Das Medium Sinn ist in der Moderne der Gesellschaft diabolisch geworden – im genauen Verständnis dieses Wortes: als ein Durcheinanderwerfen aller Gültigkeiten. Ein Befund dieser Art führt zwangsläufig in die Diskussion um die Form von Sinn, Unsinn, Nicht-Sinn.

Im Zentrum von Peter Fuchs’ jüngsten Arbeiten steht in diesem Zusammenhang die (paradoxe) Frage nach einer Phänomenologie des Nicht-Sinns. Die Chance zum Ausloten möglicher Antworten bot sich aber nicht theoretisch an, sie stieß ihm zu – als neun Monate währendes postoperatives Delir. Fünf davon war er bewusstlos, vier verbrachte er in einem Pflegeheim, geschüttelt von Halluzinationen. Jede empirische Belastbarkeit der Realität von Sinn ist während dieser zweiten Phase getilgt worden. Das Gespräch mit Markus Heidingsfelder ist der Versuch, das perplexe Erleben des Wahns zu verarbeiten.


The medium of meaning has become diabolical in modern society – in the precise understanding of this word: as a muddling of all validity. A finding of this kind inevitably leads into the discussion about the form of meaning, nonsense, non-sense.

In this context, Peter Fuchs’ most recent work focuses on the (paradoxical) question of a phenomenology of non-sense. The opportunity to explore possible answers did not present itself theoretically, however, it came to him – as nine months of post-operative delirium. Five of them he was unconscious, four he spent in a nursing home, shaken by hallucinations. Any empirical resilience to the reality of meaning was erased during this second phase. The conversation with Markus Heidingsfelder is an attempt to process this perplexing experience of madness.

Merve celebrates the publication of the first volume of Friedrich Kittler’s Complete Works

I.B.4: Zu Lebzeiten Veröffentlichtes. Aufsätze, Artikel, Rezensionen und Miszellen (Published during his lifetime. Essays, articles, reviews and miscellanies). 1981–1983

Edited by Luisa Drews and Eva Horn

Saturday, 07 May 2022 19.30

diffrakt | zentrum für theoretische peripherie

Crellestraße 22

10827 Berlin

Wir laden ein zum China-Streitgespräch

Die Winterolympiade steht vor der Tür. Doch statt sportlichen Erwartungen ist die Rede vom politischen Boykott, von Menschenrechtsverletzungen und Internierungslagern. Anlass für den Verband für Wirtschaft und Umwelt ein Streitgespräch zu organisieren.

Prof. Björn Alpermann, Sinologe an der Universität Würzburg, hat gerade sein Buch “Xinjiang – China und die Uiguren” veröffentlicht, in dem er auf die Geschichte und die aktuellen Konflikte in der Provinz Xinjiang eingeht.

Jürgen Kurz, langjähriger Unternehmer in Shanghai, ist mit einer Chinesin aus Xinjiang verheiratet. Er bereist regelmäßig die Provinz und postet seine Reiseberichte.

Beide Diskutanten sind in der Partei Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen engagiert, plädieren für ein differenziertes Chinabild, gehen aber von unterschiedlichen Positionen an die im Westen diskutierten Fragen zu der Menschenrechtslage in China aus.

Wir erwarten ein spannendes Streitgespräch zum Jahresbeginn und wünschen ein gesundes und erfolgreiches Jahr 2022.

Mit klimafreundlichen Grüßen
Guido Dahm

We invite you to a China dispute

The Winter Olympics are just around the corner. But instead of sporting expectations, there is talk of a political boycott, human rights violations and internment camps. Reason enough for the Association for Economy and Environment to organise a dispute discussion.

Prof. Björn Alpermann, sinologist at the University of Würzburg, has just published his book “Xinjiang – China and the Uyghurs”, in which he discusses the history and current conflicts in the province of Xinjiang.

