Universität Wien

180108 VO-L Philosophy-Physics / Vibrating Matter / New Materialism (2021W)

Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Katja Diefenbach, F.W.J. Schelling

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: German

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Preliminary note: Due to the conversion of the course to e-learning, it is important that all participants register for the course in order to gain access to Moodle, as communication about the course takes place via the Moodle platform. In addition to the usual teaching materials, you will also find audio recordings of the courses on Moodle.

Tuesday 12.10. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 19.10. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 09.11. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 16.11. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 23.11. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 30.11. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 07.12. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital
Tuesday 14.12. 18:30 - 21:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course aims to introduce you to central texts of a contemporary current of thought often referred to as "New Materialism" or "Speculative Realism". Matter, in the context of this intellectual-historical current, is no longer thought of as passive matter, but as an active, vital principle that permeates and thereby animates space as a "fluctuating vacuum" (Barad) or "vibrating matter" (Bennett).
In a second step, we will relate the elaborated "post-structuralist" concept of matter (mattering) of Karen Barad and Jane Bennett to Spinoza's notion of "conatus" and Schelling's philosophy of nature, both of whom have sketched a materialist philosophy of mind in which matter is thought primarily as potency (power, capability, dynamis).
In a last, third step we will compare these nature-philosophies with the Spanda concept of tantric philosophies

Keywords: New Materialism, Speculative Materialism, Speculative Physics, Nature Philosophy, Body of Consciousness, Spiritual Materialism, Barad, Bennett, Diefenbach, Spinoza, Schelling, The doctrine of Spanda

Digital e-learning concept:

1) The course lecturer Univ. Doz. Dr.habil. Arno Böhler will present his lectures on Zoom on the dates, indicated above, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can find the Zoom-Link on Moodle. The Zoom-lectures will be recorded and uploaded on Moodle.

2) At the beginning of every Zoom-meeting tutor Cristina Chitu will present a summary of central points of the previous Zoom-session. She will also provide her written minute on Moodle, which will help you to prepare your exam.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written examination. The first examination will take place end of January 2022. Further examination dates: first week of March 2022, end of April, end of June 2022 (exact dates will be announced during the the semester course)

Digital examination modalities

The exam will consist of a digital written exam that will be handled via Moodle according to the format “digital written exams with open questions using an exam sheet for download” according to the specifications of the CTL. The students can download the examination form (Word document) at the beginning of the examination period and have to upload the processed examination form as a PDF back to Moodle within 2 hours.
In the exam, three essay questions, each with three sub-points, are asked. The exam takes place in the open book format. Direct quotations are to be shown.

In the case of technical problems: If you cannot download the Moodle exam form, please send an email to cristina-maria.chitu@univie.ac.at. You will then receive the examination form by email. If you cannot upload the edited exam questionnaire as a PDF to Moodle, please also send the PDF to the email address cristina-maria.chitu@univie.ac.at before the end of the exam

Dealing with quotations and literature: These are exams based on the open book format. If you should quote a passage from the literature or the literature on the slides directly in your essay, please either state the name, abbreviation of the book and book page (e.g. (Ronell, FT, p. 3)) or state the Powerpoint-slide number (e.g. (Slide 17)). If you paraphrase or refer to what was discussed in the lecture, you can simply write “For Nietzsche” or “As discussed in the lecture”, in order to save time.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The digital written exam consists of 3 essay questions, each with 3 sub-points, which are to be incorporated into the respective essay (max. 36 points, max. 12 points per essay, max. 4 points per sub-point): 0-18 points = insufficient . 19-22 points = sufficient. 23-26 points = satisfactory. 27-31 points = good. 32-36 points = very good.

At the written exam, one needs to reach > 50% of the points in order to pass the exam.

Examination topics

Only texts that will be explicitly discussed in the lecture during the course of the semester, will be relevant for the exam. These texts will be part of the Powerpoint-slides which will be made accessible on Moodle by the tutor Cristina Chitu.

Reading list

Barad, Karen (2007): Meeting the Universe Halfway, Durham & London: Duke University Press

Barad, Karen (2012): What Is the Measure of Nothingness? Infinity, Virtuality, Justice / Was ist das Maß des Nichts? Unendlichkeit, Virtualität, Gerechtigkeit, Kassel: Hatje Cantz Verlag

Bennett, Jane (2010): Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.

Diefenbach, Katja (2018): Spekulativer Materialismus. Spinoza in der postmarxistischen Philosophie, Wien, Berlin: Turia + Kant:.

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph (1804): System der gesamten Philosophie und der Naturphilosophie insbesondere. in F. W. J. von Schelling: Sämmtliche Werke. Electronic Edition., Band IV, Schriften zur Identitätsphilosophie: 1801-1807, http://pm.nlx.com.uaccess.univie.ac.at/xtf/view?docId=schelling_de/schelling_de.04.xml;chunk.id=div.schelling.531;toc.depth=100;toc.id=div.schelling.531;brand=default

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph (1966): Zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie. Leipzig 1966, S. 21. in Schelling: Sämtliche Werke, hg. v. K.F.A. Schelling, Stuttgart 1856 ff. Permalink: http://www.zeno.org/nid/20009265651
Mark S. G. Dyczkowski (hg., 1992): The Stanzas on Vibration, Suny Series in the Shaiva Tradition of Kashmir. New York: State University of New York Press.

Mark S. G. Dyczkowski (hg., 1992): The Siva-Sūtra with Bhāskara’s Commentary, the Vārttika. Foreword by Paul E. Muller-Ortega, SUNY Series in Tantric Studies. New York: State University of New York Press.

These texts will be made available on Moodle

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:18