Critical Stances

International Conference from 21 to 23 June 2018


Hosted by the DFG research training group “Cultures of Critique / Kulturen der Kritik”.

Critique is a form of thinking and acting. Each critical practice has its own setting, its own temporality and its own mode. In its situated character, critique emerges in a contradictory context of proximity and distance to its object. It is determined by its objects, yet never accesses them immediately, but always mediated through its own forms of (re)presentation [“Darstellung”].

The conference “Critical Stances” addresses the interrelation between critique and its object through an analysis of critical stances, their forms, media, and effects. It asks where, how, whereof, and when, critical practices appear, and how the interdependence of critique and object translates into critical stances. We understand stances as learnable, reproducible gestures, which bear witness to changing conditions and media of critical practice. Stances – “Haltung” in German – simultaneously condense and interrupt habitual behavior – put it “on hold” [“Halt”].

In four sections, the conference’s guiding questions concern the constitution of the object of critique, the forms of subjectivation in and through critique, as well as the possibilities and forms of critical stances in different power relations.

Organized by Catharina Berents, Erich Hörl, Sami Khatib, Holger Kuhn, Susanne Leeb, Liza Mattutat, Roberto Nigro, Nelly Y. Pinkrah, Nadine Schiel, Beate Söntgen, Heiko Stubenrauch und Lotte Warnsholdt.



Mark B. N. Hansen
Birgit M. Kaiser
Susanne Krasmann
Daniel Loick
Itamar Mann
Jamila Mascat
Bettine Menke
Paolo Napoli
Luciana Parisi
Antoinette Rouvroy
Ashkan Sepahvand
Kathrin Thiele
Lynne Tillman
Kalindi Vora



Nadia Bou Ali
Alex Demirovic



1. The Stakes of Form

Birgit M. Kaiser/Kathrin Thiele (Utrecht University / Terra Critica)
Bettine Menke (Universität Erfurt)
Lynne Tillman (University at Albany)


2. Critique of the Postcolonial

Jamila Mascat (Utrecht University)
Ashkan Sepahvand (Schwules* Museum, Berlin)
Kalindi Vora (University of California, Davis)


3. Critique and the Digital

Mark Hansen (Duke University, Durham)
Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Antoinette Rouvroy (Université de Namur)


4. What’s legit? Critique of Law between Legality and Legitimacy

Susanne Krasmann (Universität Hamburg)
Daniel Loick (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.)
Itamar Mann (University of Haifa)
Paolo Napoli (Centre d'études des normes juridiques, Paris)