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New book by Eva von Redecker 500 300 Nina Rismal

New book by Eva von Redecker

New book by Eva von Redecker

In August 2018, Eva von Redecker, the deputy director of the Berlin Center, published her new book entitled Praxis und Revolution: Eine Sozialtheorie radikalen Wandels. The book provides a philosophical study of the relation between practices of the everyday and large-scale political and social transformation. Under what conditions can interstitial changes assume revolutionary proportions? And which forces blocks their proliferation? Drawing on several literary case-studies, von Redecker promotes a revised concept of revolution as processual and metaleptic. In her social theory, subject and object of revolution blend into each other, as both are construed in the same register: as praxis.

The German edition of the book can be ordered at Campus Verlag or Amazon. An English translation of the book is under preparation.

Report – Summer Institute in Venice 500 300 Nina Rismal

Report – Summer Institute in Venice

Report: Summer Institute in Venice

Fact And Value In Public Life: Plural Cultures, Media, and the Academy Today

Venice, June 25th-29th, 2018

A first joined event of the four Centers for Humanities and Social Change took place in Venice from 25 to 29 June 2018, co-organised by the Venice and Santa-Barbara HSC Centers. In addition to scholars from these Centers, the Summer Institute was attended also by the representatives of the other two Centers based in Berlin and Cambridge, as well as of the Foundation, and by distinguished invited academics and journalists.

In the 5-day long series of seminars, discussions and accompanying cultural events, the members of respective Centers got the chance to closely familiarise themselves with each other’s academic work, to learn about distinct activities pursued by the Centers, and to establish firmer connections among them and with the Foundation.

The thematic focus of the event concerned the status of academy and media in today’s “post-truth” world, in which the value of both truth and facts seems to be disintegrating. The fellows from Santa Barbara approached this topic through close readings of an influential lecture, delivered 100 years ago by the German sociologist Max Weber, on the role of academy and science. In this lecture, Weber deliberated the value of scientific activities in the lieu of competing worldviews, diverse sets of cultural and religious beliefs and opposing political convictions. This pluralism in turn presented the backbone of much research pursued by the Venice scholars, as for example the work done by Luigi D’Amelia, a post-doctoral fellow at the Venice Center, on the topic of religious prejudice in the Middle Ages. The Venice scholars, however, approached the event’s theme also through other than primarily historical methodologies, including theoretical and field-work based. Another post-doctoral fellow from Venice, Marco Marrone, presented his research on new forms of worker exploitation and corresponding unionising and organising practices that are emerging in the growing business of outsourced food delivery.

The afternoons were assigned to talks given by the external scholars. Ananya Vajpeyi from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi informed the participants about the current critical situation of the Indian public university system, over which the ruling Hindu nationalism is gaining increasing influence. Two other guest speakers, Stephen Russ-Mohl from the University in Lugano and Venice-based data scientist Walter Quattrociocchi, contributed to the Summer Institute’s theme through their examinations of the institutions of media and journalism. The two conjointly stressed the causal link between, on the one hand, the decline of traditional journalism, and on the other hand, the spread of disinformation, false facts and fake news. Quattrociocchi further argued that contrary to the common conviction, debunking is not an effective strategy to combat such wrong information, while Russ-Mohl called for increasing public visibility of scientists as one possible remedy of this trend.

Caroline Levine, a literary scholar from Cornell University, held one of the final lectures, engaging specifically with the value of humanities in today’s academic research. Tackling one of the key question that lie at the core of Humanities and Social Change Foundation’s mission, namely the relation between humanities and social change, Levine introduced her own idea of how humanistic scholarship could not only study but also affirm social worlds that are more desirable than our own.

The event was concluded by Georg Diez, a journalist for the Spiegel, whose new book Das andere Land: Wie unsere Demokratie beschädigt wurde und was wir tun können, um sie zu reparieren, was just published by Random House publishing house.

Photos © Sabine Vielmo

Berlin center director Rahel Jaeggi talks about Marx on swiss tv 500 300 domonda

Berlin center director Rahel Jaeggi talks about Marx on swiss tv

Rahel Jaeggi, director of the Humanities & Social Change Center in Berlin, was interviewed about Karl Marx and the crisis of capitalism at “Sternstunde der Philosophie (english “A magic moment in philosophy”)”. The one-hour bilateral talk was broadcasted on May 6, 2018 on the Swiss public TV channel SRF .

Please find here the link to the whole interview in German language.

Rahel Jaeggi: Marx und die Krise des Kapitalismus

Erck Rickmers and Rahel Jaeggi
HSC Founds a Research Center on Social Change at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 500 300 domonda

HSC Founds a Research Center on Social Change at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Center for Humanities and Social Change will be directed by Prof. Dr. Rahel Jaeggi.

On February 27th, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) announces the founding of the Center for Humanities and Social Change. Under the direction of the Humboldt Professor Rahel Jaeggi (Philosophy), the center will examine the crises of democracy and capitalism from a contemporary perspective and in philosophical and basic theoretical terms. The new research center is the product of an initiative of the Hamburg businessman Erck Rickmers and is financed by the Humanities & Social Change International Foundation that he founded. The Foundation has already started other centers at the University of Cambridge, the University of California and the Universitá da Venezia Ca`Foscari. These centers will be connected with one another.

Erck Rickmers and Rahel Jaeggi

Social change is both the object and the aim of the Center’s work. The Center for Humanities and Social Change at the HU pursues a broadly conceived research perspective, drawing on the specific resources of the humanities and social philosophy. Democracy is not understood here purely as a form of government and capitalism is not understood simply as an economic formation. Rather, as networks of social institutions and practices, both are grasped as socio-cultural forms of life. The investigations take crisis-ridden, negative dynamics as their point of departure and thereby look at phenomena like contradictions, evidence of erosion, social pathologies, anomalies, and tensions – within, but also between the economic and political spheres of modern societies. The Center’s work is meant to contribute to the analysis of social processes of transformation and to pose questions on the basis of this analysis, in order to support emancipatory change.

“‘Critical Theory is the theoretical side of the practical process of emancipation.’ This is how Max Horkheimer formulated it in 1937. To this end, one has to analyze the crises of the present day and monitor the tensions tied to the social conflicts of our time, but also the emancipatory hopes they contain. The Center is meant to open a space for debate, in which different perspectives, interpretations, approaches, and proposals meet.” Rahel Jaeggi, Founding Director of the Center for Humanities and Social Change at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

“That this center is coming into being thanks to the generous support of Erck Rickmers is very much to be welcomed. The institute gives us an additional opportunity for better understanding social change and being able to shape it.”

Sabine Kunst, President of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

“I perceive the world as being in a state of crisis: ecologically, economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. Under the leitmotiv “Understand – Inspire – Change”, the Foundation is meant to analyze the fundamental causes of the social challenges of the 21st century, to inspire new solutions, and thereby to help shape social change in a positive way.” Erck Rickmers, Founder of the Humanities & Social Change International Foundation.