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It is accepted that social media exacerbates social divides. The profit models of platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to maximise I-it relations. They embolden various forms of harassment and manipulation while impeding trust and reflection. As a humanist approach, dialogue as envisaged by Martin Buber is a means of relationship-building. Beyond its goal of consensus, it offers a path toward the appreciation of subjective interiorities outside one’s own. This in turn facilitates openness from previously held convictions.  In the context of social media, Buberian dialogue promises to enrich the realm of online diplomacy and participatory democracy. This session will explore its role and potential applications in this realm.

Speaker: Marcus Hallside
Reading list for this seminar:

Both inside and outside of the academy we witness the continued attempts of bringing people and disciplines, scholars and themes 'in dialogue' with each other. But how are we to understand dialogue in digital terms, in times of war and after a global pandemic? Is it possible to establish a dialogical relation despite or even through conflict? What can a praxis of dialogue look like that would be able to help us live through the besetting realities of our time? In this seminar we will explore answers to these questions, inspired by Martin Buber’s dialogical philosophy, but welcoming other authors and perspectives to address these issues. Taking a cue from last year’s reflections on Buber’s philosophy of communication, this year we will approach its main tenet – the mutual relation of trust and individual recognition at the core of dialogue – from the angles of a variety of different approaches and in the light of the pressing issues of the contemporary moment.  

This seminar series is hosted in collaboration with The Global Lehrhaus, an international platform for education and reflection on issues of common concern, initiated in 2020 by Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jessica Brown and inspired by the Freies Jüdisches Lehrhaus (Free House of Jewish Learning), a centre for continuing education that used to be directed by Franz Rosenzweig, and after him by Martin Buber. 

Convenors: Johan Siebers (Bloch Centre/Middlesex University) and Federico Filauri (IMLR)

Seminars will be held online, via Zoom. Advance online registration essential.

Information about other seminars in the series

Image: Camille Pissarro, 'Conversation' (1881) [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]