Academic antisemitism at German universities - academic and practical perspectives


Conference with Hanna Veiler (JSUD), Prof Dr Friederike Lorenz-Sinai, Prof Dr Martin Heger, Dr Dennis Wutzke and Jahne Nicolaisen (MFFB)

When? Thursday, 2 May, 2-6 p.m.
Where? FU Berlin, lecture theatre B, Henry-Ford-Bau, Garystr. 35, 14195 Berlin

A conference organised by the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) and Chaverim@FU - Network for Jewish Issues.

Greetings from MFFB and Chaverim@FU

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2- 3.45 pm "A critical theory of academic freedom against academic antisemitism" - lecture by Jahne Nicolaisen

Based on his master's thesis, Jahne Nicolaisen will first discuss the concept of academic antisemitism and then explain how antisemitism adapts to the academic field, coveting, despising and threatening academic freedom. He will then present the central theses of his outline of a critical theory of academic freedom. The following questions will be addressed with reference to Adorno and Horkheimer: Why does the institutional self-regulation of science regularly fail? What does it mean for a critical theory that not every form of anti-Semitism is equally resisted? What does the systemic reproduction of anti-Semitism mean for liberal theories that rely on the rule of law, on responsible and democratic citizens and on university self-regulation? What position do humanistic academic norms and academic structural principles (Merton) have in a critical theory of academic freedom? What theoretical consequences can be drawn from the fact that anti-Semitism is also reproduced in free academic opinion? And what subjectivity is formal academic freedom dependent on?

Jahne Nicolaisen works as a programme director in the project "Bildungsbaustein Israel" and on the topics of antisemitism, Islamism and right-wing extremism at the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin MFFB. He wrote his master's thesis in political science at Freie Universität Berlin in 2023, in which he outlines a critical theory of academic freedom against anti-Semitism. Nicolaisen is also a member of the university group Chaverim@FU - Network for Jewish Issues.
With a commentary by Dr Dennis Wutzke

Dr Dennis Wutzke was a visiting professor for Critical Social Theory at JLU Giessen for the third time in the winter semester 2023/24. He has been a lecturer in political theory at Freie Universität since 2012 and was a research assistant for philosophy in Rostock in 2013-17 and for political science in Berlin in 2020-21.


4:15-6 pm "For free academic work and study - problems and measures against anti-Semitism at German universities" - panel discussion with Hanna Veiler (JSUD), Prof. Dr Friederike Lorenz-Sinai and Prof. Dr Martin Heger

The aim is to bring together different (academic) perspectives from research on anti-Semitism, academic freedom and freedom to study, university education and our own experience. Furthermore, we would like to analyse the current problem of academic anti-Semitism in Germany and discuss specific measures and indirect practices against anti-Semitism at German universities.

Hanna Veiler has been President of the Jewish Student Union Germany (JSUD) since May 2023 and as such experiences the alarming situation at German universities for Jewish students on a daily basis. As a representative, she talks about possible countermeasures and current Jewish campus life in Germany. She has been studying art history in Tübingen since 2018. She also gives workshops and lectures on anti-Semitism, racism, post-Soviet history and critical remembrance culture. Interviews with and articles by her have recently appeared in numerous German media and on Instagram.

Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai is Professor of Social Work Methods and Social Work Research at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences and a board member of "OFEK e.V. - Beratungsstellen bei antisemitischer Gewalt und Diskriminierung". She is a member of the German Society for Social Work (DGSA) and the German Society for Educational Science (DGfE). Her current research focuses on anti-Semitism in institutional contexts as well as (sexualized) violence and social processes of coming to terms with it. She works at the ZWST's Center for Education and Research Critical of Anti-Semitism," where she is involved in a research project on the "Effects of the terror of October 7, 2023, on Jewish and Israeli communities in Germany". The following interview with her and Marina Chernivsky provides an insight into her work with universities against current anti-Semitism: Articel at Jüdische Allgemeine (March 24, 2024).

Prof Dr Martin Heger is Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, European Criminal Law and Modern Legal History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is currently researching in the joint project "Struggling for Justice. Anti-Semitism as a Judicial Challenge" ASJust. His research focuses on German and European environmental and economic criminal law, questions of criminal policy, the relationship of (criminal) law to religion, history and sport, the influence of European and constitutional law and the ECHR on criminal procedure law as well as aspects of victim protection. He is deputy chairman of the Berlin Academic Society (BWG), a member of the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology (BIT), on the academic advisory board of the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin and, since 2009, spokesman for the Berlin Studies on Jewish Law (BSJR). In April 2024, Heger published an article on "Antisemitism as a challenge for German criminal law. A legal-historical look 'back to the future'" in the volume "Antisemitismus und Recht. Interdisciplinary Approaches" (edited by Christoph Schuch).

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