Research Areas

  1. Contemporary critical political theory, especially French thought, Critical Theory and political liberalism; theories of democracy
  2. Michel Foucault, especially his political philosophy
  3. Global and critical philosophy of law, human rights, global democratisation
  4. Contemporary socio-critical ethics, especially feminist, queer and intersectionality theory, as well as postcolonial and anti-racist criticism


Dr. Karsten Schubert

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I am an Assistant Professor (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/geschäftsführender Assistent) at the Political Science Department, Section for Political Theory at the University of Freiburg.

I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Leipzig in May 2017. My dissertation, “Freedom as Critique. The Social-Philosophical Debate About Freedom in Foucault’s Works”, was supervised by Ulrich Johannes Schneider and Markus Gabriel, and published with transcript in 2018. Prior to that, I held appointments as Visiting Scholar at the Philosophy Department of The New School for Social Research (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015) and Cardozo Law School (Fall 2013) in New York. I taught as a Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the Institute of Political Science, Political Theory Section at the University of Duisburg-Essen (2015-2017). Upon finishing the Ph.D., I conducted research as Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) at the University of Bremen (2017-2018).

My primary field of interest and research is political theory and social philosophy, especially in the tradition of post-structuralism and critical theory. My dissertation critically examines the social philosophical debate about freedom, power and subjectification in Foucault’s work. More specifically, I developed and discussed a new approach to the problem of freedom in Foucault: Freedom as the capability to critical reflection is instantiated through regimes of subjectification which are dependent on political institutions. My teaching and research covers theories of (radical) democracy, liberalism and republicanism, Marxism, and systems theory, among others.

My second field of interest is global legal theory, especially human rights philosophy, education, politics and law, as well as question of migration, asylum, democratic membership. I gained working experience in these fields at UNESCO and the United Nations Association of Germany, among others. I organize Lectures Series on Critical Legal Theory “The Dissolution of the Liberal Consensus” at the University of Freiburg. My third field of interest is diversity politics, especially gender and queer theory and politics, as well as anti-racism. I served as a facilitator for queer education events in Berlin schools with ABqueer e.V. and conducted workshops for queer activists about national and international legal frameworks. My most recent article “The Democratic Biopolitics of PrEP” discusses PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV), bringing together research on biopolitics and gay subjectivity.

My current research is based on the diagnosis that Western right-wing populism and the worldwide development towards authoritarian forms of government are symptoms of an ideological breakdown of the liberal democratic consensus, which can only be understood through philosophical analysis. I undertake such an analysis firstly in the field of critical legal philosophy by proposing a new, reflexive liberalism. Secondly, my analysis extends into the field of intersectional ethics, where I develop normative frameworks for criticizing current political debates, such as ‘political correctness’ and ‘gender/sexuality’. The project aims to show that liberal rule of law and social criticism are mutually dependent. My article ”‘Political Correctness’ as Slave Morality? Towards a Political Theory of Privilege Critique”, Leviathan 1/48, 2020 proposes a new understanding of intersectional social critique as based on a particularist political epistemology while following a universalist normativity of privilge critique. One current project aim to establish the concept of “constructivist identity politics” to counter the common critique that identity politics would be essentialistic. Another project questions the usual criticism of political liberalism that it cannot comprehend socially constituted subjectivity and develops a liberal concept of subjectivation based on classics of liberalism.

Short CV

Academic Positions

University of Freiburg, Political Science, Section for Political Theory
Assistant Professor (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/Assistent), since 2018

University of Bremen, Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences
Post-Doc-Fellow (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), Field A, 2017 – 2018

University of Duisburg-Essen, Political Science, Section for Political Theory
Research Associate (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), 2015 – 2017


PhD, Philosophy, University of Leipzig, 2017
Dissertation: Freiheit als Kritik. Die sozialphilosophische Debatte um Freiheit bei Foucault
Grade: summa cum laude
Published with transcript in 05/2018
Members of the Committee: Ulrich Johannes Schneider (Leipzig), Markus Gabriel (Bonn), Martin Saar (Leipzig), among others

MA, University of Leipzig, Political Sciences, Philosophy, Economics, 2010
Grade: 1.1

Sciences Po Paris, Master en échange, Paris

Leibniz Kolleg, Studium generale (general studies), Tübingen


  • The New School for Social Research, Philosophy, Visiting Scholar, New York
  • Cardozo Law School, Visiting Scholar, New York

Third Party Funding and Fellowships

  • ERP Scholarship, German Academic Scholarship Foundation (GASF)
  • PhD Fellowship (Promotionsförderung), GASF
  • Carlo-Schmid-Fellowship for Internships in IOs, GASF and DAAD
  • Visiting Exchange Scholarship for Sciences Po Paris, GASF and ERASMUS
  • Study Stipend (Grundförderung), GASF

Memberships and Features

  • Associated Research Fellow at Centre Marc Bloch Berlin
  • Editorial board member of Zeitschrift diskurs
  • German Association for Political Science (DVPW)
  • Former board member Engagierte Wissenschaft e.V.
  • Former member of the editorial board of Powision magazine

Non-Academic Professional Experience

  • UNESCO, Peace and Human Rights Education, Paris, Paid Internship and Consultancy
  • United Nations Association of Germany, Berlin, Paid Internship and Freelance Work
  • German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, Paid Internship

Contact Details

Professur für politische Philosophie, Theorie und Ideengeschichte
Seminar für Wissenschaftliche Politik, Universität Freiburg

Rempartstr. 15, Raum 4311
79085 Freiburg, Germany

+49 761 203-3487

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Many thanks to Ezra Luke for the landing page photo!