Seminars

Year(s):

Summer term 2021

Values in the Social Sciences [in German]
Seminarplan Online-Seminar
In this course, we will read texts from the different debates about the role of values in the social sciences, from the “Werturteilsstreit” and the “Positivismusstreit” to contemporary debates in feminist philosophy of science.
Theories of Society: Habermas vs. Luhmann [in German]
Syllabus Online-Proseminar
In the seminar, we will discuss fundamental differences in the development of theories of society, using the theories of Habermas and Luhmann as examples.
From Politeness to Propaganda: Social Forms of Falsehood [in German]
Syllabus Online-Seminar
In the seminar, we will analyze social forms of falsehood, first in everyday life, like politeness, diplomacy and (white) lies, second in economics, from advertisement to corruption, and third in politics, as in propaganda and ideology.
Colloquium for Social Theory [in German]
Online-Seminar
We will discuss BA- and MA-theses as well as new literature.

Winter term 2020/21

Theories of Society from Marx to Luhmann [in German]
Syllabus Proseminar
By discussing different theories of society (namely from Marx to Luhmann), we will try to answer the question what is distinctive about theories of society and why we need them.
Populism as a Social Phenomenon: Current Theories about a Contested Issue [in German]
Syllabus Online-Seminar
“Populism” is subject to a fierce debate—yet scientifically, it is far from settled what we mean by it. In the seminar, we will look at the most prominent theories to see how they can help us understand “populism” as not just a political but as a social phenomenon.
Introduction to Modern Social Theory [in German]
Syllabus Proseminar
The seminar introduces students to modern social theory by discussing classical as well as contemporary texts. We will focus on the topics of domination, agency and critique.
Epistemology as Social Theory: Jürgen Habermas’ Knowledge and Human Interests [in German] (together with Martin Saar)
preliminary Syllabus Seminar Online-Seminar!
An in-depth discussion of Habermas' book and the criticisms levelled against it—especially Habermas' self-criticism.

Summer term 2020

What are Social Practices? (in German)
Syllabus Seminar Online-Seminar!
At least since the “practice turn” was announced in 2001, the concepts of “social practices” or “practice theory” have been widely used. Yet what are social practices and how do we theorize them?
Value-free Social Science? Old and New Contributions to the “Werturteilsstreit” (in German)
Seminarplan Seminar Online-Seminar!
Is research in social science value-free? Should it be? Can it be? And what exactly do mean by “value-free”? Let’s find out in this seminar!
Sociology as a Diagnosis of the Present (in German)
Syllabus Proseminar Online-Seminar!
Unlike other social sciences, sociology is frequently expected to offer more than data and theories about the societies we live in, namely diagnoses of the present. The seminar examines the recent attempt to provide such a diagnosis of the present by Andreas Reckwitz.
The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction. Michel Foucault on Sexuality, Biopolitics and Racism (in German)
Syllabus Proseminar Online-Seminar!
A seminar devoted to Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction. After reading the book in the first half of the seminar, we will discuss the most important criticisms and developments in the second half, especially with regard to biopolitics and Foucault’s analysis of racism.

Winter term 2019/20

What is (not) Critique? [in German]
Syllabus Proseminar
An introduction to the debate about the concept of critique.
The Critique of Reason in Critical Theories [in German]
Syllabus Seminar
“Critique of Reason” may sound like a relic from the 1980ies but the questions have never been fully answered – and have become pressing today.
Marcuse versus Habermas: Critical Theory, Left Politics and Technological Rationality [in German]
Syllabus Proseminar
The seminar examines the discussions about (critical) theory and praxis in the 1960/70ies.
Colloquium for Critical Social Theory [in German]
Colloquium
Room for debates of BA and MA theses, current research projects and new literature on critical social theory.

Summer term 2019

“Ideology” in critial theory
Syllabus Proseminar
The seminar follows the development of the concept of “ideology” in early texts by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer up to present day discussions by Rahel Jaeggi and Sally Haslanger.
Max Horkheimers Eclipse of Reason
Syllabus Seminar
A seminar devoted to reading Max Horkheimer’s book Eclipse of Reason.
Colloquium for Critical Social Theory
Agenda Colloquium
Room for debates of BA and MA theses, current research rojects and new literature on critical social theory.

Winter term 2018/19

Lies, only Lies?! Bullshit, Propaganda and Ideology
Seminarplan BA Political Science
The seminar will investigate the relationship between truth and politics, or, more precisely, the relationship between untruth and politics.
Free Speech: Reasons and Limitations of the Right to Free Speech
Syllabus BA Political Science Research Seminar
How can the right to free speech be justified? What is its scope? And what counts as a violation?

Summer term 2018

Tutorial for the Introduction to Political Theory
Syllabus BA Political Science
Tutorial for the lecture course “Introduction to Political Theory”.
Marx (together with Martin Nonhoff)
Syllabus MA Political Science
An introduction to Marx’ work, from On the Jewish Question (1843) to the first volume of Capital (1867).

Winter term 2017/18

The Critique of Democracy
Syllabus BA Political Science
A review of recent criticisms of democracy and democratic theory. The seminar concentrates on critiques of representation and on the debate about populism.
Readings in Contemporary Theories of Power
Syllabus PhD - BIGSSS Demand-Taylored Theory Seminar
A comprehensive overview on theories of power, discussing texts from Max Weber and Hannah Arendt to Michel Foucault and Amy Allen.
Feminist Political Theory
Seminarplan BA Politikwissenschaft
An introduction to feminist political theory with a special focus on (a) the historical back-ground of feminism as a social movement, (b) the debate about sex and gender, and (c) feminist reformulations of basic concepts from political theory like “power,” “justice,” “democracy” etc.