Jürgen Kurz, an entrepreneur in Shanghai for many years, is married to a Chinese woman from Xinjiang. He regularly travels the province and posts his travel reports.

Both discussants are active in the party Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, plead for a differentiated image of China, but take different positions on the issues discussed in the West concerning the human rights situation in China.

We expect an exciting debate at the beginning of the year and wish you a healthy and successful 2022.

With climate-friendly greetings
Guido Dahm

Meeting registration

  1. You put a question mark in the title. What makes you doubt that world society is in a state of emergency?
    In short, we prefer to ask rather than decree. The book is a conversation about what “Corona” means for and in world society. The expression “state of emergency” comes up often. But how valid is it? To speak of world society is to speak of a social context that includes all variations of its own form. Meaning: There is no society outside of society, or in other words: world society makes no exceptions to itself. So what we are experiencing right now is not an exception, but such a form variant of world society. By the way, it is not a state at all; rather, it is a far more dynamic situation than is usually the case in everyday life. But just because habits are out of step does not mean that it is a state of emergency. It is rather the case that our daily routines, the security of our affluent niche of the world, are suddenly out of step. The poorer regions of the world are accustomed to insecurity – which is why, sadly, we in our niche are already discussing again whether we should be entitled to progress in the form of vaccinations and medicines, because we can pay for our security.
    When we conceived the volume, we had the impression of watching a society in the process of learning, of observing a society that is questioning, searching, and perhaps in a way that has been missing for a long time, inquisitive – hence the question mark.
  2. Does a printed book still make sense in such turbulent times as we live in today? Already after having read the last few lines, the world can be a completely different place with virus mutations or new lockdown rules.
    Yes, of course the world can be a different one at any moment, and yes, of course the temptation is great to take this assessment as a sedative so as to be able to go back to sleep. Every weariness can be theorised into meaninglessness in this way. But neither of us had such an overwhelming need for rest, and neither did the many contributors. We couldn’t meet each other, but nothing stood in the way of writing.
    And if you are alluding to the anachronism of the book: one cannot be surprised about the limited chances of reception of one’s own writing. But if you want to be read and discussed, the book is still the most attractive form of publication, because journal articles are only assessed but not read, and online publications have no distinction whatsoever and simply get lost in the associative media networks.
  3. Either way, what approach are you taking with the book, which approaches the pandemic from five different angles?
    Either way, our aim was to link perspectives, but neither to parallelise nor to hierarchise them. We had to accept that a book forces us to create a sequential order. The point was simply to describe what was happening – in order to understand. Why is it that some people seem to strategically hope that the use of the term “state of emergency” will give rise to certain rights of intervention that are not connected with this term at all? Could this simply be understood as a delight in authoritarian speculation, which has in any case been drawing ever wider circles in recent times? And in connection with this: How could the disdain for China be countered? When the pandemic began, Europe and America reassured themselves in their usual arrogance that they were so completely different from Asia that its problems were not or could never become our problems. And when the pandemic continued, they thought they did not even have to pay attention to Chinese or Korean forms of crisis management because they were not acceptable in this country. All this seemed pitiless, contemptuous and strategically unwise at the very least, and yet there was a simple remedy for this: talk.
  4. You write that the world society “no longer separates any outside and no longer isolates any inside”. Is this definition still tenable – at a time when we are closing borders again, banning flights, restricting fundamental rights and debating vaccination nationalism? For sure. Why else are the border closures such a scandal or even an issue? What we apparently find hard to bear, however, are limits on prosperity: We are prepared to scandalise border closures or flight bans when they limit our tourism, but not when they endanger the lives of refugees. These are challenges to fundamental rights for the refugees, not for the tourists. And the fact that national governments are at the mercy of pharmaceutical and hospital companies in view of the shortage of intensive care beds and vaccines has finally come to light as a problem once again, but it is not new. The fact that it could be a mistake to privatise hospitals and then have hardly any direct control options in the event of a crisis has in any case been known for some time. Ultimately, all these older structural problems have created complex problems of negotiation, which are time-consuming and result in compromises that will disappoint some, but which do not restrict any fundamental right. Compromise is the only sustainable crisis resolution we know.

