"The Beauty of Theory"
The Aesthetics and Affective Economy of Theories

University Lecture Series Summer Semester 2008, Freie Universität Berlin

An Event hosted by the International Research Training Group "Interart Studies"
Conception: Prof. Dr. Joachim Küpper, Dr. des. Markus Rautzenberg, Dr. des. Regine Strätling, Dr. Mirjam Schaub

Karl Popper called them the “net cast to catch what we call ‘the world’: to rationalize, to explain, and to master it.” For some they are lance and shield, for others they are the wallflower of science. Although often loved and appreciated, are  they only  preliminary assumptions which unfortunately have a visible expiration date and are impossible to prove? Are they  ideally convenientthought- and cultural assets,creating order within chaos; or possibly the lesser evil after all, serving a meagre understanding?

What is this all about? It is about theory. Natural sciences and humanities, both know theory in a different way; the former as changing paradigms, replacing one another, whose “achievement was sufficiently unprecedentedto attract an enduring group of adherents” and simultaneously, “sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve” (Thomas Kuhn). In contrast, humanities and cultural studies tolerate it as coexisting, more or less competing schools of thought which one can follow or not as long as they cast what they assume to be true in a systematic mould, strangely untouched by each other.

Who actually creates a good theory and why? What makes it successful? Which tone does it cultivate? Are there any specific aesthetic qualities defining its appeal and influencing the degree of consent? Which affective moments (fears, desires) does a theory transmit undetected? Which aversions does it reveal? Is it possible to gain a new perspective on its specific mechanisms of interspersion with these questions? And do they help to sharpen the peculiar profile of humanistic research in dealing with its own as well as foreign theories, especially in the context of humanities’ self-assessment concerning its standards and reproducible achievements?  

Thursday, 6 to 8 pm - Beginning: April 17, 2008
Lecture Hall of the Institute for Theater Studies - Grunewaldstr. 35 - 12165 Berlin-Steglitz


Here you can find the detailed programme in German.