Program of studies

The core of the program of studies is made up of the basic and research seminar. While the basic seminar deals with fundamental theoretical texts on the subject of critique, the research seminar permits regular discussions of the doctoral projects, which are devoted to case studies. In this way, the connection between theory of critique and actual critical practices is maintained, in accordance with our research concept.

The first year is devoted to defining the theoretical and philosophical concepts and problems involved in the thematic nexus of "Cultures of Critique." The following three semesters will be devoted to access in various disciplines to the three areas of emphasis—art critique, media critique and social critique—in order to mutually elucidate their heterogeneous determination and developments. Also scheduled are workshops in Lüneburg and abroad, visiting lecturers and an international conference.


Types of events

At the center of the program of studies are the basic and research seminars, which both involve two semester hours per week. During semester breaks the regular cycle is reduced to a monthly meeting of the research seminar. The basic and research seminars are directed by the speaker and assistant speaker together with an applicant (on a rotation basis each semester): doctoral candidates will be actively involved in the planning and carrying out of the events.

Basic seminar (mandatory): in the weekly basic seminar, theoretical and methodological core texts on the subject of "Cultures of Critique" are introduced by the doctoral candidates (in response procedure) and discussed. The basic seminar is open to thematic departures and shifts in focus as needed. The texts will be chosen before the start of the semester by the doctoral candidates together with the professor in charge.

Research seminar (mandatory): in the weekly research seminar, each doctoral candidate reports once a semester on the status of their dissertation or other seminar project (presentation of exposés, chapters, results, methodological reflections), again using the response procedure. Advisors will be in attendance at the presentation of dissertation projects. Guests, associates or other colleagues at Leuphana can also be called in as wished.

Workshops (elective): As a rule, intensive work and discussion sessions lasting up to several days or organized as a series are held twice a semester (also in small groups depending on the research relevance). Here, doctoral candidates have the opportunity to invite as many as three guest scholars from Germany or abroad, in order to discuss more specific topics in the research program and current research issues in their dissertations. The workshops are planned in such a way that the topics of the third to fifth semester in the basic seminar—which are structured according to disciplines—are open to other disciplines. (Participation in at least one workshop per semester is mandatory)

Public evening lectures (mandatory): as a rule, four evening lectures on a relevant topic by guest scholars (including the workshop guests and Mercator Fellows) are scheduled each semester. The lectures are moderated by the doctoral candidates.

Feedback Workshops (elective): once a semester, doctoral candidates may discuss their individual projects with workshop guests or invited scholars. The scheduling is done by the doctoral candidates themselves, while the organization is done by the coordinator. (Participation in at least one feedback workshop during the three-year funding period is mandatory)

Writing workshops (elective): in a close linking of the theory and practice of critical writing, the effectiveness of different styles of writing and various medial procedures of representation will be tried out and reflected upon in the workshops. Cooperation with critics from the FAZ, SZ, Kunstforum International, Merkur and Texte zur Kunst will guarantee a practical relevance and permit networking in future professions. The collaboration with online platforms such as terra critica will introduce digital forms of publication of critique. Doctoral candidates may choose one of the guest critics as a mentor to accompany them during the process of writing their dissertation. This elective is under the direction of Prof. Dr. Andreas Bernard. (Participation in one writing workshop is mandatory)

International conference (mandatory): at the end of the second year, an international conference will be held on a topic to be determined in conjunction with the doctoral candidates. The limitation to only one conference per cohort is due to a concern to give doctoral candidates enough time for intensive work aimed at a rapid completion of their dissertation. Regular exchanges with external scholars will be provided by smaller, and so more specific formats, such as workshops and feedback workshops intended to address the issues of the projects.

Integration into the Leuphana doctoral program

The mandatory program of studies for each doctoral candidates in the research training group is coordinated with the doctoral program (Promotionsstudium ) of the Leuphana Graduate School. In addition to individual work on the dissertation and the thesis defense, the doctoral regulations of the Department of Cultural Studies at Leuphana require the acquisition of 25 CPs through attendance of module units. These requirements are fully covered by the program of studies of the research training group.

Above and beyond the compulsory program of studies internal to the seminar, doctoral candidates are free to attend the courses of the doctoral seminar at Leuphana, such as the interdisciplinary module on Scientific Practice/Ethics, Philosophy of Science, or methodological modules for specific disciplines (for example, at the doctoral programs Representation Visuality Knowledge, Philosophy, Literature & History, Knowledge Cultures and Digital Media and Sociology and Cultural Organisation). It is suggested that doctoral candidates attend accompanying courses that transmit such key qualifications as techniques of presentation and rhetoric.