"Plato Goes Live" at Bard College Berlin

Fall 2017


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A program supported by the Stifterverband and the Klaus Tschira Foundation in cooperation with DIE ZEIT in the frame of ‘Eine Uni - ein Buch’


Plato’s Long Night

An evening event taking place in the Cafeteria of Bard College Berlin whereby selected chapters of Plato’s Republic are being read whilst audience and readers will be sustained by a Greek-inspired buffet. The BCB community will be invited as well as campus neighbors and our alumni.

Venue: Bard College Berlin, Cafeteria
Date: Saturday, September 9 from 7 pm to midnight

Campus Conversations

A student-run, weekly event on the BCB campus, which was initiated in 2016 and has an excellent track record of bringing refugees, students and neighbors together for language learning and cultural exchange, two of the Conversations will be dedicated to the first paragraph of Book I and use this text fragment as a basis to discuss topics such as translation and migration.

Venue: Bard College Berlin, Seminar Room 5, Platanenstrasse 24, 13156 Berlin
Date: Thursday, September 21 and Thursday, October 5 from 6 pm to 8 pm

The Wandering Image: Plato and Contemporary Artistic Practice

A cooperation between Bard College Berlin and the ICI Berlin

Plato’s philosophical investigations of artistic practices have received a great deal of attention. Many readers have focused on tensions between the apparent defense, in Plato’s Republic, of certain forms of censorship, and commitments to the freedom of expression in the arts, and in society more generally, that have gained prominence in modernity. Of particular concern has been purported links between the criticism of the arts in the Republic and repressive practices in totalitarian regimes. In this panel discussion artists and theorists will be asked to consider whether it might be possible to shift and twist the familiar discourse around Plato’s relationship to the arts, in part by taking the impetus for the conversation from the actual practice of contemporary artists, and in part by focusing on less familiar aspects of Plato’s engagement with the arts, or looking at familiar texts in new ways. We begin with a provocation: might it be possible and productive to regard modern and contemporary art as a systematic investigation of “Platonic questions?” Co-hosted by the ICI Berlin. The event is open to the public.


Cristina Baldacci (Fellow, the ICI Berlin)
Rosa Barba (artist)
Thomas Bartscherer (Bard College)
Yngve Holen (artist)
Geoff Lehman (Bard College Berlin)
Philipp Kleinmichel (philosopher)
Matt Mullican (artist)

Venue: ICI Berlin, Christinenstrasse 18/19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin
Date: Tuesday, October 17 at 7.30 pm

More information about the event: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/the-wandering-image/

Debating Event

Bard College Berlin’s Politics, Rhetoric and Debate Society will cooperate with the Berlin Debating Union e.V. to organize a debating event, open to the public during which the motion "This house would prefer the rule of the "philosopher king" to a "tyrannical democracy" will be presented.

Venue: Bard College Berlin, The Lecture Hall, Platanenstrasse 98a, 13156 Berlin
Date: Friday, October 20 at 7 pm

‘The fairest regime'
Plato and the trouble with (liberal) democracy

A cooperation between Bard College Berlin, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen

Taking place in the aftermath of the German Federal elections, this panel will convene political scientists and commentators to reflect on the situation in Germany and Europe in light of the account of democracy in Plato’s Republic. Its point of departure is the new urgency that Plato’s critique of democracy has assumed, given the political developments of the past year. In the run up to the US presidential election, for instance, Plato was often invoked in the popular press to warn against dangers of populist rhetoric and tyrannical ambition. Co-hosted by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen. This event is open to the public.

Ulrike Guérot (Danube University Krems)

Ira Katznelson (Columbia University)

Ivan Krastev (Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia)

Sergey Lagodinsky (Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung)

Michael Weinman (Bard College Berlin)

Venue: Forum Robert Bosch, Haus Deutscher Stiftungen, Mauerstrasse 93, 10117 Berlin
Date: Wednesday, October 25 at 7pm

Watch a recording of the event here

Plato's Cave Revisited: A Conversation about Education Today

A cooperation between Bard College Berlin and the Barenboim-Said Akademie 

Plato’s Republic culminates in the famous allegory of the cave that offers “an image of our nature in its education and want of education.” Depicting education’s effect as a “turning-around” that is both liberating and potentially dangerous, the Republic also elaborates a curriculum that can affect such a transformation. A foundational stone in the long history of European universities, this view of the purpose and structure of higher education continues to intrigue and inspire today. With the allegory of the cave as a point of departure, this panel gathers academic leaders and educators from Berlin and beyond to discuss the present condition of University education, its achievements and failings, in light of Plato’s educational vision. Co-hosted by the Barenboim Said Academy

Leon Botstein (President, Bard College)
Lorraine Daston (Director, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Mena Mark Hanna (Dean, Barenboim-Said Akademie)
Roni Mann (Director of Humanities, Barenboim Said Academy)
Michael Steinberg (President, The American Academy in Berlin)

Venue: Barenboim-Said Akademie, Französische Strasse 33, 10117 Berlin
Date: Monday, November 20 at 7pm

Watch a recording of the event here

(Post-)modern Platos

The British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) famously stated that the whole of European philosophy could be read as a series of footnotes to Plato. This event will bring international scholars together to discuss the influence of Plato’s Republic on the work of renowned philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida and Alain Badiou, and to re-evaluate the significance of this text in the context of modern and postmodern European culture. This panel discussion is open to the public.

Claudia Baracchi (University of Milano-Bicocca)
Jeffrey Champlin (Barenboim-Said Akademie)
Tracy Colony (Bard College Berlin)
Geoff Lehman (Bard College Berlin)
Michael Weinman (Bard College Berlin)

Venue: Bard College Berlin, The Lecture Hall, Platanenstrasse 98a, 13156 Berlin
Date: Wednesday, December 6 at 7 pm

Plato and the Arts

Three evening seminars structured around Plato’s Republic will take place on the BCB campus with own faculty as well as guest speakers. These lectures are open to the public.

Venue: Bard College Berlin, The Lecture Hall, Platanenstrasse 98a, 13156 Berlin
The Republic and Renaissance (Neo-)Platonism on Monday, September 25 at 7 pm
The Parthenon and Plato's Republic on Thursday, November 23 at 7 pm
The Republic and the Moving Image on Wednesday, December 13 at 7 pm

Plato Film Festival

The Plato Film Festival will feature final student projects that conclude the course Talking Heads: The Republic on Film, taught by Paul Festa at Bard College Berlin. A screening of the short films will take place during ‘Winterzauber,’ the holiday reception that is organized on campus for the entire campus community.

Venue: Bard College Berlin, The Factory, Eichenstrasse 43, 13156 Berlin
Date: Thursday, December 21 at 7 pm