Summer term 2017

The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction. Foucault’s Analysis of Sexuality, Biopolitics and Racism
Syllabus BA Political Science
A seminar devoted to Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction. After reading the book in the first half of the seminar, the second half is devoted to the most important criticisms and developments, especially with regard to biopolitics and Foucault’s analysis of racism.

Winter term 2016/17

Modern Social Theory
Syllabus MA International Relations
A comprehensive seminar on classic positions of social theory, ranging from Karl Marx, Max Weber and Georg Simmel to Bruno Latour.
Methods in Political Theory
Syllabus PhD - BIGSSS Method Course
Are there distinctive methods in political theory? And how are they connected to the objects political theory takes itself to be concerned with?
French Political Theory II
Syllabus BA Political Science
Continues the historical overview of French political theory from the summer semester 2016 with texts from structuralism (e.g. Irigaray) and post-structuralism (e.g. Rancière).

Summer term 2016

To be Governed without Fear. Anarchic Answers to Liberal Questions
Syllabus MA Political Science Research Seminar
Can we read the history of political liberalism under the perspective of minimalizing the fear of those being governed? And how does it fare, both on its own account and on those of its critics? The research seminar is split in two halves: in the first, we discuss select texts from the history of political thought, in the second, the students present their plans for the term paper and a central text they want to discuss.
French Political Theory I
Syllabus BA Political Science
A historical overview of French political theory from the beginning of the 20th century: from Existentialism (Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus) to Structuralism (Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Althusser).

Winter term 2015/16

Plato’s Politeia in Political Theory
Syllabus BA Political Science
A seminar devoted to reading Plato’s Politeia and how its various topics have been taken up in (modern) political theory.
Introduction to Academic Research and Writing in Political Science
Syllabus BA Political Science
A mandatory seminar for first-year students on good scientific practice. The main topics are how to find research literature, develop research questions and structure one’s own text.

Summer term 2015

Tutorial for the Introduction to Political Theory
BA Political Science
Tutorial for the lecture course “Introduction to Political Theory.”
Political Knowledge
Syllabus BA Political Science Research Seminar
Does knowledge in general have political significance? What concepts do we have to explicate it? The research seminar is split in two halves: in the first, we discuss select texts on the political dimension of knowledge by a variety of authors, from Michel Foucault to Miranda Fricker; in the second, the students present their plans for the term paper and a central text they want to discuss.

Winter term 2014/15

Theories of Power (together with Martin Nonhoff)
Syllabus BA Political Science
An introduction to the most important theories of power, from Machiavelli to Foucault.
Democracy and Anarchy. Ungovernableness in Self-Government (together with Christian Leonhardt)
Syllabus BA Political Science
Modern democratic theory (especially by Abensour, Rancière or Balibar) focusses on a mo-ment of anarchic equality underlying democracy’s rule. The seminar investigates the relationship to anarchist theory and anarchist practice.

Summer term 2014

Readings on Power (together with Martin Nonhoff)
Syllabus BIGSSS Demand-Taylored Theory Seminar
A comprehensive overview on theories of power, from Max Weber and Hannah Arendt to Michel Foucault and Niklas Luhmann.
Methods of Political Theory
Syllabus BA Political Science
Are there distinctive methods in political theory? And how are they connected to the objects political theory takes itself to be concerned with? The seminar also has a more practical part on academic writing as an essential “method” of political theory.
Jürgen Habermas as Political Theorist
Syllabus BA Political Science
A seminar on Habermas’ Between Facts and Norms (1992).

Winter term 2013/14

John Rawls’ Justice as Fairness
Syllabus BA Political Science
A seminar on Rawls’ Justice as Fairness. A Restatement (2001).
Democracy and Truth
Syllabus BA Political Science
The relationship between truth and democracy is controversial: Is it a condition sine qua none (as is often said in public debates)? Is it impossible to attain truth in democracy (Plato)? Or does truth rule out democracy (Arendt)? In addition to these conceptual questions, the seminar also looks at practical issues: Are secrets of state legitimate in democracies? What political function does science have? How should we deal with whistle-blowers?

Summer term 2013

What is Feminist Political Philosophy?
Syllabus BA Political Science
An introduction to feminist political theory with a special focus on (a) the historical back-ground of feminism as a social movement, (b) the debate about sex and gender, and (c) feminist reformulations of basic concepts from political theory like “power,” “justice,” “democracy” etc.
Political Responsibility. On the Development of a Concept
Syllabus BA Political Science
“Responsibility” is a young concept with a stellar career. The seminar looks at its trajectory from the 19th century, in which a specifically political concept of responsibility was born, to debates in the 21th century about the so-called responsibility to protect (R2P).

Winter term 2012/13

Michel Foucault’s Political Philosophy
Syllabus BA Political Science
An introduction to the work of Michel Foucault, organized along his three “axes” of knowledge, power and the relations to self.
Capitalism and Democracy: Histories of a Troubled Relationship
Syllabus BA Political Science
How does political theory reflect on the relationship between democracy and capitalism? What changes in the theoretical accounts during the 20th century?