Cultures of Critique

Research Training Group (DFG-GRK 2114)

The cultural sciences research training group “Cultures of Critique” undertakes a productive revision of the preconditions, roles and validity claims of critique. On the one hand, new technologies and distribution channels have given rise to a welter of unexpected critical and quasi-critical practices. On the other hand, the very theoretical foundations of critique have come under massive pressure – and so, it seems, has the modern project of critique as a whole. What may be regarded as an act of critique and which agents, expectations and criteria take part, is currently subject to basal negotiation.

The research training group conceives critique as a praxis that is always already culturally situated, while its efficacy rides on comprehensive claims to validity and authority. The phenomena under critique are inseparably interwoven with the forms and media used to represent them. Representation thus appears as the focal point in which widely divergent forms of critique and their heterogeneous cultures lend themselves to comparative discussion. Building on studies of diverse concrete critical practices, the Research Training Group seeks to remap the interaction between critique and culture in the history of modernity up to the present and employ the tools of cultural studies to frame a well founded and timely conception of critique.

The research training group commenced its work on October 1st 2016.

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Beate Söntgen
Deputy spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Erich Hörl


Call for Abstracts: Media in Crisis - Reconfiguring Possible World Imaginaries? (Workshop)

November 21-22, 2024

The media is facing numerous challenges as it serves as a platform for social construction. News and information are continuously produced at a high rate, which raises questions about the trajectories of media production, information dissemination, knowledge production, and ideologies of inclusivity, freedom, and democracy. Traditional media is in crisis, as their agency, credibility, and relationship with power are being challenged. Therefore, it is necessary to adapt to technological shifts and revisit ethical frameworks and principles that guide media practices in print, electronic within physical and digital spaces. To achieve this, a renewed commitment to fostering inclusivity, preserving freedom of expression, and upholding democratic values in media content creation is required. This includes exploring the role of medial frames in various interdisciplinary spaces, such as newspaper studies, television/radio, sociology, museums, and related fields, which enable the construction of social relations and the emergence of heterogeneous voices in media discourses.

Please send us your submissions until July 31. 

Further Information

Duke University – Leuphana University Gender, Queer and Transgender Studies Workshop for Doctoral Candidates

Professor Ben Trott (Leuphana University of Lüneburg) and Professor Gabriel Rosenberg (Duke University) have initiated a Gender, Queer and Transgender Studies Workshop for Doctoral Candidates in the humanities working on questions of gender and sexuality at the two institutions. The goal of the project is to facilitate doctoral candidates’ development of their dissertations, provide doctoral researchers the opportunity to present their work to an international scholarly audience, enable access to key international archives, and develop and consolidate international networks and scholarly exchange between both faculty and doctoral candidates.

In a first step, five doctoral candidates from Leuphana University of Lüneburg travelled to Duke University in March 2024 where they participated in a two-day workshop with three doctoral candidates from Duke University and one from the Global History program at the Freie Universität Berlin. The workshop was also joined by Dr. Zavier Nunn, Duke University Postdoctoral Associate in Histories of the Transgender Present. The nine doctoral candidates each delivered 20-minute talks based on one of their dissertation chapters (or another piece of writing) as well as a ten-minute critical response to one of the talks. In a second step in the exchange, participants will develop their talks into a draft chapter or article to be circulated ahead of a workshop in Lüneburg in June for critical feedback and development.

Prof. Trott is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Philosophy and Art History (IPK) in the School of Culture and Society at Leuphana University, speaker of the Center for Critical Studies (CCS) and co-speaker of the Gender and Diversity Research Network. Prof. Rosenberg is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies and of History at Duke University (Durham, NC, USA). Dr. Nunn is Postdoctoral Associate in Histories of the Transgender Present at Duke University. In summer 2024, he takes up a Mellon Fellowship at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University (NY, USA).



Dedicated to the Centenary of the Georgian Futurist Group H2SO4

9-11 October 2024, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia

Historical avant-garde contains forgotten moments and scenes that still need to be rediscovered or reconnected with other, central or peripheral scenes of the European avant-garde. Avant-garde moments would not occur in different national cultures without the strong desire to connected with the wider web of aesthetic searches and experimentation, happening in various European cultural loci. However, due to historical changes, some moments/scenes were disconnected from the web, staying unrecalled for decades. 


The doctoral students

Third generation projects

We are very pleased to welcome the third generation of doctoral students at Cultures of Critique! Thirteen new members have started work in the winter term 2022/2023 and are making important contributions to the updating of a concept of critique in cultural studies with their projects.

  • Kelly Bescherer: Identity as Deportability: On ‘Identitatsklärung’ as a Contested Practice of Control within the German-European Deportation Regime
  • Jan-Hauke Branding: Gay Radical Theory Formation as (a Constellation of) Critique
  • David Cabrera Rueda: A museum of memory for Colombia: The emergence of a controversial space
  • Raphael Daibert: Lifting the Sky: Practices to Sustain Worlds Otherwise
  • Volha Davydzik: Re-building Solidarity and Networks of Care Through Art: Political Art Practices in Rebellious Societies
  • Felix Leonhard Esch: The Dialectics of the Body Politic - A Study on the Transformation of Modern Concepts of Society
  • Jörg Hügel: ‚Primitive Communism‘ as a narrative concept between 1848 and 1940
  • Dyoniz Kindata: Poetic and Photographic Practices in the Kiongozi German East African Colonial Newspaper 1885 to 1918
  • Stasya Korotkova: Cross-dressing, Sexual, and Gender Dissent in Pre-Soviet Cinema (1908-1920)
  • Melcher Ruhkopf: The Logistical Museum – Circulation and Connectivity in Contemporary Museum Practice
  • Laura Felicitas Sabel: Praxes of the Transitory: Restitution, Museum Practice, and the (Im)material Cultural Heritage of the Tairona’s Descendants in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Donovan Stewart: The Ecotechnical Community: Hospitality and the Organisation of Locality
  • Lukas Stolz: Facing Reality: Between Doom and Cruel Optimism
  • Julian Volz: ‚Alger la Blanche‘ becomes ‚Alger la Rouge‘ – On the heritage of the anti-colonial movements in contemporary art