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 will involve plenary lectures and discussions, reading sessions, smaller group discussions and panel debates. Only the latter will be open to the broader public. We will explore 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 will discuss 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.
To apply for participation, graduate students and junior scholars are invited to submit a precis of their take on core issues in the debate on solidarity and a CV (each document 1 page max.). The precis should show which particular background knowledge and systematic positions the applicants would contribute to our joint discussions.
Deadline for applications: March 1st, 2020, by e-mail to: CTsummerschool@hu-berlin.de
There is a fee of 300,-€ for the Summer School and participants have to fund their own travel, accommodation and catering. In exceptional cases, participants can be exempted from the fee. Students from Berlin Universities do not have to pay the participation fee. Please check our FAQs for further information.
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)
Regina Kreide (Universität Gießen)
Andreas Malm (Lund University)
Frederick Neuhouser (Columbia University)
Lea-Riccarda Prix (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Christian Schmidt (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Lea Ypi (London School of Economics and Political Science)
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
You can also download the Call for Applications.
The Call for Participation is targeted at PhD students and Junior Scholars. Can I apply as a MA-Student or as a Post-doc?
Yes, as an MA student or as a more senior post-doc you may apply as well. But please note that we prioritise applications from PhD students and early post-docs in the selection process.
May I submit my application in German?
No, please submit your precis and your C.V. only in English.
May I submit a chapter of my book or my dissertation?
No. Please send us a precis of max. 1 page, describing you take on core issues in the debate on solidarity and a CV (each document 1 page max.). The precis should show which particular background knowledge and systematic positions the applicants would contribute to our joint discussions. It should also have a meaningful title.
When will I be informed if my application was successful?
We process the applications as quickly as possible and will get back to you by the end of March.
How do you select the participants? What are the criteria?
Besides looking for the most interesting and fitting approaches to the summer school’s central questions, we try to achieve a certain geographical and topical balance, and we give precedence to applications from PhD students and early post-docs over more junior and senior ones. Amongst applications ranked equally, we prefer those scholars which have not attended the Critical Theory Summer School the year before, since it seems fair to give the chance to participate to as many individuals as possible.
Even though we try to make the selection process as transparent as possible, it may happen that the mentioned criteria apply to you but you are not admitted to the Summer School. This is due to the fact that we usually receive a lot more applications than we can accept.
What does it cost to participate in the Summer School?
The participation fee is 300€. Please note that students from Berlin Universities do not have to pay the participation fee. Additionally, participants have to fund their own travel, accommodation and catering. In exceptional cases, participants can be exempted from the fee.
What if I cannot afford the fee?
Please be sure to check funding options offered by your institution, or other organisations such as the DAAD (https://www.daad.de/en/). If you are unable to acquire funding, please let us know after your application has been successful.
Is it possible to get an official certificate of participation? I need one in order to get funding for the Summer School from my university.
Yes, of course. Please send us an email: email@example.com
Do I need a Visa to enter Germany? How do I get a Visa?
You can find out here if you need a Visa and what the requirements are. Please find out as soon as possible and let us know right away if you need an official invitation oder confirmation of participation in order to get your Visa.
Can you assist me with the Visa application?
If you need an official invitation in order to get a Visa, please contact us.
Do you offer accomodation for participants? Can you help me find accomodation in Berlin?
No, unfortunately we do not have the capacity to offer assistance with that. Please try and consult the usual online search engines to find accommodation.
When will the reading for the Summer School be made availbale?
The literature will be made available by end of May.
Does the program extend to the evenings?
There will be one public evening panel. On the other days, the program is limited to mornings and afternoons, finishing not later than 7 p.m.
Are there any social events planned?
On some evenings, there will be a reservation at a restaurant and the possibility to eat there together with the other participants and instructors, but at one’s own expense.
Can I participate in only a few sessions, or for half the week?
In order to enable fruitful discussions, we kindly request participants to attend all sessions.
Are any of the Sessions public?
Yes, there will be one public evening panel. More information on that will follow.
Will there be recordings of the sessions?
Where can I find information on the past Summer Schools?
You can find CfPs, programmes, and summaries of the final discussions of each Summer School in our archive.