Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Cultural History and Theory


Summer Term 2021


These things are made for walking: Knowledge and Bipedalismus between the Laboratory and the Pedestrian Zone


In Wanderlust. A history of walking (2001), Rebecca Solnit empathically praised walking as a form of locomotion and, above all, explored its potential for resistance. Based on Solnit and other relevant texts, the seminar will reappraise walking and related bodies of knowledge (Mayer 2013). Walking will not only be examined as a subversive or affirmative practice. Rather, it is also about the (historical) materiality of bipedalism: on the basis of the readings, we will also take a closer look at the things and knowledge objects with which "doing walking" can be carried out (Michael 2000). For if the path is considered the goal, then walking can also only be described as a fundamental cultural practice if the appropriate theoretical footwear is available. It should also be noted that the heterogeneous forms of pedestrian mobility are currently increasingly framed by sensors, smartphones, GPS-based applications and the like. Thus, the seminar aims to scrutinize forms of walking on the basis of classical readings and at the same time question its diverse manifestations in the context of digital cultures.

Dis/Ability & Blogging: Social Media, Life Writing and situated knowledges


In 2007, Stephen Kuusisto wrote that blogging was very important for people with disabilities. They could use blogs to write about their experiences and publish texts that would regularly be rejected by the print media. But what is the current situation? The blogs of Raúl Krauthausen (, Laura Gehlhaar ( or "Lydia's Welt. Around the everyday life of a blind mother with an Arab background" ( suggest that people with disabilities and activists still practice blogging to share their knowledge with an interested readership and thus create a critical awareness of everyday problems, varying mobility practices, discrimination or the like (cf. among others

Against the background of the aforementioned digital communication and knowledge practices, the seminar explores the phenomenon of "life writing". In the sense of Couser (2009), the aim is to examine more closely the re-formatting of the "some body memoir" in the context of blogs. The focus is not on 'prominent' persons such as politicians, actors or musicians, but on people who form their experiential knowledge against the background of bodily difference and varying abilities and skills. Such knowledge, which is then made accessible through writing practices, can be described with Haraway (1988) as situated knowledge. In the context of the seminar, we ask how situated knowledge in the form of blog entries - including visual elements - becomes manifest, is shared, produces political effects and begins to circulate so that the reader’s assumed certainties will be unsettled.