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Susann Schmeisser

Andreas Malm 150 150 Susann Schmeisser

Andreas Malm

Fellow, Berlin Center

January 2020 – June 2020

Email: andreas.malm@hek.lu.se

Andreas Malm

Andreas Malm is an associate professor of human ecology from Lund University, Sweden. His research primarily focuses on various aspects of the climate crisis. He is the author of, among other books, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming (Verso, 2016) and The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World (Verso, 2018). In 2020, he will publish a short book on the corona crisis, as well as How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire and White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Dangers of Fossil Fascism, written together with The Zetkin Collective, all from Verso. He is part of a research project on negative emissions technologies; forthcoming from Rutgers University Press is Has it Come to This? The Promises and Perils of Geoengineering on the Brink, edited by J.P. Sapinski, Holly Jean Buck and Andreas Malm. He is also working on a people’s history of wilderness.

During his stay at Humanities and Social Change Center, Andreas Malm wrote a book on „Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency. War Communism in the Twenty-First Century“, Verso Verlag, London/New York, which is published in autumn 2020.  He prepared an excerpt of the book, which you can find here.

Aldo Beretta 1024 683 Susann Schmeisser

Aldo Beretta

Postdoctoral Fellow, Berlin Center

October 2019 – March 2020

Research Affiliate Postdoctoral Fellow (since April 2020)

Email: aldo.beretta@hu-berlin.de

Aldo Beretta

Aldo Beretta is a philosopher and political theorist. After receiving his PhD he has held research and lecture positions at the Alice Salomon Hochschule and the Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika. Beretta has been political advisor for several governments in Latin America and collaborated with the UNESCO Chair for University and Regional Integration. Currently, his research focuses on the conflictual relation between democracy and capitalism. Based on the Habermasian opposed principles of social integration, he analyses social pathologies derived from the primacy of global economic forces over democratic institutions. Some of his publications include: “Handelsabkommen Neu Aufgelegt” in Lateinamerika Nachrichten, N. 533. (Berlin 2018). “Observaciones sobre la Crítica de Habermas a Marx”, in Constelaciones, N. 9, (Madrid 2017). Human Rights and the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico, FDCL (Berlin, 2015).

During his stay at HSC Center Berlin, Aldo did research on the relation between democracy and capitalism. Here is a preprint of this work on “Democracy and economy: traces of an immanent crisis”.

Charles Taylor 150 150 Susann Schmeisser

Charles Taylor

Benjamin Chair, Berlin Center

May – June 2019

Email: cmt1111111@aol.com

Charles Taylor

In June 2019, the Walter Benjamin Lectures took place for the first time at the Humanities and Social Change Center Berlin at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The renowned Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor inaugurated the prominent series. On three consecutive evenings, Taylor gave lectures on “Democracy and its Crises”, covering various forms of democratic deterioration, such as political alienation, increasing inequality, xenophobia and polarization, as well as possible ways out of crisis.

Charles Taylor is one of the most important thinkers of our time. His early work on the embeddedness of cognition in the life world alone represents a paradigm shift in the social sciences. Guided by his novel reading of Hegel, Taylor subsequently embarked on an extraordinary research program: to elucidate and overcome the contradictions of modernity in the light of modernity’s own development, drawing out its limitations and imbalances. This project is laid out in two monumental monographs, one on the history of the self and one on secularization. More recently, Taylor has brought the motif of obscured social grounds to bear on questions of democratic politics and has developed a recognition-theory of tolerance. He has traced progressive trajectories, yet also started to analyze how the disavowal of shared values, imaginaries, and social relations unleashed destructive tendencies.

Zhang Shuangli 1024 683 Susann Schmeisser

Zhang Shuangli

Fellow, Berlin Center

April 2019 – July 2019

Email: shuangli@fudan.edu.cn

Zhang Shuangli

Zhang Shuangli is a Professor of Philosophy from the School of Philosophy, Fudan University, China. She is now the vice dean of the School of Philosophy, Fudan University and the vice director of the Center for Contemporary Marxism, Fudan University.

Her main areas of research are Marxist Philosophy, western Marxism (especially Georg Lukacs and Ernst Bloch), critical theory. She has authored and coauthored several books in these areas. Besides these, she has also published quite a few articles in Chinese or English in the academic journals like Philosophical Investigations (Beijing, China), Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences (English version)(Shanghai, China), Critical Research on Religion (SAGE journals) and etc.

