lecture series 2020 - 2021


The lecture series during the winter semester 2020/21take place at 16h (CEST) via ZOOM. All welcome, but registration is required (registration link, current program and link to our Google Calendar below). You can find more details about the Lecture Series as well as the past events by clicking here.


check out the

_tuesday / 10.11.20

Annette Zimmermann,
The Algorithmic Is

_thursday / 26.11.20

Katarina Peixoto,
Private virtues, public virtues: on the détournement of Mandeville's Fable of Bees by Du Châtelet.

_thursday / 10.12.20

Macarena Marey,
Dislocating liberal secularism from its own margins

_Tuesday / 21.01

Juliana de Albuquerque,
Goethe’s notion of Bildung in relation to the Feminine

_thursday / 11.02

Krushil Watene,

open attendance.

lecture recordings.

Dislocating liberal secularism from its own margins, Prof. Dr. Macarena Marey

The secularization thesis cannot explain today´s religious political revitalization. Still, at the same time, the reconfiguration of the way Christian churches participate in politics is, indeed, a product of the discourse of secularism. The strong discourse of secularism frames a political agonistic-deliberative field in which fully legitimized agents shape each other´s agency and that delegitimizes those subjectivities and types of agency that do not adjust to its polarizations. We should study secularism as part of a wider political way of organizing politics and the ethic-political realm into an (I) agonistic-deliberative territory where (II) only some subjectivities, collectives, and actors have fully authorized political agency, with the consequent marginalization of several other subjectivities, collectives, actors. 

In her talk, Prof. Dr. Macarena Marey is not claiming we should reject all the ideals and principles that are associated with secularism, as a separation between church and state, freedom of religion and religious equality, etc., but insisting that we must analyze whether secularism as the mainstream way in which we are framing many of our political debates on the relationship between church and state in progressive politics is doing us any good if our aim is to keep the state and the church separated. 

She claims that we need to dismantle the narratives of progress and the hierarchization of types of agency that are built into the hegemonic discourse of secularism, not only because they are false and unjust, but also because they deprive us of the chance of perceiving more hospitable practices that already exist in our world and of imagining ways out of injustice.

Play Video
Play Video

Private virtues, public virtues, Dr. Katarina Peixoto

In this video, Dr. Katarina Peixoto presents us with one of the first results of her research in Émilie Du Châtelet, on a topic she is interested in that she considers primitive, in a strong sense, in Du Châtelet philosophical thought: the problem of freedom.

Du Châtelet is a philosopher of the Enlightenment and, in many ways, she was a free woman, especially by the standards of the time in which she lived, with respect to the place, the rights (at that time, privileges), and the opportunities granted for women. Her drive on the question of freedom inhabits her writings preceding her work in philosophy of nature, but they do not seem to be different in nature: there is an irreducible systematizing claim in her thinking, which allows the search for consistency in a philosophical program at once rationalist and dedicated to experimental research on the laws of movement and force.

Play Video

The Algorithmic Is Political, Dr. Annette Zimmermann,

Algorithmic decision-making and machine learning systems are increasingly being used in a wide range of domains, from criminal justice and law enforcement to credit scoring, welfare benefits allocation, transport, and language generation. Recent interdisciplinary work has shown that algorithmic systems often reflect and exacerbate structures of social injustice, including (but not limited to) racial, gender, and class injustice. This lecture explore why the question of if and how we should attempt to optimize a given algorithmic system, and the question of how we should evaluate its impact on society, is a political one. In particular, the lecture focuses on cases in which the political critique and contestation of end-state ideals in the context of AI is insufficient: in addition to asking what justice would ultimately require with respect to algorithmic systems, we need to start focusing more on the moral and political stakes of AI optimization in light of ongoing transformation and social change.

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