Germany (Freie University of Berlin) Hegel Lecture 2022 with Victor Stoichita

Professor Victor Stoichita, professor emeritus in art history at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, will be giving this year’s Hegel Lecture on December 1, 2022, with a talk in German on “The Iconographic Unconscious of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.” The Hegel Lecture series is organized by the Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC). Attendees are asked to please register in advance by November 28, 2022. The annual Hegel Lecture is given by outstanding figures in international intellectual and cultural life and is aimed at both scholars and the general public. It is considered a highlight in Freie Universität Berlin’s calendar of public academic events.

Professor Stoichita will be the first art historian to speak as part of the series. One of the top experts in his field, he is known for his research on visual hermeneutics and the function of images in the Western tradition. His work on the “self-aware image” in the sixteenth and seventeenth century has shaped the academic discourse in art history with insights into how paintings implement various forms of reflection in their visual strategies. His current research examines the representation and construction of the “other” in artworks of the Early Modern Period, a time during which European expansion and colonization was laying the groundwork for racist classifications in the midst of intercultural and transcultural experiences. In his highly acclaimed book, Darker Shades: The Racial Other in Early Modern Art (University of Chicago Press, 2019), which has been translated into multiple languages, he discusses visual depictions of “non-European” individuals against the backdrop of a distinction between “difference” and “otherness” and their role in the formation of social constructs.

Stoichita’s talk on December 1 revisits this dynamic in the works of the lecture series’ namesake, looking specifically at Hegel’s reflections on the representation of human skin and the “unconscious” metaphor of coloration (i.e., the harmony, play of colors, and shades of skin).

On December 2, the day after the Hegel Lecture, Professor Stoichita will be giving a workshop on “The Image of the Other” at 10:00 a.m. The workshop will be held in German and is open to master’s students and doctoral researchers in the humanities. Attendance of the Hegel Lecture on the previous day is a prerequisite for participation in the workshop. Participants must register for the workshop by November 25.

Victor Stoichita was born in Bucharest (Romania) in 1949. He received his education in Bucharest, Rome, Munich, and Paris. From 1991 to 2019, he was professor for art history at the University of Fribourg. He has held important chairs throughout his career, including the Chaire du Louvre (2014), Chaire Internationale Francqui (2015) at various Belgian universities, the Panofsky Professorship of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History) in Munich, as well as the Chaire Européenne du Collège de France de Paris (2018). He was also a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2002/2003). Stoichita has written several works that have become fundamental to the field of art history and have been translated into numerous languages. His autobiographical novel Oublier Bucarest (Actes Sud, 2014) was awarded the Médaille de vermeil by the Académie Française. Stoichita is the winner of the Aby Warburg Foundation’s Wissenschaftspreis (2020), member of the Academia Europaea, associated member of the Académie Royale de Belgique, and foreign member of the Accademia dei Lincei.

Founded in 2007, the Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC) at Freie Universität Berlin brings together the uniquely broad range of humanities research that is represented at Freie Universität Berlin. It provides an interdisciplinary forum for an exchange of ideas on both a local and international level. The annual Hegel Lecture is devoted to the idea of freedom, a central concept in Hegel’s philosophy and a value held by Freie Universität Berlin (where the Dahlem Humanties Center is based), as reflected in the university’s name. The lectures address fundamental questions and topics in the humanities today, especially issues related to cultural dialogue, globalization, justice, and freedom. The first Hegel Lecture was held by the French philosopher, essayist, and author André Glucksmann on January 8, 2008. Since then other renowned scholars from the humanities, such as Judith Butler, Homi K. Bhabha, and Armin Nassehi, have contributed to the series.