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

Sociology of democracy; modern political theory; critical theory; multiculturalism; international civil and military interventions; conflicts over human rights

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)



(co-edited with Kai Koddenbrock and Christine Unrau) Humanitarianism and Challenges of Cooperation. London and New York: Routledge, 2016.

Der Skandal der Vielfalt: Geschichte und Konzepte des Multikulturalismus. Frankfurt / New York: Campus, 2013. Book review (Radio, in German only)

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

Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society: Struggles over Recognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Book review

(co-edited with David Chandler) Rethinking Ethical Foreign Policy: Pitfalls, Possibilities and Paradoxes. London / New York: Routledge, 2007. Book review

(with Jens Warburg) Kampf der Zivilisten: Militär und Gesellschaft im Wandel. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2004. Book review (in German only)

Das Andere der Zivilgesellschaft: Zur Archäologie eines Begriffs. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2002. Book review (in German only)

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

Selected articles and chapters

(mit Christine Unrau) "Anti-immigrant movements and the self-poisoning of the civil sphere: the case of Germany", in: Jeffrey C. Alexander et al., eds., The Civil Sphere and Radical Protest, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

"Another Critical Theory: Judith Shklar and the Frankfurt School", in Samantha Ashenden, Andreas Hess (eds.), Judith N. Shklar: A Political Companion, University Park, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017 (forthcoming).

"Krisenbewältigung durch Kooperation? Die Grenzen des EU-Modells", Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Vol. 26 (2016), pp. 445-453.

"Habermas on the European crisis: Attempting the impossible", in: Thesis Eleven, Vol. 133 (2016), pp. 3-18.

Herbert Marcuse, "One Dimensional Man", in: The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory (ed. Jacob T. Levy), Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

"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, pp. 139 - 152.

"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, pp. 69-84.

Fortschritt und Ironie in der Politischen Theorie. In: Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie, Jg. 6 (2015); Nr. 1, S. 75 – 83.

Von Eulen und Raben. Antwort an meine Kritiker. In: Zeitschrift für Politische Theorie, Jg. 6 (2015); Nr. 1, S. 100 – 105.

Recognition Going Awry: NGOs and the Global Rise of the Unelected, in Anna Geis / Caroline Fehl / Christopher Daase / Georgios Kolliarakis, eds., Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking an Ambivalent Concept in a Global Context (Palgrave Studies in International Relations). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

“Saying Things That Hurt”: Adorno as Educator, in: Thesis Eleven, No. 110, 2012, pp. 68-82.

The Global Politics of Recognition, in: Shane O‘Neill / Nicholas H. Smith (eds.), Recognition Theory as Social Research: Investigating the Dynamics of Social Conflict. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 213-230.

Three Meanings of Equality: The “Arab Problem” in Israel, in: Res Publica, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2012, pp. 79-91.

(with Andreas Langenohl) A Fire That Doesn’t Burn? The Allied Bombing of Germany and the Cultural Politics of Trauma, in: Ron Eyerman et al. (eds.), Narrating Trauma: On the Impact of Collective Suffering (Yale Cultural Sociology Series). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm, 2011, pp. 3-26.

(with Aditya Badami and Andrei S. Markovits) The West Divided? A Snapshot of Human Rights and Transatlantic Relations at the United Nations, in: Human Rights Review, Vol. 11, 2010, pp. 1-16.

Human Rights, Intellectual Property, and Struggles for Recognition, in: Human Rights Review, Vol. 9, 2008, pp. 213-232.

Critical Theory and the Traps of Conspiracy Thinking, in: Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 33, No. 7, 2007, pp. 787-801.

Civil Society’s Barbarisms, in: European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2004, pp. 499-517.

Humanitäre Intervention, in: Ulrich Bröckling et al. (eds.), Glossar der Gegenwart. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2004, pp. 118-124.

(with Michael Flitner) Modernity and Life Politics: Conceptualizing the Biodiversity Crisis, in: Political Geography, Vol. 21, 2002, pp. 319-340.

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)