“To Believe in this World…“
On the Ethics of Experimental Speculations

Friday, 21 June 2019, 2.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Workshop with
Martín Savransky | Melanie Sehgal | Kathrin Thiele

Of late, speculation has been a ubiquitous buzz word, even though – or maybe because – the term has been used in so many and often conflicting ways. But now that the buzz seems to have quieted down, it seems timely to ask where the continuing potentials of as well as the necessities for speculative thought might lie. In order to formulate this question, this workshop with Martín Savransky and Kathrin Thiele departs from Deleuze and Guattari’s diagnosis, put forward in What is Philosophy?, that “(i)t may be that believing in this world, in this life, becomes our most difficult task”. While an intuitive understanding in today’s crisis-ridden world imposes itself rather quickly, we will unpack the implications of this creed for an ethos of speculative thought, for the practice of doing theory today, in this world, inquiring into the connections between empiricism and speculation.

This workshop is a cooperation with Melanie Sehgal and concludes the series of masterclasses “Experimental Speculations / Speculative Experimentations” that she has been organizing at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) since 2012, a series that brought artists, theorists and scientists – among them Xavier Le Roy, Steven Shaviro, Vicki Kirby, and Isabelle Stengers – in conversation about their speculative and experimental practices.

Attendance is limited. To register and receive the reading materials, please send an email to Lisa Schubert.


Martín Savransky is Lecturer and Director of the Unit of Play at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. Interested in pragmatism, speculative and empirical philosophy, and the politics of postcolonial difference, his work experiments with a radical pluralism of knowledge-making and world-making practices. He is the author of The Adventure of Relevance (2016), co-editor of Speculative Research: The Lure of Posible Futures (2017), and guest-editor of Isabelle Stengers and the Dramatization of Philosophy (2018). He is currently working on a forthcoming book titled Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse.

Kathrin Thiele is Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Critical Theory in the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. Trained transdisciplinarily in Gender Studies, Sociology, Literary Studies and Critical Theory, her research focuses on questions of ethics and politics from queer feminist, decolonial and posthuman(ist) perspectives. Her published work intervenes in contemporary feminist debates around (sexual) differences, de/coloniality and new materialism/posthumanisms and she pays specific attention to the planetary condition of differential relationality as onto-political implicatedness and entanglement. In her current book project, she pushes critical thinking towards a queer feminist cosmopolitics with which she aims to strengthen critically aware analyses in the broader humanities. Together with Birgit M. Kaiser she cofounded Terra Critica: Interdisciplinary Network for the Critical Humanities.

Melanie Sehgal is Junior Professor of Literary, Science and Media Studies at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). She holds a PhD in Philosophy from Technische Universität Darmstadt and is the author of Eine situierte Metaphysik. Empirismus und Spekulation bei William James und Alfred North Whitehead (2016). Together with the artist Alex Martinis Roe, she is leading the multidisciplinary working group FORMATIONS, which is experimentally exploring techniques of knowing beyond modern habits of thought. She is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Network for the Critical Humanities Terra Critica.