Titles & Abstracts

Familiarize yourself with our keynote titles and workshops before making your way to Witten.  Below you shall find the titles with short abstracts accompanying them. Be sure to check out our LITERATURE LIST in preperation

If you are joining us digitally, look at the Online Workshop section to see which interesting sessions you could register for. Also, be sure to have a look at our guide for online participants for more info.

Keynote Titles

Leviathan in the shadows: technocratic exceptionalism and new forms of state-market relations

Democracy in Crisis?

Sentiments and Revolution, and the Role of the Individual in (Political) History

Democracy, national and transnational

In Presence Workshops

The Child as Narrator: demystifying cultural chaos through the viewpoint of those without power

The failure of politics and journalism to address democracy’s biggest threat: the climate crisis

Democracy as work in progress

Between power and privileges: Democracy starts with people

Online Workshops

Joining Politics: Developing and propagating political ideas in democracy (SATURDAY)

Thinking outside the box – New System Old Democratic Concept (SUNDAY)

Keynote Speakers & Workshop Hosts

This year we are very grateful to boast a diverse array of intellectuals who shall be leading the conference. Below you shall find some information on our esteemed speakers and workshop hosts to get an idea of their background and expertise. 


Dr. William Outhwaite

William Outhwaite, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, taught at the universities of Sussex and Newcastle, where he is emeritus professor of sociology. Prior to his habilitation, he has received a BA from Oxford University and subsequently completed an MA and DPhil at the University of Sussex. William Outhwaite’s studies focus on the philosophy of social sciences and his writings revolve around the future of society. His works are inspired by the critical theory of the Frankfurt School of social theory, to which he has contributed extensive contemplations of the possible emergence of a transnational society and its political implications.

William Outhwaite is the author of Understanding Social Life: The Method Called Verstehen (1975, 2nd edn. 1986), Concept Formation in Social Science (1983), New Philosophies of Social Science: Realism, Hermeneutics and Critical Theory (1987), Habermas (1994), The Future of Society (2006), European Society (2008), Critical Theory and Contemporary Europe (2012), Social Theory (2015), Europe since 1989: Transitions and Transformations (2016), Contemporary Europe (2017), Transregional Europe (2020) and (with Larry Ray) Social Theory and Postcommunism (2005). 


Dr. William Outhwaite

Univ.-Prof. Dr. habil. Joscha Wullweber

Joscha Wullweber currently holds the Heisenberg professorship for Politics, Transformation, and Sustainability at Witten/Herdecke University. His research revolves around national, international, and transnational governance of political-economic and -ecological processes and structures. Dr. Wullweber has studied history of politics and economics in Hamburg and subsequently finished a Masters in global political economy at the University of Sussex. He completed his PhD at the University of Kassel with a work titled Hegemony, Discourse, and Political Economy: The Nanotechnology project. His current research focuses on the role of central banks within the political process. His research is underpinned by a continuous interest in the dynamics of social and political transformations.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. habil. Joscha Wullweber

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Nils-Christian Bormann

Nils-Christian Bormann is a political scientist in the Department of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Witten/Herdecke University. He obtained his Doctor of Sciences from ETH Zürich in 2014 and subsequently held positions at the Universities of Exeter and Essex in the United Kingdom. His research explores the causes of multiethnic coalitions and civil wars, the development of economic inequalities between ethnic groups, and the reasons why democracies fail. In 2020, he was awarded 1.5 Million Euro by the European Research Council to study the relationship between political coalitions and democratic breakdown in Interwar Europe.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Nils-Christian Bormann

Dr. Edwina Hagen

Edwina Hagen is an Assistant Professor of Cultural History and Undergraduate Coordinator of the VU History Department. She also teaches at the Amsterdam University College and the Radboud University Nijmegen. At the VU, she teaches courses at BA and MA level on Early Modern European History, Cultural History, Revolutions and History of Emotions. Hagen's research focuses on the connection between culture and politics during the revolutionary period in the Netherlands (1780-1815). Her qualitative and biographical approach reflects a particular historical interest in human agency and the individual, as evidenced by people’s changing practices, emotions and attitudes toward power and political authority. Her work highlights revolutionary efforts to reshape cultural norms about femininity, masculinity, gender and power relations, as well as religious and civic virtues and national identity. 


Dr. Edwina Hagen

Workshop Hosts

Philip Husemann - JoinPolitics (ONLINE)

Philip Husemann is co-managing director of JoinPolitics. His goal: to connect politics and civil society much better. He has already worked professionally in both fields: as a press officer and communications consultant in politics; as co-initiator of HateAid and former managing director of the Open Society Initiative in political civil society. 


About JoinPolitics: The political startup JoinPolitics promotes political talents who develop solutions for the big questions of our time with courage and passion. We support the talents in their implementation with start-up capital of up to 50,000 euros as well as the know-how and network of over 25 coaches and mentors. To find the best political talent, JoinPolitics actively scouts across the country; application rounds take place every six months. 




