychiatrist and anti-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon analyzes the consequences of this link between visibility and race using the term "epidermization". In “Invisibility: On the Epistemology of Regognition” (2003), on the other hand, the philosopher Axel Honneth examines the strategy of expressing social superiority by looking through certain people – as if they were invisible. In addition, there are categories that are not visibly marked on bodies. For example, the political strategy of coming out of the lesbian and gay movement is used because it makes a previously invisible difference visible. The sociologist Didier Eribon describes shame or awkwardness as the physical effects of homonegative insult before a coming out, which indicates that invisibility can also be the reason for discrimination.
In the seminar, we will discuss these different meanings and contexts of visibility, difference, discrimination and recognition. In doing so, we also take a critical look at ocularcentrism, the unquestioned primacy of vision. The theoretical approaches are related to positions from literature, art and photography, such as the work of Adrian Piper, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin or Jeff Wall.