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The Covid-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated foundational issues of inequality, access to medical care and loneliness. How can Buberian dialogical perspectives serve our communities during this crisis?


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

Muhammad Zaman (Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Global Health, Boston University)

Jessica Brown (Executive Director, The Global Lehrhaus)

Reading list for this seminar:

'Dialogue In and "After" the Covid Pandemic'. An unpublished excerpt from P. Mendes-Flohr’s Introduction to the Centennial edition of I and Thou.

Wolpe, David: 'What Would Martin Buber Think of Zoom?' Los Angeles Review of Books, July 20, 2020.

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]