Questions: Sebastian Paul. Translated by M.H. For the full interview, see ZU Daily (to be published on 21st of February 21): https://www.zu-daily.de/daily/index.php

Image: OVID-19 Outbreak World Map Total Deaths per Capita.svg, by Dan Polansky and authors of File:BlankMap-World.svg.

German: Wenn »Corona« der Name einer globalen Krise ist, dann kann dieser Name keinen Ausnahmezustand bezeichnen. Krisen sind nichts Außeralltägliches – und von der Welt kann sich nichts ausnehmen oder ausgenommen werden. Die Weltgesellschaft ist eine inklusive Umgebung, die alle ihre Grenzen untereinander vernetzt, die kein Außen mehr abtrennt und kein Innen mehr isoliert, die komplex und unsicher ist und von der es keinen Rückzug in Einfachheit und Sicherheit gibt – eine an Schärfe und Bitternis kaum zu unterschätzende Erkenntnis. Durch »Corona«, wird diese Erkenntnis anschaulich und begreiflich: als ein Hinweis auf die Implikationen vernetzter, inklusiver Globalität; als ein Problem, das Wahrnehmung und Beobachtung gleichermaßen herausfordert, weil es Ausdruck einer noch unverstandenen Krise ist.

Mit dem vorliegenden Sammelband bringen Markus Heidingsfelder und Maren Lehmann die Auseinandersetzung mit dieser Krise auf die Höhe der gesellschaftlichen Praxis. Konzipiert als ein Beobachtungsgeflecht unterschiedlicher Disziplinen und Perspektiven, vereint er gleichermaßen begriffliche Erklärungen wie situative Wahrnehmungen, die das eigene Nichtwissen – die individuelle Betroffenheit – als eine Formvariante des Problemverstehens ernst nehmen, anstatt es als dessen Vorform zu diskreditieren.

English: If “Corona” is the name of a global crisis, then this name cannot designate a state of exemption (‘Ausnahmezustand’). Crises are not something extra-ordinary – and nothing can be exempted or excluded from the world. The world society is an inclusive environment, which interlinks all its borders, which no longer separates any outside from any inside, which is complex and insecure, and from which there is no retreat into simplicity and security – an insight that can hardly be underestimated in its sharpness and bitterness. Through “Corona”, this insight becomes vivid and comprehensible: as an indication of the implications of networked, inclusive globality; as a problem that challenges perception and observation in equal measure, because it is the expression of a crisis that has not yet been understood.

Conceived as a network of observations from various disciplines and perspectives, this anthology by Markus Heidingsfelder and Maren Lehmann combines both conceptual explanations and situational perceptions that take one’s own lack of knowledge – individual consternation – seriously, instead of discrediting it as a preliminary form of understanding.

Inhalt/Table of contents:

Letters Against Separation
Liu Ding, Liu Qingshuo & Carol Yinghua Lu
Die große Überforderung
Durs Grünbein
Die luftleitenden Anteile der Lunge
Durs Grünbein
Seuchen am See
Barbara Vinken
»Artists in Quarantine«: Die Kunstwelt und das Problem entleerter Heroik
Jörg Heiser
Immer Ärger mit Corona – Skizze zu einer grassierenden Theatromanie
Peter Fuchs

Corona und die pulsierende Gesellschaft
Dirk Baecker
Systemic Integration and the Need for De-Integration in Pandemic Times
Elena Esposito
Global disease surveillance systems and cooperation in Covid-19: Lessons not learned
Alka Menon
»Led by the Science«
Michael King
Crisis Transitions in the World Risk Society
Gorm Harste
Verbotene und erlaubte Sozialformen
Fritz B. Simon

