Weitermachen: The Task of Social Philosophy Revisited

November 24, 2023 - November 25, 2023
School of Philosophy, University College Dublin

University College Dublin

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

This event is available both online and in-person

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Weitermachen: The Task of Social Philosophy Revisited
An International Symposium in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Institute for Social Research (1923-2023)

24-25 November 2023 • University College Dublin • Hybrid Event

To attend (in person or online), register here: https://forms.gle/JBzPa1yv2MPzjYc96. 

This year, as we mark the quasquicentennial of Herbert Marcuse's birth (1898), the semicentennial of Max Horkheimer's passing (1973), and the centenary of the Institute for Social Research (1923), among others, we are hosting an international symposium on critical social theory, with the broad theme of "Weitermachen" as our central focus.

The word "weitermachen", engraved on Marcuse's tombstone in Berlin, means 'to carry on' or 'to keep on going.' While the concept has played a significant role in the Frankfurt School's commitments towards radical social change, the concept, nevertheless, has likewise been at the heart of a tension within the Institut für Sozialforschung. With the centenary of the Institute, one could inquire, adapting the title of Benedetto Croce's oft-cited book on Hegel, what is living and what is dead in critical theory today? However, this would be to suggest a final settling of accounts, a forensic distance ill-suited to a tradition we take still to be of contemporary moment, and whose promise and potential, if they are to be realised, require that committed scholarship carry into the new the ideals of the old. Thus, in this upcoming two-day symposium, we endeavour to reflect on the contemporary significance of weitermachen against the backdrop of the broader project of critical social theory, now considering its developments within and beyond the Frankfurt School. More specifically, we intend to ask, what does it mean to keep on going today? This question not only examines the practical strategies of critical theory and social movements, insofar as the realisation of the normative claims of critical theory are concerned; it can also be deployed as a reflexive inquiry intended to examine the very commitments of contemporary critical social theory.

Our speakers include:

  1. Maeve Cooke (UCD)
  2. Danielle Petherbridge (UCD)
  3. John McGuire (UCD)
  4. David James (University of Warwick)
  5. Giovanna Luciano (Università degli Studi di Padova)
  6. Simon Gurisch (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)
  7. Kelly Agra (UCD)
  8. Bárbara Nascimento De Lima (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais / UCD)
  9. Ranier Abengana (UCD)
  10. Haikyung Kwon (UCD)
  11. Sam Ferns (UCD)
  12. Safae el Khannoussi (University of Amsterdam)
  13. Lena Nowak-Laird (The New School of Social Research)
  14. Rik Ouwerkkerk (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
  15. Lisann Penttila (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
  16. Blake Scott (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

All are welcome! We warmly invite you to join and engage with us in this symposium, where we explore these questions and navigate the evolving landscape of critical social theory. We are providing the option for non-presenting participants to join us remotely via Zoom. Whether you wish to attend in person or online, please register here (https://forms.gle/JBzPa1yv2MPzjYc96), as it would help us ensure that we can accommodate everyone.

Please direct your enquiries to the organisers: Ranier Abengana ([email protected]), Haikyung Kwon ([email protected]), or Sam Ferns ([email protected]).

We would like to express our gratitude to the School of Philosophy for their generous funding, as well as our special appreciation to Professor Brian O'Connor and Dr Danielle Petherbridge for their invaluable support and substantial contribution in making this event possible.

We will get in touch again soon with the official programme. Please feel free to circulate this announcement to your respective networks.

with kind regards,

Ranier Abengana, Haikyung Kwon, and Sam Ferns
School of Philosophy
University College Dublin

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




November 21, 2023, 11:45pm IST

External Site

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.