Experiencing Liminal Space: An Endeavour within Feminist Philosophy

Experiencing Liminal Space: An Endeavour within Feminist Philosophy

One-Year Study Circle 2023

Call for Participation (PDF)

Nordic Summer University invites…

Experiencing Liminal Space through

Writing Labs on the limitations of our sites of speech

Did you ever ask the question “Where do you come from?” and noticed that you created discomfort? Did someone ask you that question and make you doubt her intentions or the relevance of the question? What would happen if we dared to meet strangers in non-normative ways? What would happen if we dared to accept the presence of the stranger herself as the first question?

This winter, Nordic Summer University’s study circle Experiencing Liminal Space: An Endeavour within Feminist Philosophy invites you to a series of three writing labs in which together we will experiment to carry ourselves to temporary liminal spaces, in which we will question the limitations of the questions we ask and of our sites of speech.

According to Djamila Ribeiro we all have a specific site of speech, which is an intersection of several of our marks, such as race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and citizenship (or lack of it). Ribeiro claims that what we are able to see, understand, and care about will largely depend on our site of speeches. Similarly, Hannah Arendt claimed that who we appear to be in the world strongly affects who we can be. Jacques Derrida and Anne Dufourmantelle raised the issue of inviting each other into each other’s text, while being aware that asking for someone’s name in order to justify this kind of hospitality is making that connection impossible. In the workshops offered we will play and try out exercises together, that will shake how we categorize our and others’ marks.

The writing labs will bring fragments of philosophical texts, poetry, and auto-theory.
They will happen both online and in person.

The face-to-face sessions will happen at aerial in Bergen, Norway, on the following dates: 14th, 23th and 24th of November from 18:00-20:00, with some food and coffee and tea.

The online sessions will take place on the 8th, 14th and 23rd of November, 11:00-12:30 CET.

You are welcome to join all sessions, a few or just one.
At the end of this experiment, we aim at a publication. Participants are welcome to participate, but not obliged to. Deadline for submission of text following the workshops is 21st December 2023.

If you want to join us online send an email to nicole.nobyeni@nsuweb.org
If you want to join us at aerial in Bergen send an email to stamponecaroline@hotmail.com


Carol Stampone


Nicole des Bouvrie

the Netherlands.


Previous Symposium:

Nordic Summer University
Palanga, Lithuania, 27 July – 3 August

Preliminary Program can be found here.

Experiencing Liminal Space:
An Endeavour within Feminist Philosophy

How to act from a place of not-knowing? Can we take ourselves seriously while not relying on the categories of thought that have repressed and excluded ‘others’? How can we learn to listen to what we don’t already know? These are questions that need to be addressed by feminist philosophy, in order to open up space within an otherwise fixed reality. We question the rigidity of language, of subject-object relations. Instead, we want to ask what is needed to think ‘thinking’ again? What happens when I relate to a(n) (m)Other? What does this othering accomplish, besides reaffirming the concepts of subject and object? Is there a way to be with what is not-me? Can we build bridges to relate to others that will enable us to be in liminal spaces? If we can, would that mean inventing impossible ways to relate that put in question what is knowledge, language, empathy, compassion? How to be present in a place that cannot be named? How to understand, and stay with what Derrida called the impossibility of witnessing what we ourselves survive?

“How is it possible that an event is, and is not? How can any event, properly called, be nothing? And yet… (…) the nature of miscarriage in (…) society. It both is and is not. It is both a source of acknowledged pain and suffering, and one swept easily away with ‘you can always try again’ or ‘it could be worse’.” (1)

Derrida pointed at the “disturbing complicity between fiction and testimony”. Is this why there are so many contemporary speculative fictional accounts of motherhood and pregnancy, because there is no other way to address that particular liminal space? Is this what Hannah Arendt meant when she wrote: “The less we are free to decide who we are or to live as we like, the more we try to put up a front, to hide the facts, and to play roles.” (2)

At the core of this seminar is an invitation to experience the liminal space of the in-between. “Liminal space is a place of ambiguity and anxiety, of no-longer and not-yet”, according to Ronald Carson.(3) It is also a matrixial borderspace (4), and a witnessing of what cannot be witnessed (5). A liminal space is something that can emerge between me and you, between me and the world, and between me and myself. How to witness it? How to think it? How to write it? And how to investigate this together?

We especially invite workshops and shared practices to experience these liminal spaces, through listening, writing, being, investigating, thinking together. We look forward to taking the time together to stay with the anxiety of the ambiguity of a liminal space, a threshold that is not taking a position – yet. 

Preliminary Program of the Summer Session

About the NSU Summer Session

One week long seminar in a space shared with eight other study circles investigating topics ranging from whiteness to Nordic environmental ethics, from ‘Racialisation, Objectification, Dehumanisation: Missionary and Merchant in the Mongolian Empire’ to ‘What a waste: surplus art, theory and tékhnē’. While we will host our own program during the week, and investigate the liminal space through philosophical workshops organised by the coordinators and participants alike, we will also be able to actively search out collaboration with and join the program of other circles present during the NSU Summer Session. 

Please be aware that Nordic Summer University is a horizontal organisation fully run by volunteers and with minimum funding. During the NSU Summer Session members are invited to join the General Assembly to discuss and take decisions regarding the future (study) program of NSU. 

Registration and fee

All prices include NSU membership, full accommodation and food for the whole week:

– single rooms for 575 euros per person.

– double/twin rooms for 425 euro per person.

– family rooms for 950 euros (family of 4).

(see https://www.nsuweb.org/activities/summer-session/ for more information)

The rooms are all equipped with their own private bathroom (shared with only the people in the room). All rooms at Vyturys Hotel are of modest to good quality. The rooms include bed linen and towels, and all food is also included in the price. The cost includes accommodation for the week, 3 meals and 2 coffee breaks a day, and access to the full NSU program during the summer session. Participation in the summer session requires NSU membership (included in the prices mentioned above).

Partial scholarships may be available, please contact the coordinators for more information. 


Write a short abstract / email about how you would like to participate in this circle’s summer program. Send it by May 15th 2023 to: nicole.nobyeni@nsuweb.org


  1. Alison Reiheld, “The Event That Was Nothing”: Miscarriage as a Liminal Event, Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 46 No. 1, Spring 2015, 9–26
  2. “We Refugees” in: Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings, Schocken Books, New York, p.270.
  3. Ronald A. Carson, “The Hyphenated Space: Liminality in the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” In Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics, ed. Rita Charon and Martha Montello. (New York: Routledge, 2002), 171–82. p.180.
  4. See: Bracha Ettinger
  5. See: Derrida, A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event.

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