Covid-19 and governments: ›Emerging infectious diseases‹ and governance. Some preliminary thoughts
Fang Ying, Heiner Fangerau & Alfons Labisch
Chinas Kampf gegen Corona: Historische Erfahrungen, innen- und außenpolitische Implikationen
Thomas Heberer
Das Virus der Anderen. Diskursive Ausschlussdynamiken und der neue Orientalismus im frühen Diskurs über Covid-19
Marius Meinhof

Die Pandemie als Profilierungschance: Papst Franziskus, Donald Trump, Byung-chul Han und Corona
Hans-Georg Moeller
Prophetisches Wächteramt. Eine Erinnerung
Alexandra Grund-Wittenberg
Theologie im Schatten der Coronakrise
Günter Thomas

Wer hat Angst vor’m schwarzen Mann? Das »Infektionsgeschehen« als Spiel
Joachim Landkammer
Lachen über Covid-19? Psychologische Wege des Umgangs mit der Corona-Krise
Arist von Schlippe
Notstands-Staat als Staat der Zukunft? Die skandalöse und entscheidende Frage vom Rand der Pandemie
Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht






Critical theory is a Western, and distinctly European, intellectual tradition that drew its normative resources from the social and political events that transpired in Europe over the course of the 20th century. It is relevant to ask the question whether, as a critical-practical tradition, critical theory has anything to contribute outside the Western-European context, given the emergence of globalization and the issues that arose with it. For some, the Eurocentrism of critical theory is symptomatic of its very own crisis, one which challenges the universality of its normative claims, e.g., the abolition of social injustice. Is it possible for critical theory to overcome its Eurocentrism and, therefore, its own crisis?
The irony is that critical theory is only able to defend the universality of its normative claims when it is able to renew itself. If it is at all possible to renew critical theory, what does this renewal entail? The workshop will pursue these questions by expanding the scope of traditional critical theory, especially, but not exclusively, by drawing on critical perspectives on modern societies and emancipation movements that have originated in Asia.

While critical theory has asserted its role as the vanguard of protecting the interest of the oppressed, the pursuit of justice, and the abolition of domination and alienation in society, the question of who is the oppressed, what is justice, and who and what is dominated or alienated remains prevalent. The need to revise, re-align, and remap the trajectories of critical theory becomes an essential call to arms as we continue to experience injustice, domination, and oppression in new forms that displaces our traditional ideas of justice, domination, and oppression. From this vantage point, there is a need to move critical theory beyond the margins of its intended scope and look at the possibility where future discourses in critical theory can become juxtaposed in pursuit of its intended normative goals. There is a need to renew, revisit, and revise existing conceptions of social justice when its possibility entails contrary effects.

Morning session, 10:00am
“Critical Theory at the Margins”
Paolo A. Bolaños, University of Santo Tomas
“Filial Piety vs Critique of Blood Vengeance”
Lee Tingmien, University of Macau
“Critical Theory and Tradition”
Jovito V. Cariño, University of Santo Tomas
Moderator: Christine Tan, University of Santo Tomas

Early afternoon session, 01:15pm
“Profile Politics: A Critique of the ‘White Left’ (bai zuo ⽩左)”
Hans-Georg Moeller, University of Macau
“Critical Theory and Recognition”
Roland Theuas Pada, University of Santo Tomas
“Critical Theory and Revolution”
Raniel Reyes, University of Santo Tomas
Moderator: Ranier Abengaña, University of Santo Tomas

Late afternoon session, 04:00pm
“Critical Perspectives on National and Civilizational
Identities: Solidarity and Enthusiasm”
Daniel Sarafinas, University of Macau
“Free Fall: A Hegelian Critique of the Gambling Rabble”
Mario Wenning, University of Macau
Moderator: Anton Rennesland, University of Santo Tomas

24 OCTOBER 2020, SATURDAY | 10:00 AM TO 6:00 PM (UTC +8)
ZOOM MEETING-ID: 976 4344 1616 | PASSCODE: 241020