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Workshop: Political Theory as a ‚Race‘ Critical Theory – Challenging the Banality of Racism

22-23 October 2015

Workshop at Justus Liebig University Giessen
Giessen Graduate Centre for Social Sciences, Business, Economics and Law (GGS)
22-23 October 2015

In the face of growing anti-democratic hate movements across Europe such as Pegida in Germany and an alarming surge in racist attacks against people of colour, Black people and refugees, mainstream political theory remains strikingly silent. Likewise, by misinterpreting racism as a thing of the past or as misguided individual prejudices, political theory has largely ignored the reality of everyday racism that operates under the radar of these hypervisualized and mediatised outbursts of hate speech and organized violence.

The silence of political theory suggests that classical concepts of multiculturalism, republicanism, recognition and justice might be inadequate to tackle the banality of racism in Europe‘s postcolonial and post-fascist societies. Based on this assumption, the workshop aims to widen the field of political theory’s hegemonic canon and concepts. Which theoretical strands and marginalized forms of knowledge are necessary to establish political theory as a ‚race‘ critical theory? Which concepts enable political theory to both grasp and critique racist habits, practices, discourses and institutions in democratic societies? How can political theory confront the legacies and continuities of European colonialisms and racisms that reverberate epistemologically within its own discipline? And finally, what is the responsibility of politically and ethically engaged academics in the light of an ever increasing racism?

This two-day interdisciplinary workshop will gather scholars working in the fields of political theory, legal theory, sociology and philosophy to share their different theoretical perspectives on racism in its interdependency with classism, sexism, homo- and trans*phobia. Besides individual papers, a roundtable discussion will highlight their engagement with bridging the gap between a ‚race‘ critical theory and an anti-racist political practice.


  • Nabila Tassadit Abbas, RWTH Aachen/Université Paris 8
  • Emmanuel Ametepeh, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Yoko Arisaka, University of Hildesheim
  • Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Felmon Davis, Union College, Schenectady
  • Jeanette Ehrmann, Goethe University Frankfurt/Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Andrea Härtel, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Daniel James, University of Konstanz
  • Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Université Genève/Collège international de philosophie, Paris
  • Regina Kreide, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Fitsum Resome Teddla, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Vanessa Eileen Thompson, Goethe University Frankfurt


Participation in the workshop is open to all interested and free of charge. For logistical reasons, please register by 15 October 2015: