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From 25-27 May 2018 the international conference “Emancipation” took place in Berlin. It was organized by Humboldt University Berlin, Center for Humanities & Social Change at HU Berlin, Technical University Berlin and medico international e.V. Leading international scientiests and intellectuals discussed practices and theories of emancipation in three plenary sessions and twelve colloquia.

Emancipation points beyond all particular interests. It salvages a claim to universal liberation from domination, a claim to freedom, equality and mutual recognition. The notion of emancipation thus forms a nodal point of debates in both social philosophy and in politics. The conference combined these debates so that they could enlighten each other, as well as the social contexts within which struggles for emancipation unfold.

Speakers were: Seyla Benhabib, Wendy Brown, Didier Eribon, Nancy Fraser, Sally Haslanger, Christoph Menke, Charles W. Mills, Chantal Mouffe, Milo Rau, Hartmut Rosa, Gesine Schwan and many others.

In the next weeks you can find a documenation of the material which were produced during the conference here!

The conference took place at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (25 May) and Technical University Berlin (26/27 May).

Conception: Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Center for Humanities & Social Change Berlin), Kristina Lepold (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main), Thomas Seibert (medico international e.V.)

Responsibility: Sabine Hark (Technische Universität Berlin), Rahel Jaeggi, Kristina Lepold, Thomas Seibert

Organization HU/TU Berlin:  Carolin Botos, Hildegard Hantel, Sabine Hark,
Rahel Jaeggi, Kristina Lepold, Jakob Mirwald, Lea Prix, Bastian Ronge

Organization medico international e.V.: Marek Arlt, Marcus Balzereit, Timo Dorsch, Anke Prochnau, Andrea Schuldt, Thomas Seibert

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Center for Humanities & Social Change Berlin, medico international e.V., Humboldt-Universitäts-Gesellschaft (HUG) and Suhrkamp Verlag





Download Program here!

25 May 2018 (HKW)

5–8 pm Opening:
Greeting by Sabine Kunst, President of Humboldt University Berlin, and Angela Ittel, Vice-President of Technical University Berlin
Welcome Address by the Organizers
Panel: “What is Emancipation?” (with Seyla Benhabib, Wendy Brown, Didier Eribon, Rahel Jaeggi, Christoph Menke, chaired by: Daniel Loick)

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)

26 May 2018 (TU Berlin)

9.30–11.30 am Colloquia:
“Teaching Autonomy” (with Sabine Andresen, Micha Brumlik, Christiane Thompson (participation cancelled), Markus Rieger-Ladich, convened by: Micha Brumlik) – H0107

Language: German

“Politics of Forms of Life” (with Ann Cvetkovich, Katja Diefenbach, Daniel Loick, convened by: Daniel Loick) – H1028

Language: English

“Liberation and Gender” (with Morvarid Dehnavi, Aline Oloff, Christina Thürmer-Rohr, convened by: Sabine Hark) – H0110

Language: German

Medico-Colloquium: “Emancipation from the Catastrophe” (with Abu Brima (prevented due to refused visa), Omar Sharaf , Vera Malaguti, Hadi Marifat (prevented due to refused visa), convened by: Thomas Seibert) – H0104

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)

1–3 pm Panel: “Emancipatory Knowledge” (with Sally Haslanger, Charles W. Mills, Martin Saar, Jason Stanley, chaired by: Kristina Lepold) – H0105

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)

3.30–5.30 pm Colloquia:
“Alienation & Ideology” (with Lorna Finlayson, Karen Ng, Hartmut Rosa, convened by: Robin Celikates & Paul Sörensen) – H0110

Language: English

“Revolution” (with Wendy Brown, Hauke Brunkhorst, Christoph Menke, convened by: Eva von Redecker) – H1028

Language: English

“Creativity” (with Gertrud Koch, Ludger Schwarte, Ruth Sonderegger, convened by: Bastian Ronge) – H0107

Language: German



7 pm

Medico-Colloquium: “Solidarity in the Catastrophe” (with Stephan Lessenich, Achille Mbembe (participation cancelled), Gesine Schwan, convened by: Ramona Lenz) – H0104

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)


Gala organized by medico international e.V. at Urania Berlin on the occasion of medico’s 50th anniversary (10 €, reduced price 5 €, registration: berlin/)

27 May 2018 (TU Berlin)

10–12 am Colloquia:
  “Power & Domination” (with Didier Eribon, Nancy Fraser, Isabell Lorey, Shelley Tremain, convened by: Kristina Lepold & Martin Saar) – H1028

