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

My Newsfeed offers the best insight into my current activities. And the latest info about my activities can be found on Twitter, because I don’t always manage to publish all events and publications promptly on the website.

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). Currently, I am a fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld (ZiF), Germany, where I am researching new strategies against the “Global Contestations of Women’s and Gender Rights” with colleagues from around the world.

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 lies at the intersection of radical democratic theory, legal theory, and theories of identity politics. I try to show that solidaristic and critical subjectivity emerges through critical subjectivizations in sub-cultural and socio-critical regimes of subjectivation. This also reveals a new connection between identity politics and (radical) democracy, which is in contrast to the widespread diagnoses that identity politics destroys democratic discourse and structures of solidarity: only the multiplication of particular solidarities in identity politics projects can further democratize the unfinished democratic project. This, in turn, enables the expansion of general solidarity politics.

In a first subproject, I examined the solidarity-destroying rhetoric of the right-wing conservative critique of “political correctness”. The 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, based on a particularist political epistemology while following a universalist normativity of privilege critique. Following on from this, another sub-project analyzes the misuse of freedom of art and expression of the conservative political project and asks about the implementation of emancipative norms that is appropriate - and that means non-paternalistic - in terms of democratic and legal theory. From this subproject, the article "Democratization through ‘Cancel Culture’: On the Relationship between Art Freedom and Emancipation" has already been published.

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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, 2007/2008

Leibniz Kolleg, Studium generale (general studies), Tübingen, 2004/2005


  • 05/2022 – 07/2022: Fellow at Weizenbaum Institute Berlin, research group Digital Citizenship, associated with the research group Democracy and Digitalization
  • 10/2020 – 03/2021: Fellow at the research group Global Contestation of Women’s and Gender Rights, Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld
  • Since 10/2018: Associated researcher at the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin
  • 09/2014 – 05/2015: Visiting Scholar, New School for Social Research Philosophy Department, New York City
  • 09/2013 – 11/2013: Visiting Scholar, Cardozo Law School, New York City

Third Party Funding and Fellowships

  • 05/2022 – 07/2022: Fellowship at Weizenbaum Institute Berlin
  • 03/2022: Conference Funding by Freiburg Institute for Advanced Research, Conference „Transformations of the Political. Radical Democratic Theory for the 2020s”, together with Lucas von Ramin (Political Theory, Dresden), Vincent Gengnagel (Sociology, Flensburg), Geog Spoo (Philosophy, Freiburg)
  • 02/2021: Satellite Workshop „Radical Democracy and the Representation of Gender Rights”, organized together with Livia de Souza Lima, ZiF Bielefeld
  • 10/2020 – 03/2021: Fellow at the research group Global Contestation of Women’s and Gender Rights, ZiF Bielefeld, 6 months buy-out/substitute payment at home university
  • 04/2019 – 07/2019: Funds for the lecture series „Die Auflösung des liberalen Konsenses. Perspekti-ven der kritischen Rechtstheorie“ [The Dissolution of the Liberal Consensus. Perspectives of critical legal theory], University of Freiburg
  • 05/2012 – 09/2015: PhD scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation
  • 09/2014 – 08/2015: ERP Fellowship for research at top universities in the USA from the German National Academic Foundation, for research at the New School for Social Research
  • 09/2011 – 02/2012: Carlo-Schmid-Scholarship for internships in international organizations from the German National Academic Foundation
  • 08/2007 – 06/2008 Erasmus scholarship and study abroad scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Paris)
  • 2005 – 2010: Merit-Scholarship, German National Academic Foundation

Memberships and Activities

  • Member of Schwules Museum Berlin
  • Founding member and speaker (until fall ‘21) of the DVPW Populism Theme Group
  • Associated Research Fellow at Centre Marc Bloch Berlin
  • Editorial board member of Zeitschrift diskurs
  • Reviewer for Zeitschrift für praktische Philosophie, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaf, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Foucault Studies, Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, The Journal of Value Inquiry, BioSocieties, Schriftenreihe der DVPW, Leviathan, among others
  • 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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