Curator: Philipp Blom

A cooperation of Bruno Kreisky Forum and Institute for Human Sciences

1914 was a crisis of the West, because it represents the culmination of insane Enlightenment understanding that leads us from industrialization to the industrialization of murder and the absoluteness of a liberal and rational economic order. To understand 1914 and 2014, we therefore need to understand the Enlightenment - its potential, contradictions, distortions and reception.

Underlying contemporary debates about identity, migration, global democracy, human rights, the role of the market in society and the relationship between religion and secularism is one issue: the heritage of the Enlightenment.

But which Enlightenment, which currents of this hugely diverse cultural project, and why? Was the Enlightened dream of rationality, universalism and evidence-based thinking a uniquely Western dream useful to mask colonial oppression, or can it be truly universal? Can it address successfully the tensions between particularism and universality in societies built up of many cultures? How can its values meet the challenges posed by secularism and religion? Where does the project of human emancipation stand in relation to our market economies and the dominant rule of financial over political institutions? What is Enlightenment in a society of winner takes all? In how far is the tradition of Enlightened thought problematic and where does it offer tools for analysis and reorientation?

A series of distinguished international speakers will address different aspects of the history and the present of Enlightenment thinking.



Genial Dagegen
curated by Robert Misik

The Middle East: revitalized faultlines and conflicts

analyzed by Hannes Swoboda