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Recent events have raised the spectre of a renewed cold war that threatens the stability of the international order, while deepening the distrust between peoples and nations. Can Buber’s concept of dialogue forge new bonds of trust on the international stage?


Paul Mendes-Flohr (Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago and the Hebrew University, and President of The Global Lehrhaus)

Johan Siebers (Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Middlesex University London, and Director, Ernst Bloch Centrer for German Thought at theIMLR, University of London)

Vic Seidler (Emeritus Professor of Social Theory in the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London and Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Leo Baeck College)

Reading list for this seminar:

Reading 1     Reading 2     Reading 3

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 (via The Global Lehrhaus)

Information about other seminars in the series

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