(c) by Marilyn Manser
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I am happy to receive invitations to a whole series of discussion events in the winter semester! The topics are important issues that are being debated a lot right now and on which I have done research: Identity politics, freedom of expression and art, digital structural change of the public sphere, and net feminism. These will be exciting discussions with colleagues and experts from the fields of culture and journalism - and they are sure to be controversial. **Everything is online or hybrid!

Diskriminierung und Abwertung – Über die Grenzen der Freiheit von Debatte und Kunst. Ein Streitgespräch

Mi, 8.12.2021, 18h, DGB-Bildungswerk Thüringen e.V.

The debate about what can be said and done in public, or at what point the freedom of art must be curtailed because it is offensive to certain groups - these questions are discussed and negotiated with each other in various contexts. Is there a justification, a necessity, or an obligation to cancel certain events because of the threat of discriminatory content, or even to disinvite some speakers and artists? And whose voices should or must be relevant in determining whether something is already encroachingly racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, or inhumane?

We want to discuss this area of tension in a debate with Regula Venske and Karsten Schubert. Regula Venske, freelance writer, Dr. phil., was president of PEN until October 2021 and has, among other things, represented the position of a far-reaching freedom of art in the debate about the artist Lisa Eckart. Dr. Karsten Schubert is executive assistant and research associate at the Chair of Political Philosophy, Theory and History of Ideas at the University of Freiburg and argues that the cancellation of discriminatory events should not be seen as curtailing freedom of expression, but rather as strengthening and expanding democracy.

We look forward to a lively digital exchange on Dec. 8, 2021 at 6 p.m. at: https://bbb.dgb-bwt.de/b/ann-bnx-vgp-0xf We will open the room 15 minutes before the event starts.

Utopie einer geschlechtergerechten Welt im digitalen Raum

Mo, 13.12.2021, 18h30, Gleichstellungsrat FB01 der Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Vortragsreihe “Digitale Gewalt”

Francesca Schmidt und Dr. phil. Karsten Schubert   Francesca Schmidt is a board member and founding member of netzforma* e.V. - Verein für feministische Netzpolitik. As part of her voluntary work at the event, she will highlight topics such as digital violence, surveillance and control, algorithms, and artificial intelligences and their socio-normative implications against the backdrop of the desire for a gender-equitable digital world.   Dr. phil. Karsten Schubert is a research associate at the Seminar for Scientific Politics, Chair of Political Theory, Philosophy and History of Ideas at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Based on his current research on the significance of identity politics in democratic theory, Karsten Schubert will argue in the lecture that digital identity politics is crucial for the democratization of democracy. He will show what significance Consciousness Raising in the digital space has for the identity-political development of a socio-critical attitude today.

Diskussion - Politik und Identität: Teilt uns, was uns eint?

Di, 14.12.2021, 19h30, Goethe Institut Lyon

On the debate about “identity politics” from a Franco-German perspective With Ferda Ataman, journalist and author, Paula Irene Villa, sociologist, University of Munich, and Karsten Schubert, Institute for Political Theory and Philosophy, University of Freiburg, moderated by Patrick Farges, Université de Paris Diderot.

The term “identity politics” is currently heating up German society and politics like no other. While minority movements are increasingly self-confident in demanding their rights and thus striving for more visibility in the discourse of society as a whole, this is increasingly perceived by some as an imposition and a ban on speech. Opponents of identity politics accuse it of promoting social division and censorship by focusing on identity differences. Issues of identity politics are particularly polarizing when it comes to topics such as gender equality and racism: How much equality can our society tolerate?

The Goethe-Institut Lyon is dedicating a discussion evening to this complex debate in Germany from a Franco-German perspective. Questions about social participation will be discussed and the main features of the debate will be made clear.

In cooperation with the DAAD and CIERA hors les murs.


