Interdisciplinary and International Workshop with keynotes by Chiara Cappelletto & Marcus Steinweg, 10:30 - 19:00. Registration required. Registration Deadline November 17, 2017.

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Alternative Facts: Between Fact, Fiction, and Politics

Free Workshop for doctoral and advanced students and researchers from the humanities and beyond / Limited participants / Registration required by November 17, 2017


Registration: Free admission with required registration via:
alternative-facts-workshop@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de (Please include short information about academic background.)

Deadline: November 17, 2017 (Number of participants is limited.)


The attacks by Donald Trump’s administration on the media and the coining of the term alternative facts have ever since fueled controversy over the relationship between discourses of power and distortion of ‘reality’ as well as the nature of ‘facts.’ While the term alternative facts is deeply intertwined with political questions, the concept of facts also calls upon other disciplines ranging from law, history, and social sciences to philosophy, rhetoric and literary studies which are driven by the nuances of fact and fiction.

The controversy tackles questions such as: Have all efforts to deconstruct the strict dichotomies between subjective and objective reality been in vain? What validity should be given to the accusation that different ways of undermining concepts of objective truth are now working in favor of authoritarian power instead of questioning it? What does it mean to speak of the present as a “post-truth era” and what are the implications of a contemporary ‘public’ discourse shaped by distrust? The workshop invites to investigate what actually lies at the heart of the problem of alternative facts and which role academia should play in the development of new perspectives on the cross-disciplinary and cross-national theorizing of facts.

Workshop Requirements and Format

The workshop offers an interactive setting to discuss the different aspects of alternative facts. The workshop starts with a reading group session focusing on selected texts for an in-depth study of the concept. The reading group is followed by a two-panel session with guest speakers Chiara Cappelletto (response by Klaus Benesch) and Marcus Steinweg (response by Susanne Lüdemann).

Material: A reader with the selected texts will be made available to the participants upon confirmation.

Target Participants: Doctoral and advanced students and researchers from the humanities and beyond.

Main Language of Discussion: English

Workshop Program

10.00 – 10.30     Warm-up Coffee
10.30 – 12.00     Contextualizing Alternative Facts – Reading Group
12.00 – 14.00     Lunch Break
14.00 – 15.30     First Panel (Chair: Jenny Willner)
14.00 – 14.30     Chiara Cappelletto (Milan): Alternative facts, fiction and as if
14.30 – 14.45     Response by Klaus Benesch (Munich)
14.45 – 15.30     Discussion
15.30 – 16.00     Coffee Break
16.00 – 17.30     Second Panel (Chair: Johannes Ungelenk)
16.00 – 16.30     Marcus Steinweg (Berlin): “Ich erzähle die Gegengeschichte zu einem Faktum” –Alexander Kluge
16.30 – 16.45     Response by Susanne Lüdemann (Munich)
16.45 – 17.30     Discussion  
17.30 – 19.00     Reception

About the Speakers

Chiara Cappelletto is Associate Professor of Aesthetics in the Philosophy Department at the University of Milan, where she teaches Poetics and Rhetoric and Contemporary Aesthetics, and an associate member of CRAL at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She studies the aesthetic processes through which the subject is built, and the dynamics of incorporation and expression of identity through different types of media within fictional environments. Her major publications include Figure della rappresentazione. Gesto e citazione in Walter Benjamin e Bertolt Brecht (2002), Il rito delle pulci. Wittgenstein morfologo (2004), and Neuroestetica. L’arte del cervello (2009 and 2012). She has also authored numerous articles, and edited several collections.

Marcus Steinweg is a philosopher. His work is located at the intersection of philosophy and art and comprises public lectures as well as cooperations with artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Rosemarie Trockel. He teaches at the Berlin University of Arts and is Visiting Professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. He is the coeditor of the journal Inaesthetics and his recent works include Inconsistencies (2017) and The Terror of Evidence (2017). Steinweg lives and works in Berlin.

Graduate School Language & Literature – Class of Literature, LMU Munich
In cooperation with the Bavarian American Academy and Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations


Further information: http://www.prolit.uni-muenchen.de/veranstaltungen/workshop/index.html


For questions please contact: alternative-facts-workshop@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de


(Picture: ©Noah Kösel)