The Annual Seminars of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory are series of events devoted to central problems of social theory, with a special emphasis on the concept of engagement and its intertwinement with other key phenomena, such as critique, violence, domination and freedom. The Institute has hosted world-renowned theorists within its Annual Seminars.


Within the Annual Topic Series 2020/21 “Horizons of Freedom” we explore the intrinsic link between freedom and engagement with the aim to broaden the conceptual and political horizons of freedom as the central action-guiding principle of democratic politics and spark a more intense dialogue between the antagonistic traditions of thinking freedom in the face of urgent challenges and threats posed to freedom and democracy. By putting an emphasis on the link between freedom on the one hand side and engagement and solidary action on the other we want to assemble voices, institutions and individuals both from Southeast Europe and globally that will form – and perform as – an engaged democratic rhizome ultimately capable to enter the political fight for freedom and democracy.


Starting from a definition of engagement as a social practice that has at its base reflection on values, norms and rules of one’s own social reality, the lecture series for the academic year 2019/20 is dedicated to the horizons, projections and representations of (un)desired reality towards which engagement is directed. If horizons are something yet to be achieved, does engagement then not assume some form of imagination, utopia, perhaps even fiction?


While engagement is often equated with civic activism or political protest, domination frequently becomes the synonym for oppression, exploitation or the existence of societal inequalities. Yet the concept has an equal potential as that of engagement for bridging different levels of abstraction and sparking a holistic reflection on social reality

Violence and Critique

Should we conclude that violence has become constitutive of the modern world? Can one take a critical stance toward violence and what would such stance require?