Critical phenomenology of the we

Classical phenomenology offers not only incisive analyses of intentionality, experience, selfhood, empathy and interpersonal understanding, but also quite sophisticated investigations of collective intentionality, affective sharing, social participation, communal experience, and group identity. Indeed, while starting with an interest in the individual mind, phenomenologists began exploring dyadic forms of interpersonal relations shortly before the start of World War I and were deeply engaged in extensive analyses of communal forms of intentionality during the interwar period – at a time when nationalism was on the rise.

Today, the "We" has not lost its place in philosophical, political, or popular discourse. Within the last decade especially, we have witnessed a renewed interest in the early phenomenological reflections on group formations, communal experiences, empathy, and fellow feeling. Does this renewed interest suggest a need to revise our understanding of the "We", or does it attest to its enduring philosophical, social, and political significance/relevance? How have, for instance, perspectives from critical theory and feminist philosophy provided insights into the importance and limitations of questions of belonging, We-experiences, and We-identities? The current conference aims to investigate how this recent critical turn in phenomenology might support, challenge, extend or qualify the classical phenomenological analyses.

The conference will be in the hybrid format. All speakers will be present in person. We hope to see a large audience in Copenhagen, but the talks will also be live streamed.

Please register here in advance
The registration deadline is May 25 at 12:00.

A zoom link will be made available before the start of the conference.

Day 1: Thursday 1st June (CET)

09:15 – 09:30

Opening remarks

09:30 – 10:45

Johanna Oksala - Social Critique at a Crossroads: Marxism and Critical Phenomenology

Commentator: Julia Zaenker

10:45 – 11:00


11:00 – 12:15

Alia Al-Saji - Fractures of a debilitating colonial duration: Foreclosed possibility and the phantoms of colonised sociality (Online)

Commentator: Christopher Stephan

12:15 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:30

Steffen Herrmann - Deep Disagreements. A Political Phenomenology

Commentator: Patrizio Lo Presti

14:30 – 14:45


14:45 – 15:45

Sophie Loidolt - Phenomenology of the public sphere - the classical and the critical approach

15:45 – 16:00


16:00 – 17:00

Sara Heinämaa Ineinander, Encroachment, Violence and Oppression: Four Political-Critical Concepts of Classical and Existential Phenomenology

Day 2: Friday 2nd June (CET)

10:45 – 12:00

Robert Bernasconi - Can we say "we"?

Commentator: Tristan Hedges

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:15

Lisa Guenther - A critical phenomenology of collective memory

Commentator: Alba Montes Sánchez

14:15 – 14:30


14:30 – 15:45

Linda Alcoff - A critical phenomenology of white identity in the era of neo-fascism

Commentator: Gerhard Thonhauser

15:45 – 16:00


16:00 – 17:00

Dan Zahavi – Individuality and community: Iris Marion Young and classical phenomenology