Lectures

December 2017

12
Dec
2017

Rebuilding the Hungarian Right through Civil Organization and Contention

Starting in 2010, the Fidesz party achieved in a row six (partly landslide) victories at municipal, national, and European Parliament elections. Not questioning other explanations, my ongoing research traces the remarkable resilience of the ruling party above all to earlier “tectonic” shifts in civil society, which helped the Right accumulate ample social capital well before …
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June 2017

29
Jun
2017

Cancelled!" rel="bookmark"> A Future for Europe? – Cancelled!

The Monthly Lecture has had to be cancelled! We appreciate your understanding! We are living in times of individual, political, economic and societal uncertainty. Europe is confronted with an unprecedented crisis, an internal self-questioning of the project itself manifested by the rise of nationalism and populism, coupled with external challenges of the wave refugees, the …
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May 2017

24
May
2017

Reproductive Autonomy

The dimensions, scope and limits of reproductive autonomy remain largely uncharted. Nevertheless, besides the traditional rights of freedom from state intervention in human reproduction and of access to contraception and pregnancy termination, the debate on international and constitutional law in this area suggests that there is also a right to fulfil the wish for a …
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04
May
2017

The Affects of Democracy

In this year’s Patočka Memorial Lecture, political theorist Chantal Mouffe examines the crucial role played in politics by what she calls ‘passions’ to refer to the common affects that are at stake in the construction of collective identities. Taking her bearings from Spinoza, Freud and Wittgenstein and from the agonistic model of democracy that she …
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April 2017

26
Apr
2017

Sphere of Influence III

Populist revolt within countries has its complement in a populist revolt against the liberal, rules-based international order, which is driven by three revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran – that have rich histories as civilizations, empires that once extended well beyond their current size, a powerful sense of historic entitlement and of historic grievance.  Today …
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24
Apr
2017

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning—the possibility of “fixing” the air’s temperature at will—is one of the oldest dreams of man­kind. It means creating a world without heat or cold, rain or snow, without suffocating humidity or dusty winds. Climate control allows for a life with­out weather, without meteorological contingencies and surprises, extreme weather events, seasonal changes, or locally …
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19
Apr
2017

Sphere of Influence II

Do we really know the answer?  Two opposing political projects have framed that question.  One equates fascism and communism as totalitarianism; the other proffers a heroic portrayal of communism as anti-fascism.  The first delegitimates the left, the second legitimates it.  But there is a different story, one rooted in a history that has always been …
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05
Apr
2017

Sphere of Influence I

A History of the Present The liberal, rules-based international order did not take shape predominantly as a consequence of highmindedness, but as a sphere of influence.  That, moreover, was to a great extent inspired, and sustained, by a comprehensive cold war with the Soviet Union (or Second World, as it was once called).  The sphere …
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March 2017

02
Mar
2017

Democratic Inclusion: A Pluralistic Theory of Citizenship

Who has a claim to be included in a democratic political community? Answers to this question distinguish populists from democrats. But political theorists disagree amongst themselves what the right answer is. In this talk I propose that the question needs to be broken up into three: Whose interests should be represented in democratic decisions? Whose …
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February 2017

20
Feb
2017

How (not) to Explain Violence

Recent social science research has focused very much on the micro-dynamics of the situation in order to understand violent phenomena. The oftentimes very detailed accounts of massacres or pogroms, however, lead to questions concerning the interrelationship between pure description on the one side and explanation on the other. As will be seen, there is no …
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January 2017

25
Jan
2017

Russia and the Western Far Right

The lecture discusses relations between various Russian actors (activists, politicians, organisations, media, officials, etc.) and the Western far right. It provides a historical perspective, discussing the pro-Soviet or pro-Russian views of particular Western far right activists, but its major focus is contemporary Russia. As Moscow has become more anti-Western, contacts with the Western far right …
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