Language: English

  “Solidarity” (with Dan Brudney (participation cancelled), Rahel Jaeggi, Fred Neuhouser, Thomas Seibert, convened by: Steffen Herrmann) – H0107

Language: English

  “Hope & Utopia” (with Sylwia D. Chrostowska, James Ingram, Arno Münster, convened by: James Ingram & Arnd Pollmann) – H0110

Language: English

  Medico-Colloquium: “The Public Sphere as a global res publica” (with Eva Bertschy & Milo Rau, Christin Lüttich, Harald Welzer, convened by: Katja Maurer) – H0104

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)

1.30–4 pm Panel: “Emancipatory Movements and Social Struggles” (with Alex Demirovic, Nancy Fraser, Sabine Hark, Regina Kreide, Chantal Mouffe, chaired by: Robin Celikates) – H0105

Languages: German and English (with simultaneous translation)


26/27 May: Room Numbers (TU Berlin)

PANELS (Saturday/Sunday): H0105 (Audimax)


  1. Section: Saturday 26.5. (9.30-11.30 am )
  • “Teaching Autonomy” – H0107
  • “Politics of Forms of Life” – H1028
  • “Liberation and Gender” – H0110
  • “Emancipation from the Catastrophe” (Medico) – H0104
  1. Section: Saturday 26.5. (15.30-17.30 pm)
  • “Alienation & Ideology” – H0110
  • “Revolution” – H1028
  • “Creativity” – H0107
  • “Solidarity in the Catastrophe” (Medico) – H0104
  1. Section: Sunday 27.5. (10-12 am)
  • “Power & Domination” – H1028
  • “Solidarity” – H0107
  • “Hope & Utopia” – H0110
  • “Globale res publica” (Medico) – H0104

The following “backround literature” could be read in preparation for the conference:

  • Benhabib, Seyla, Situating the Self. Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics, Cambridge 1992.
  • Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York, NY [a.o.] 1990.
  • Davis, Angela, Women, Race, Class, New York 1981.
  • Foucault, Michel, “Was ist Aufklärung?”, in: id., Schriften in vier Bänden. Dits et Ecrits. Band IV.1980-1988, Frankfurt a. M. 2005.
  • Fraser, Nancy, Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis, London [a.o.] 2013.
  • Fricker, Miranda, Epistemic Injustice. Power and the Ethics of Knowing, Oxford [a.o.] 2007.
  • Habermas, Jürgen, Erkenntnis und Interesse, Frankfurt a. M. 1973 [1968].
  • Haslanger, Sally, Resisting Reality. Social Construction and Social Critique, Oxford 2012.
  • Honneth, Axel, “Is there an emancipatory interest? An attempt to answer critical theory’s most fundamental question”, in: European Journal of Philosophy, Volume 25, Issue 4, December 2017, pp. 908-920.
  • Horkheimer, Max, “Traditionelle und kritische Theorie”, in: id., Traditionelle und kritische Theorie. Fünf Aufsätze, Frankfurt a. M. 2011 [1937].
  • Kant, Immanuel, “Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?”, in: E. Bahr (Ed.), Was ist Aufklärung?, Stuttgart 1996 [1783].
  • Koselleck, Reinhart, “Grenzverschiebungen der Emanzipation. Eine begriffsgeschichtliche Skizze”, in: id., Begriffsgeschichten, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, pp.182-202.
  • Krahl, Hans-Jürgen, “Konstitution und Klassenkampf: zur historischen Dialektik von bürgerlicher Emanzipation und proletarischer Revolution; Schriften, Reden und Entwürfe aus den Jahren 1966-1970”, Frankfurt am Main 1971.
  • Laclau, Ernesto, Emancipation(s), London and New York 1996.
  • Laclau, Ernesto/Mouffe, Chantal, Hegemonie und radikale Demokratie, Wien 1991.
  • Marx, Karl, “Zur Judenfrage”, in: Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe I/2, pp. 141–163.
  • Mills, Charles W., The Racial Contract, Ithaca [a.o.] 1997.
  • Rancière, Jacques, Der unwissende Lehrmeister. Fünf Lektionen über die intellektuelle Emanzipation, Wien 2007 [1940].
  • Rancière, Jaques, Der emanzipierte Zuschauer, Wien 2009.
  • Saar, Martin, Genealogie als Kritik, Frankfurt a. M. 2007.
  • Shelby, Tommie, We Who Are Dark. The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity, Cambridge, MA [a.o.] 2005.
  • Stanley, Jason, How Propaganda Works, Princeton 2015.