Hannah Arendt: Challenges of Plurality

Paderborn University, 13th – 15th December 2018

In her writings, Hannah Arendt strongly affirms the plurality of the common world. From the very first moment, when she introduces the notion in The Human Condition, it becomes clear that plurality is the cornerstone of condition humaine. For Arendt, plurality means that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world”. This seemingly banal assumption affects her entire political theory considerably.

Plurality entails two aspects: equality and difference – we are all humans, but everyone is exceptional in her or his uniqueness. But as such, it not only enriches the world, but also becomes a source of significant challenges: acting together in spite of our differences, thinking as an inner dialogue with a particularly demanding dialogue partner, judging politically with respect to an ever-changing spectrum of possible standpoints are all challenging practices we confront in the common world.

This conference aims at exploring challenges posed by plurality, but also opportunities it offers. As an interdisciplinary endeavor, it opens up for different approaches to Arendt, inviting scholars from fields such as philosophy, politics, theology, media studies, sociology, gender studies, history, and others. It also prompts examination of interplay with other theorists (such as Agamben, Butler, Cavarero, Foucault, or Merleau-Ponty). We want to tackle currently relevant problems, such as migration politics and human rights, but also raise ever-present issues, such as the philosophical potential of the concept of plurality, possible foundations of normativity in our contingent world, or stimuli for political action.

The list of invited speakers includes:

Nils Baratella, Hannah Arendt Zentrum, Universität Oldenburg

Marieke Borren, University of Utrecht

Ayten Gündoğdu, Barnard College

Annabel Herzog, University of Haifa

Wolfgang Heuer, FU Berlin

Sophie Loidolt, Universität Kassel

Patricia Owens, University of Sussex

Stefanie Rosenmüller, FH Dortmund

Anya Topolski, Radbound University

Christian Volk, FU Berlin

Submission guidelines:

We invite paper proposals including a title, an abstract of maximum 500 words, name and affiliation of the author, as well as contact information. The presentation time is 30 minutes with additional 10 minutes for discussion. The conference language is English.

Please submit your proposal via email ( by 15th February 2018.


Tobias Matzner, Paderborn University

Maria Robaszkiewicz, Paderborn University

Jochen Schmidt, Paderborn University


Maria Robaszkiewicz: