Dr. Andreas Weber

Online block seminar (plus meetings in urban space), English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Saturday/Sunday, 15./16. and 29./30.1.2022, 10-18 h

The seminar is full, no registration possible anymore.

Animism is the idea that the non-human world does not consist of objects, but of persons. For most of the time, the term “animism” was used in a diminishing way to describe cultures, which the west judged to stand on a lower rung of the ladder of cultural evolution. Today, in the debate accompanying the Anthropocene, this perspective has radically changed: Animism is on its way to becoming an influential philosophical attitude. Important scholars like Bruno Latour view the earth itself as an “agent”, matter is often understood as “vibrant” and agential, and within the “nonhuman turn” anthropologists propose animism as serious alternative to western thinking, hence decolonizing its dualistic habits.

In this seminar, we will explore the foundational principles of animism and ask questions like: Is the idea that the reality is shared between human and nonhuman persons a helpful attitude in the ecological and political emergency we are currently undergoing? Is animism a perspective on art, which can lead out of the impasse of self-reference and commodification? Is animism able to crystallize into a new foundational paradigm of cultural production? We will discuss thoughts of Philippe Descola, Nurit Bird-Davis, Edoardo Kohn, Graham Harvey, Edoardo Viveiros de Castro, Enrique Salmón, Deborah Bird Rose and Tim Ingold, among others. See also A. Weber, Indigenialität, Berlin: 2018 and A. Weber, Sharing Life. An Ecopolitics of Reciprocity, Berlin & New Delhi, 2020.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: active and regular participation and an artistic or essayistic work on one of the seminar’s topics.

Andreas Weber is a biologist, philosopher and writer. His work focuses on a re-evaluation of our understanding of the living. He proposes to view – and treat – all organisms as subjects and hence the biosphere as a meaning-creating and poetic reality. Andreas teaches at Berlin University of the Arts, is Visiting Professor at the UNISG, Pollenzo, Italy, and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the IIT, Guwahati, India. He contributes to major German newspapers and magazines and has published more than a dozen books, most recently Enlivenment. A Poetics for the Anthropocene, MIT Press, 2019 and Sharing Life. The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity, Boell Foundation, 2020. More information on