Philip Husemann

Erik Brüggemann - VOLT (ONLINE)

Erik Brüggemann studied law in Marburg and Norwich and wrote a doctoral thesis on Privacy Law after graduation, which has been submitted and is currently being reviewed. After completing his legal clerkship he now works as an in-house lawyer in Düsseldorf. He is a member of Volt since 2019 and was Local Policy Lead for a time. 

About Volt: 

We are Volt. A pan-European movement and party. We were founded in 2017 - as a reaction and active counter-movement to rising nationalism and populism. We exist because we are convinced that the great challenges of the 21st century can only be solved if we act together across borders. In a Europe in which all people have the same opportunities to develop their full potential.  A Europe that strives for the highest standards of human, social, ecological and technical development.

Dr. Devon Campbell-Hall

Dr. Devon Campbell-Hall is an energetic, transatlantic lecturer who loves every aspect of teaching literature. She completed a PhD entitled 'Writing Asian Britain in Contemporary Anglophone Literature' at the University of Winchester, where she also earned an MA in English: Contemporary Literature. Her BA in English is from Chapman University in California. She was a key contributor to the development of Solent University's English degrees and now serves as the course leader for the BA (Hons) English degree.

Devon is a fellow of the HEA, a member of the Association of Commonwealth Language and Literature Society (Europe), a member of the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), and is actively engaged in presenting her research at international conferences. Academic publications to date include a co-authored student guide, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reviews of several books on various aspects of contemporary and postcolonial literature.


Dr. Devon Campbell-Hall

Peter Unfried

Peter Unfried is a political journalist and lead reporter at the German daily newspaper TAZ. He is also editor in chief of the FUTURZWEI magazine, a journal exploring the future of politics.


Peter Unfried

Dr. Erica Pasini & Noé Petitjean

 Dr. Erica Pasini is a teacher at Amsterdam University College and has worked as a trainer for mediation, conflict resolution and peace negotiations with The Pax Ludens Foundations. With an MA in International Relations and a PhD in Drug Chemistry, Erica Pasini advises governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations on natural and human-made disasters. She has participated in several diplomatic missions around the world, employing a non-partisan approach to conflict resolution and crisis management. As trainer for the Pax Ludens Foundation, she has coached senior level officers at the Dutch Defence College on the diplomatic intricacies of the Greater Middle East, and has collaborated with several NGOs, the Red Cross Movement and the ICRC in training NATO forces to raise awareness of the diplomatic, political and ethical complexities of today’s operational environments in high-ranking military officers. She also works together with a number of world leading scientists of various universities in a joint effort to develop new malaria vaccines and drugs.

Noé Petitjean is a Master’s student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. In his Master’s programme Noé focuses on research methods in peace and conflict research, peace development strategies, and processes of mobilisations in violent organisations. In 2020, he graduated Cum Laude with a Honours Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the Amsterdam University College and completed a thesis exploring Youth’s behaviours in conflict environments. Today, Noé also works on various social entrepreneurial initiatives which aim to foster inter-community youth dialogue, youth collective action and youth participation in European democratic processes. 


Dr. Erica Pasini

Noé Petitjean

Clara Leitz & Ludwig Sontag - Colored Glasses

Clara Leitz, 25, is currently finishing her master’s degrees in environmental leadership and European economics in Nottingham and Tübingen. Before, she studied philosophy and economics in Bayreuth. Since 2012, she is active in the Colored Glasses movement and gives workshops around intercultural communication and discrimination in schools and other settings. Further passions of her are feminism and climate justice.

Ludwig Sontag, 21, studies Physics and Mathematics. From 2017 till 2018 he was an exchange student in Estonia. Since then, he is an active volunteer in Colored Glasses and gives workshops and trainings. He also worked on different European projects to strengthen voluntary work and active citizenship. During his voluntary year he advocated for education for outstanding pupils. His passions are dancing and music.


About Colored Glasses: Colored Glasses is an offer by and for young people that promotes more tolerance and peaceful coexistence in everyday life. Volunteer trainers conduct in a peer-to-peer approach workshops at schools or other institutions for teenagers and young adults. The workshops explain e.g. different treatment/discrimination, prejudices and cultural differences in an experience-based and simple way and make them tangible with a lot of fun. Our target group are young people between the ages of 10 and 20. We aim to reach as many young people as possible with our offer to prevent prejudice, stereotyping and racism and also want to contribute to an active civil society. We offer our workshops free of charge so that as many people as possible can take advantage of it. Colored Glasses is an educational offer of the German Youth for Understanding Komitees e.V (YFU)., an association that has been running international youth exchange programs for more than 60 years.

Clara Leitz

Ludwig Sontag