In the recent several years, she has been doing researches about the Marx-Hegel relationship and has published a series of articles on this topic, including the chapter on “Marx and Hegel” in Oxford Companion to Hegel (Oxford University Press, ed. Dean Moyar, 2017).

She has also written some pieces about China, some of which were published in Actuel Marx (France) and Die Zeit (Germany).

Foundations of Solidarity – International Critical Theory Summer School 2021 724 1024 Susann Schmeisser

Foundations of Solidarity – International Critical Theory Summer School 2021

Despite a widespread diagnosis that solidarity is in crisis, appeals to solidarity are ubiquitous today. We encounter them on the level of personal and professional relations but also with regard to institutions and systems of social security and welfare. They gain a dramatic character when human lives are in danger, e.g. when refugees have to cross the Mediterranean in floating death traps or when climate change is devastating the livelihood of whole populations. In all these cases, appeals to solidarity are invoking a ‘we’: We, the family or friends; we, the co-workers or professionals of our branch; we, the members of a national community or a social collective; we, leftists or members of a political movement; we, human beings; …

How can the materialist foundations of actual solidarity be rethought without falling back into tacit assumptions of social homogeneity? Class, gender, race, nation, and even humanity have all lost their status as matters of course. Given the effects of sexism and racism, theories of solidarity have to take into account the complex contradictions of capitalist societies which divide subaltern and exploited groups on the domestic level as well as globally. Appeals to solidarity hence run into an uncertainty concerning the foundations of solidarity. Is solidarity the result of a shared form of life or of collective practices? Does it stem from similar experiences or a common situation? Is it marked by adversity or a common enemy? Or is it the effect of a shared devotion to a common cause?

The summer school involved plenary lectures and discussions, reading sessions, smaller group discussions and panel debates. Only the latter was open to the broader public. We explored classical approaches such as Émile Durkheim’s analysis of the modern division of labour, Karl Marx’s claim the proletariat is a universal class that will found society on new relations of solidarity, and Iris Marion Young’s concept of seriality. Besides such classics, we discussed with leading contemporary theorists of solidarity (several of which will be present as instructors) whether or not current approaches of solidarity open up new perspectives for universalism.

Instructors:

Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
Robin Celikates (Freie Universität Berlin)
Asad Haider (New School for Social Research)
Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Serene Khader (City University of New York)
Frederick Neuhouser (Columbia University)

Organizers: Robin Celikates, Rahel Jaeggi, Susann Schmeißer,
Christian Schmidt (Center for Humanities and Social Change,
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), in cooperation with the
Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and the New School for
Social Research (Alice Crary).

Grant approval by Berlin University Alliance 150 150 Susann Schmeisser

Grant approval by Berlin University Alliance

We are very pleased that the Berlin University Alliance has agreed to support the project “Transforming Solidarities. Practices and Infrastructures in the Migration Society“. In the project Berlin is seen as a “laboratory” of the migration society. In the fields of work, housing and health, researchers investigate the conditions that make solidarity possible, as well as the practices and infrastructures in which it is negotiated.
Our Center is part of the interdisciplinary research consortium with researchers from Berlin Universities (TU/FU/HU/Charité).

Benjamin Lectures with Nancy Fraser – cancelled 724 1024 Susann Schmeisser

Benjamin Lectures with Nancy Fraser – cancelled

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this event is unfortunately cancelled.

Nancy Fraser’s Lectures are postponed to 2022.

That capitalism is “in crisis” has almost become a truism. The financial crisis of the last decade already de-stabilized the trust in the ability of the capitalist social order to deliver on its promises. With climate catastrophe looming and ecological disasters affecting more and more people even in wealthy states, it seems all the more obvious that something is fundamentally wrong with a social order depending on the ruthless exploitation of all available social and natural resources. But how can this crisis be conceptualized and analyzed in a theoretically sound manner? In which ways is the climate crisis a crisis of capitalism?

In the Benjamin-Lectures of 2020, Nancy Fraser, one of the leading and most influential critical theorists of our times, will present an analysis of the current climate crisis that situates it within the broader framework of a social critique of the impending ecological disaster. Starting from the description of capitalism’s specific understanding of nature and the struggles over resources which the capitalist economy continually exhausts, Fraser develops solutions to global ecological problems based on a new vision of society.

June 17th: Capitalism’s ecological contradiction
(Commentary: Andreas Malm, Lund University)

June 18th: Struggles over Nature
(Commentary: Barbara Muraca, Oregon State University)

June 19th: Degrowth, Green New Deal or Ecosocialism
(Commentary: Stephan Lessenich, Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, München)

No registration prior to the lectures is necessary. There is no entrance fee. The lectures will be held in English.

