Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Workshop | Towards a "New Type of Human Being"? Conceptualising Anthropological Deformation

Jul 27, 2023 - Jul 29, 2023

Organised by Sebastian Tränkle (EXC 2020) and Eric-John Russell (University of Potsdam), Research Area 3: "Future Perfect".

In a sketch for a broad interdisciplinary research project, Theodor W. Adorno aimed at investigating the rise of a new type of human being (1941). The project conceived of a socially determined human subjectivity as the imminent result of intensified processes of anthropological deformation. For Adorno, the figure of the individual appeared no longer as relatively autonomous in its aims and initiatives. Obliged to conform to an overwhelming social reality, its very constitution had become increasingly swallowed by socializing agencies.

The workshop will take up the specifically interdisciplinary research focus sketched in Adorno’s project. The participants will reconsider this program from their theoretical or methodological point of view. Our aim is to conceptualize such processes of deformation and their contemporary pertinence. Just as in Adorno’s agenda, we want to discuss how social deformation of various human faculties – social, intellectual, psychic, sensual, reflective and affective in nature – can be analyzed.

By exploring such interdisciplinary questions while anchoring the discussions in Adorno’s research proposal, the workshop will ask for both the historical trajectory and the contemporary relevance of a multi-layered critique of anthropological deformation.


Thursday, 27 July

13:00-13:30 | Arrival

13:30-14:15 | Opening remarks

14:15-15:30 | Jordi Maiso (Universidad Complutense de Madrid): ‘The Organic Composition of Man is Growing’: Adorno’s Diagnosis on Anthropological Transformation, 80 Years Later

Chair: Anne Eusterschulte (Freie Universität Berlin)

15:45-17:00 | Antonia Hofstätter (University of Warwick): Atrophied Images: Childhood and the Deformative Gaze

Chair: Theodora Becker (Freie Universität Berlin)

17:00-17:30 | Coffee break

17:30-18:45 | Robert Hullot-Kentor (Emeritus, SVA New York): G.

Chair: Christoph Hesse (Freie Universität Berlin)

Friday, 28 July

10:00-11:15 | Sebastian Tränkle (EXC 2020, Freie Universität Berlin): An Insect who Has the Jitters: On the Dialectic of Aesthetic Self-Formation

Chair: Alexandra Colligs (Universität Kassel)

11:30-12:45 | Christine Kirchhoff (International Psychoanalytic University Berlin): Formation and Deformation: On the Contemporary Nature of Subjectivity

Chair: Steen Thorsson (Journalist, Creative Artist)

12:45-14:14 | Lunch

14:15-15:30 | Eric-John Russell (Universität Potsdam): When what Is Known no Longer Has Any Meaning: Opinion as Epistemological Regression

Chair: Frank Engster

15:45-17:00 | Philip Hogh (Universität Kassel): On the Inability to Suffer

Chair: Isolda Mac Liam

17:00-17:30 | Coffee break

17:30-18:45 | Peter E. Gordon (Harvard University): Constitution or Distortion? Remarks on a Problematic Motif in Critical Theory

Chair: Sebastian Tränkle 

Saturday, 29 July

10:00-11:15 | Christine Achinger (University of Warwick): Damaged Goods: 'Kulturgüter' and the End of 'Bildung' in Higher Education

Chair: Eric-John Russell (Universität Potsdam)

11:30-12:45 | Lars Rensmann (Universität Passau): Reconfigurations of Modern Authoritarianism: On the Politics of Conformist Desublimation and the Dissociation of the Self on New Social Media

Chair: Sebastian Tränkle

12:45-13:15 | Coffee break

13:15-14:30 | Samir Gandesha (Simon Fraser University Burnaby, Canada): The Anthropological Deformations of Identity

Chair: Antonia Hofstätter (University of Warwick)

14:30 -15:00 | Roundtable

Further Information

Sebastian Tränkle: s.traenkle@fu-berlin.de.
Registration is required as seating is limited. To register your attendance, please email either Eric-John Russell (eric-john.russell@uni-potsdam.de) or Sebastian Tränkle (s.traenkle@fu-berlin.de).