Prof. Dr. Volker M. Heins - KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)
Bild vonProf. Dr. Volker M. Heins

Prof. Dr. Volker M. Heins


Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI)
Goethestraße 31
45128 Essen
Tel: +49 (0)201 - 7204-201
Fax: +49 (0)201 - 7204-111


Since summer 2017 Member of the Social Science Faculty at the University of Duisburg-Essen and affiliated Professor of Politics at the Dept of Political Science.

2014 - 2017 Member of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Ruhr University of Bochum.

Since April 2012 Senior Fellow and Head of the Research Unit “Interculturality” at the KWI

1998 – 2012: Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt

2006 – 2010: Lecturer in Political Theory at McGill University, Montreal

2009: Visiting Fellow, Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University

1995 – 2010: Fellowships and lectureships in the United States, Canada, India and Israel

2001: “Habilitation” in political science at the University of Giessen, Germany

1999: Consultant for the Church Development Service (EED), Germany

Research Focus

Modern and contemporary political theory; critical theory; multiculturalism; migration studies

Current research projects

New Regional Formations: Rapid Environmental Change and Migration in Coastal Regions of Ghana and Indonesia (Volkswagen Foundation)

Ethics of Immigration (Mercator Research Center Ruhr, MERCUR)

Social Performances of Cultural Trauma and the Rebuilding of Solid Sovereignties (Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme, in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, Yale University, Bochum University et al.)

Completed research projects

Religious Diversity on German Campuses: Institutional Prerequisites and Perspectives (Mercator Foundation, 2016)

A Divided West? Human Rights Activism, United Nations Reforms, and Transatlantic Relations (Foundation German-American Academic Relations, 2008)

International Humanitarian Organizations and the Crisis of the System of States (Volkswagen Foundation, 2001-2004)

NGOs, Firms and Global Conflicts over Genetic Resources (Volkswagen Foundation, 1998-2000)


Selected publications

Defending the art of voice: Albert Hirschman and the meanings of exile. In: Thesis Eleven (forthcoming)

Anti-immigrant movements and the self-poisoning of the civil sphere: the case of Germany. In: Trevor R. Stack, Jeffrey C. Alexander, Farhad Khosrokhavar (eds.) Breaching the Civil Order: Radicalism and the Civil Sphere. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press 2019 (with Christine Unrau). (forthcoming)

“More Modest and More Political”: From the Frankfurt School to the Liberalism of Fear. In: Samantha Ashenden, Andreas Hess (eds.) Between Utopia and Realism: The Political Thought of Judith N. Shklar. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 2019. (forthcoming)

Kultureller Pluralismus und Kritische Theorie. Von Adorno bis Honneth. In: Ulf Bohmann, Paul Sörensen (eds.) Kritische Theorie der Politik. Berlin: Suhrkamp 2019.

Gift-giving and reciprocity in global society: Introducing Marcel Mauss in international studies. In: Journal of International Political Theory, vol. 14, no. 2, 2018, 126-144 (with Christine Unrau and Kristine Avram).

Refugees welcome: Arrival gifts, reciprocity, and the integration of forced migrants. In: Journal of International Political Theory, vol. 14, no. 2, 2018, 223-239 (with Christine Unrau).

Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man. In: The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory, ed. Jacob T. Levy. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2017; doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198717133.013.48.

Multikulturalismus in der Ära Trump. In: Mittelweg 36, Jg. 26, Heft 2, 2017, S. 53-62.

Habermas on the European crisis: Attempting the impossible. In: Thesis Eleven, Heft 133, 2016, 3-18.

Recognition, Multiculturalism and the Allure of Separatism. In: Patrick Hayden, Kate Schick (eds.) Recognition and Global Politics: Critical Encounters Between State and World. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press 2016, 69-84.

Taking People as They Are and Europe as It Might Be: The Controversy over the Square of the European Promise. In: Jonathan P. Vickery, Mechtild Manus (eds.) The Art of the Multitude: Jochen Gerz – Participation and the European Experience. Frankfurt, New York: Campus 2016, 136-152.

Humanitarianism and Challenges of Cooperation. London, New York: Routledge 2016 (hrsg. mit Kai Koddenbrock und Christine Unrau).

Der Skandal der Vielfalt: Geschichte und Konzepte des Multikulturalismus. Frankfurt, New York: Campus 2013.

Three Meanings of Equality: The “Arab Problem” in Israel. In: Res Publica, Jg. 18, Heft 1, 2012, 79-91.

“Saying things that hurt”: Adorno as educator. In: Thesis Eleven, Heft 110, 2012, 68-82.

Beyond Friend and Foe: The Politics of Critical Theory. Leiden, Boston: Brill 2011.

The place of property in the politics of recognition. In: Constellations, Jg. 16, Heft 4, 2009, 579-592.

Human rights, intellectual property, and struggles for recognition. Human Rights Review, Jg. 9, Heft 2, 2008, 213-232.

Critical theory and the traps of conspiracy thinking. In: Philosophy & Social Criticism, Jg. 33, Heft 7, 2007, 787-801.

Civil society’s barbarisms. In: European Journal of Social Theory, Jg. 7, Heft 4, 2004, 499-517.

Das Andere der Zivilgesellschaft: Zur Archäologie eines Begriffs. Bielefeld: Transcript 2002.

Der Neue Transnationalismus: Nichtregierungsorganisationen und Firmen im Konflikt um die Rohstoffe der Biotechnologie. Frankfurt, New York: Campus 2001.

See also


Faculty Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University

Associate Member of the Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt

Member of the editorial board of Human Rights Review (USA)