International Summer School Critical Theory 2023. Radical Social Transformation

July 3-7, 2023


Summer School
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Classical Critical Theory was characterized by a dichotomy. On the one hand, only fundamental change could overcome the wrongs of existing society. Yet, on the other hand, the social revolution predicted by Marxist thinkers failed to materialize. In our time, multiple crises again intensify the need for social transformation; but in many fields, capitalist societies seem far too slow in their ability to change, despite their inherent dynamic. Against this background, the summer school will explore the drivers of and obstacles to radical social transformation today with a focus on the role of social activism and the material preconditions of change.

The summer school will involve plenary lectures and discussions, reading sessions, small group discussions and panel debates. Only the panel debates will be open to the broader public. We will explore classical approaches, such as Karl Marx’s and Walter Benjamin’s conception of historical change and Herbert Marcuse’s analysis of new revolutionary subjects while also engaging with the work of leading contemporary theorists: Sally Haslanger, Verónica Gago, Gianfranco Casuso and Alex Demirović will participate and discuss their work. On the occasion of Marcuse’s 125th birthday, the public round table with Gago, Demirović, Eva von Redecker, and Rahel Jaeggi on Wednesday evening (July 5th, 2023) will be dedicated to actualizing his quest for alternative revolutionary subjectivities.

Organizers: Rahel Jaeggi, Robin Celikates, Christian Schmidt, Zveta Pauly (Centre for Social Critique Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Alice Crary (The New School for Social Research)

Sally Haslanger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Verónica Gago (University of Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de San Martín)

Alex Demirović (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Gianfranco Casuso (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)


Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Robin Celikates (Freie Universität Berlin)

Christian Schmidt (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

How do I submit my application?

Please send your application via the form below and upload your C.V. and précis. The general deadline for applications is the 12th of March 2023. Only students at the Berlin Universities may apply until the 17th of April 2023.


Why is there an extra deadline for students at the Berlin Universities?

Students at the Berlin Universities can receive credit for participating. The later deadline for these students allows them to apply when their general course-choices for the summer is due. Therefore, those applicants who study at a University in Berlin may submit their application until the 17th of April.


The Call for Participation is targeted at PhD students and junior scholars. Can I apply as an M.A. student or as a Post-doc?

Yes, as an M.A. student or as a more senior scholar you may apply as well.


May I submit my application in German?

No, please submit your précis and your C.V. in English.


May I submit a chapter of my book or my dissertation?

No. Please send us only a précis of max. 1 page, describing your take on core concerns on radical social transformation. The précis should show which particular background knowledge and systematic positions you would contribute to our joint discussions. Please make sure the title of your précis summarizes its content.


When will I be informed if my application was successful?

We process the applications as quickly as possible and will get back to you in the beginning of April. Students at the Berlin Universities, who may submit their applications till the 17th of April, will hear from us at the start of the semester.


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 who did not attend the Critical Theory Summer School the year before, since it seems fair to give the chance to participate to as many individuals as possible.


Please note that even though we try to make the selection process as transparent as possible, it may happen that although the mentioned criteria apply to you, you are not admitted to the Summer School. This is due to the fact that we receive a lot more applications than we can accept.


Are there any participation fees for the Summer School?



Is there a possibility to get funding for my participation in the Summer School?

Please note that there is no funding available for this year’s summer school. Unfortunately, we are therefore not able to provide any travel funds for international students, but recommend to get in touch with your home institutions about possible financial support for attending the summer school.


Is it possible to get an official certificate of participation? I need one in order to get funding from my university.

Yes, of course. Please send us an e-mail at


Do I need a visa to enter Germany? How do I get a visa?

You can find out at the foreign office ( 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 or confirmation of participation in order to get your visa.


Do you offer accommodation for participants? Can you help me find accommodation in Berlin?

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to help with that. For free rooms, you may check and contact the Humboldt guesthouse. Generally, please consult the usual online search engines for accommodation.


When will the reading for the Summer School be available?

The literature will be available by the end of May.


Does the program extend to the evenings?

The program is limited to mornings and afternoons, finishing no later than 7 p.m.. However, there will be a public round table on the evening of July 5th.


When will the Summer School start?

The first meeting will be on the evening of the 2nd of July.


Can I participate in only a few sessions, or for half of the week?

In order to enable fruitful discussions, we kindly request participants to attend all sessions.


Are any of the sessions public?

Yes, the evening panel (July 5th) is public.


Will there be recordings of the sessions?



Where can I find information on past Summer Schools?

You can find CfPs, programmes, and summaries of the final discussions of each Summer School in our archive (


If you have any further question:

Do not hesitate to contact us ( We will reply as soon as possible. Please note that submitting applications is only possible via the form provided below.  

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The application for all non-Berlin participants has been closed.



International Summer School Critical Theory 2023. Radical Social Transformation