The Benjamin-Lectures are named after the Berlin-born philosopher Walter Benjamin and dedicated to his intellectual integrity and political commitment in the face of historical catastrophe. Each year, inspired by the Amsterdam Spinoza-lectures as well as the “Adorno-Vorlesungen” in Frankfurt, the Benjamin-Lectures will bring one leading critical theorist to Berlin. His or her public lectures will allow for a broad audience to partake in the latest debates on social and political issues of core concern. Prior to the lectures, the invited speaker will hold the Walter-Benjamin-Chair at the HSC Center Berlin and spend up to three months in close cooperation with the HSC academic community.

In 2019, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor inaugurated the series. In a sequence of three evening lectures, Taylor addressed “Democracy and its Crises”, covering various forms of democratic deterioration, such as political alienation, increasing inequality, xenophobia and polarization, as well as possible ways out of crisis. You can watch the videos of his lectures.

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Ulf Bohmann

Fellow, Berlin Center

March-September 2019

Email: ulf.bohmann@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de

Ulf Bohmann

Ulf Bohmann is a post-doc researcher at the Chemnitz University of Technology. He studied Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy and Social Psychology at the University of Augsburg and the Fernuniversität Hagen until 2007. He received his PhD at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in 2013 with a thesis on the notion of a critical genealogy in the work of Michel Foucault and Charles Taylor, under the supervision of Hartmut Rosa and Martin Saar. Until 2016, he was a post-doc researcher in the project “Desynchronised Society?” in Jena, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In 2017, he acted as a stand-in full professor in Chemnitz. In 2018, he was a fellow at the Degrowth Research Group in Jena. Latest publications: Special Issue: Tribute to Charles Taylor, Philosophy & Social Criticism 44(7), 2018 (with Gesche Keding and Hartmut Rosa); Desynchronisation und Populismus. Ein zeitsoziologischer Versuch über die Demokratiekrise am Beispiel der Finanzmarktregulierung, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 70 (Sonderheft 58), 2018 (with Henning Laux and Hartmut Rosa); Kritische Theorie der Politik, Suhrkamp 2019 (edited with Paul Sörensen, in print).

 

Project description:

At the Center of Humanities and Social Change, I’m working on a comparative reassessment of legitimation crisis theories. The motivation to do so is to be more specific than the widespread but undifferentiated talk of a contemporary crisis of democracy. I’m assembling five pertinent approaches to the motif of a legitimation crisis, namely Jürgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, Wolfgang Streeck, Charles Taylor and Hauke Brunkhorst. The goal is to develop respective profiles with strengths and weaknesses in order to have a sound theoretical toolkit. Furthermore, I’m examining in which way and to which degree the diagnoses of a legitimation crisis are valid for our present society. Finally, I will enquire if an integrative approach is possible and convincing.

Frank Schumann 1024 1024 Susann Schmeisser

Frank Schumann

Fellow, Berlin Center

March-September 2019

Email: frank.schumann@ipu-berlin.de

Frank Schumann

Frank Schumann is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the social psychology department of the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin (IPU Berlin). His research interests revolve around the questions of how social reality is perceived subjectively and how this experience shapes social and political practices. To answer these, Schumann draws from psychoanalysis, social psychology, critical theory, sociology of critique, theories of social practices and sociology of knowledge.

In 2017, he finished his dissertation on the concept of social suffering in the history of the Frankfurt School which was published as Leiden und Gesellschaft [Suffering and Society] (Bielefeld 2018). He currently is working on a project that aims at reconstructing how sympathizers of social movements articulate and justify their political critique, and which notions of a social order are thus implied.

Christian Schmidt 1024 682 Susann Schmeisser

Christian Schmidt

Fellow, Berlin Center

April 2019 – February 2020

Email: schmidtch@uni-leipzig.de

Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt is a philosopher. After receiving his PhD in 2005 he worked as team leader at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig, and as Dilthey Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation in the Philosophy Department at University Leipzig. He held positions as temporary chair for social philosophy at Goethe-University Frankfurt and for practical philosophy at University Leipzig. Research stays led him to University Paris 1 Sorbonne-Pantheon and the Centre Marc Bloch Berlin. He received the habilitation in 2016 with a thesis on Problems of Autonomy (unpublished). The Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities appointed him as a member of the academy’s Young Forum in 2018. Major publications are: Karl Marx zur Einführung (Junius 2018), Können wir der Geschichte entkommen? (Campus 2013) and Individualität und Eigentum (Campus 2006).