Gastvortrag zu Democracy and Standpoint Theories

Mi, 15.12.2021, 10h15, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Seminar “Freedom of Speech, Public Protest, and ‘Cancel Culture’” von Ben Trott

Seminar discription: In recent years, a growing number of scholars, writers, journalists, commentators and others have come critique the emergence of a (real or imagined) ‘cancel culture’, where freedom of speech is said to be increasingly threatened by the rise in censorious attitudes and actions – particularly around ‘culture war’ issues and questions of so-called ‘identity politics’. This seminar begins with a critical reading of some of the most prominent examples of these critiques, carried in major publications. The primary goal of this seminar is not, however, a direct engagement with these most recent debates around ‘free speech’, ‘hate speech’ and ‘censoriousness’. Instead, we will take two steps back, making use of scholarly and intellectual resources from the past in order to try and make better sense of the current conjuncture. In a first step, we will critically explore some defences of freedom of belief, thought, and speech that now constitute part of the ‘canon’ of political philosophy, including: John Locke’s ‘A Letter Concerning Toleration’, Benedict de Spinoza’s ‘Theological-Political Treatise’, Alexis de Touquville on the ‘tyranny of the majority’ and John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’, as well as Karl Marx’s early writing for the ‘Rheinische Zeitung’ on the freedom of the press and Michel Foucault’s engagement, in his later works, with the notion and practice of “parrhesia” (or free, frank and fearless speech) in ancient Greece. In a second step, we will then interrogate a much more recent body of scholarship, largely produced in the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Much of this work has explicitly built on, supplemented or critiqued these earlier canonical writings – including from feminist, queer, and post-colonial perspectives, and from the perspective of critical race scholarship. This will involve exploring, for instance, debates within feminist theory around pornography and censorship. It will mean looking at the ways in which Speech Act Theory has been engaged as a means of understanding the nature and consequences of racist speech, including in terms of the contested distinctions between speech and conduct. The seminar will explore the history of censorship of gay, lesbian and queer art; and the way that this has been resisted, responded to, and represented by artists themselves. It will look at how post-colonial scholarship has explored the relationship between secularism, liberalism, and free speech. And it will engage with recent work within Transgender Studies which has asked why some forms of public protest have come to be understood as censorious, rather than as speech acts in their own right.

Cancel Culture – Gefahr für die Meinungsfreiheit oder legitimer Protest?

Do, 27.01.2022, 19h, Xplanatorium Herrenhausen, Herrenhäuser Gespräch, NDR Kultur und Volkswagen Stiftung

Students boycott lectures by AfD founder Bernd Lucke at the University of Hamburg. The organizers of the Harbour Front Literature Festival disinvite cabaret artist Lisa Eckhart because parts of a stage program in which she appears as an art figure are suspected of anti-Semitism. The German Research Foundation temporarily removes a video spot by cabaret artist Dieter Nuhr for its #fürdasWissen campaign after a shitstorm rises against Nuhr. And when music critic Helmut Mauró takes offense at the political commitment of pianist Igor Levit, raging Twitter users say that Mauró is not entitled to have an opinion on the matter.

But it is not only individuals who are threatened with social exclusion: works of art, films, and musical productions that are perceived as derogatory or inappropriate are also caught in the public crossfire. In all these cases, there is quickly talk of “cancel culture.”

But what is behind this term? Is it a perfidious fighting tool of conservative social groups who want to keep engagement against discrimination at bay? Or are we actually dealing with a new form of censorship that threatens fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, art and science? Is the basic democratic ability to respect even the unloved view gradually being lost? And how do we shape a culture of exchange in respect, at eye level - and yet in all openness?


Svenja Flaßpöhler Journalistin und Autorin

Prof. Dr. Armin Nassehi Institut für Soziologie, Universität München

Dr. Karsten Schubert Seminar für wissenschaftliche Politik, Universität Freiburg

Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter Institut für Ethnologie, Universität Frankfurt am Main

Moderation: Dr. Ulrich Kühn, NDR Kultur

Sendetermin: N.N.

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