In the summer semester 2012 students and teachers from the Theology Faculties of Charles University in Prague and Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen met together twice to discuss the ideas of the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno. On 18-20 May 2012 a group of students from Prague, led by Jan Kranát, a teacher from the Department of Philosophy, travelled to Erlangen to discuss some of Adorno's key texts with German students. Prof. Wolfgang Schoberth from the Erlangen Faculty opened the seminar with a lecture on Adorno's life which helped the group to discuss his texts in context.
On the Saturday the discussion focused on the theme of education. After a lecture from Ingrid Schoberth (Professor for Religious Education at the Ruprecht-Karl-University in Heidelberg) on "Theodor W. Adorno and Education", the participants read together selected parts of the text "The Concept of the Enlightenment" by Adorno and Horkheimer. Special attention was paid to the concept of "half-education". Work on this concept then continued at the beginning of the second part of the seminar, on 8-10 June in Prague. After this basic introduction to Adorno's work, the participants discussed how it could be relevant for the theological context. Adorno's statements on "Torquemada, Luther, Mohammed" were analysed, along with "Minima Moralia" and parts of the "Negative Dialectics".
A particularly valuable feature of this seminar was the intensity of the debate. Discussions over what had been heard and read continued well beyond the seminar itself. It should also be mentioned that it was not just students from the Prague and Erlangen faculties who came into contact in this way, but, thanks to Jan Kranát and Věra Fritzová from the Prague Faculty International Office, several German Erasmus students in Prague were also able to take part in the seminar. In this way the Adorno seminar not only helped strengthen the friendship between the Theology Faculties in Prague and Erlangen, but at the same time it provided an opportunity for Czech and international students at the Prague faculty to get to know one another better.
All in all, nearly all the participants are looking forward to the partnership continuing at the next seminar in two years' time!
Ann-Sophie Huppers, seminar participant