Futuring the Liberal Script #7 Talking of War


A Conversation with Gwendolyn Sasse, Kataryna Mishchenko, moderated by Jens Bisky

Can one understand what leads to a war? How to explain, how to  classify events, backgrounds, how do you speak and write about life in an ongoing state of emergency? Political scientist and Eastern Europe expert Gwendolyn Sasse and Ukrainian writer and publisher Kateryna Mishchenko look at political and social dynamics in Ukraine's recent history. Starting from Sasse's current book, they are looking for a language to reflect upon, to „narrate “ this war. Between science and literature, analytical expertise and artistic approaches, they extend common perceptions to major political situations, everyday practices and life worlds in the midst of war. The journalist Jens Bisky will moderate the discussion.  

On occasion of G. Sasse's new book Der Krieg gegen die Ukraine. Hintergründe, Ereignisse, Folgen (C.H. Beck 2022)

Language: German


Gwendolyn Sasse is Scientific Director at the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Einstein Professor of Comparative Study of Democracy and Authoritarianism at the Institute of Social Sciences at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Prinicipal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS. As a political Scientist she has been researching for decades on Eastern Europe and Ukraine - in particular on post-socialist transformation processes. Her research includes post-communist transformation processes, and the dynamics of war, migration and protest movements. Her work currently includes projects on the war and border regimes in Ukraine, and social mobilisation in Belarus.

Kateryna Mishchenko is a writer, publisher and translator. She is co-founder and editor of the Ukrainian publishing house Medusa and was the editor of Prostory, a magazine for art, literature and social criticism. She taught literary history at the Kyiv National Linguistic University and worked as a translator in the field of human rights. Mishchenko’s essays have been published in Ukrainian and international anthologies and magazines and she co-authored the book „Ukrainian Night” (Spector Books, 2015).From April to June 2022 K. Mishchenko was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, where she has lived and worked since the beginning of the war.

Jens Bisky is a journalist and author. Since 2021 he is editor-in-chief of Mittelweg 36 and Soziopolis, which are published by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. From 2001 to 2020 he was a editor at the Feuilleton of the  „Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Jens Bisky is the author of the books Born on August 13 (2004), Kleist. Eine Biographie (2007) and – most recently published – by Berlin. Biography of a Great City (2019). His essays have been published widely in magazines and newspapers. In 2017 Bisky was awarded the Johann Heinrich Merck Prize for literary criticism and essay by the German Academy for Language and Poetry.

An event by the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Sripts (SCRIPTS) in cooperation with Verlag C.H. Beck and silent green

Futuring the Liberal Script is a conversation series live from the silent green. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS and guests current crisis of liberal societies and democracies from diverse perspectives. The liberal script has to compete increasingly with alternative scripts and agendas for organizing societies, be they run by authoritarian, populist, Islamic fundamentalists, terrorist or technocratic autocracies. Whether liberal democracies are confident, flexible and agile enough to respond to the challenges posed by contrary political systems and alternative ideas is a central matter of acute political and social concern. “Futuring” is not a variant of optimizing, but rather relates to developing a critical and creative stance in response to current contestations of liberal values and to explore possible futures of the liberal script as a” script in trouble”. The SCRIPTS conversations assemble a variety of views, concerns and actors by putting research topics and timely diagnosis up to public and ongoing debate.

The Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)” is a research consortium that analyses why the liberal model of order has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements. Interdisciplinary research teams investigate why alternative concepts of social order are on rise, how these contestations differ from earlier contestation, and what the consequences are for the global challenges of our time. In operation since 2019, SCRIPTS is hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin and unites 8 major Berlin-based research institutions.

Monday, October 17
Doors: 6.15 pm / Start: 7 pm
Free admission