Max Weber Lectures

The Max Weber Lecture Series, which began in autumn 2018, consists of a set of two lectures per year that are related both to the specific research focus of the IBO as well as the IBO’s overall interest in concepts and methodologies of historical research. Distinguished international scholars, mainly from Germany, are invited to India to share their expertise with project partners and other researchers in India. The lectures are organised in collaboration with other Indian universities and also with other German cultural and academic organisations present in India and take place twice a year, in spring and autumn respectively.

January 2020, New Delhi and Kolkata                                                

November 2019, Kolkata  and  New Delhi

February 2019, New Delhi  and Mumbai              


                                                    November 2018, Bengaluru and New Delhi

Sebastian Conrad (Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Berlin)                          The Global Revolution of Time in the Nineteenth Century

Ute Frevert  (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin) The Politics of Humiliation: Historical Trajectories

Andy Green (Institute of Education of the University College London)                                                                                                        Education and State Formation in Europe, East Asia and the USA       

The Crisis for Young People: Generational Inequalities in Education, Work, Housing and Welfare

Pauline Lipman (University of Illinois, Chicago)                      Education and Urban Crises: Coercive Neoliberalism, the Politics of Disposability, and the Struggle for the Right to the City

Sebastian Conrad

27 January 2020, New Delhi

The lecture in Delhi was cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances

30 January 2020, Kolkata


The nineteenth century witnessed a fundamental transformation of notions of time on a global scale. Around the world, time-hallowed practices of time measurement and of time-related cosmologies had to come to terms with a new global regime. This new time regime constituted a four-fold revolution, introducing the concepts of standardization, of global synchronicity, of progressive time, and of deep historical time. In this talk, Sebastian Conrad will argue that this temporal revolution cannot be equated with the diffusion of European temporality, but needs to be understood as a multifaceted response to global challenges.

Ute Frevert

22 November 2019, Kolkata

25 November 2019, New Delhi


The talk was about the power of public shaming and humiliation in the modern world. Such strategies were either meant to punish and reintegrate a person who had violated social norms, or to debase and stigmatize those whom others wanted to exclude from groups or society at large. The talk follows the development of such practices since the late eighteenth century in legal, education and foreign policies, mainly with regard to Europe, China, and India. It focuses on the concept of human dignity and why this has become paramount.

Andy Green

22 February 2019, India International Centre, New Delhi

26 February 2019, TISS Naoroji Campus, Mumbai                                      


Education has always been a key instrument of nation-building in new states. National education systems have typically been used to assimilate immigrants; to promote established religious doctrines; to spread the standard form of national languages; and to forge national identities and national cultures. They helped construct the very subjectivities of citizenship, justifying the ways of the state to the people and the duties of the people to the state. In this lecture Andy Green discusses the social origins of mass education in the West, including the roles played industrial and urban change, proletarianisation and liberalism, and how nation-building lay at the heart of the creation of modern education. The more affluent states today often prioritise skills formation over citizenship formation, but newly developed states continue to use education as a crucial vehicle for state-building. Most notably, education has been a tool of successful state formation in the developmental states of East Asia. While human capital theories have focused on how schools and colleges supply the skills for economic growth, Green shows how the forming of citizens and national identities through education has often provided the necessary condition for both economic and social development.

Autumn 2018

Pauline Lipman

16 November 2018, India International Centre, New Delhi        

This paper argues that education is co-constitutive of the neoliberal economic-political order and its urban crises and is a critical site for resistance to neoliberalism, racism, reactionary nationalism, and xenophobia. I begin with the stakes of the present moment: the conjuncture of profound  economic, political, social, and ecological crises and global resurgence of  xenophobic, white supremacist, nationalist, anti-democratic agendas, on one hand, and new resistances, solidarities, social imaginaries and emerging counter-hegemonic programs, on the other. I trace this polarized moment to the protracted structural crisis of capitalism, globalized neoliberalism, and legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, xenophobia, and entrenched class/race/gender/caste/ethnic/religious social hierarchies that variously permeate our societies at all scales.

Neoliberal logics of capital accumulation and anti-democratic governance (intertwined, in the U.S., with white supremacy) have driven the economic and spatial restructuring of cities and its intensified economic, social, and spatial inequalities.  I argue  that, in the U.S.,  urban education policies are co-constitutive of neoliberal urban restructuring and its inequalities, the shrinking and commodification of the social state; and racialized/spatialized politics of disposability, visited particularly on African Americans (Lipman, 2011; 2015). Undermining critical thought, academic independence, and democratic participation in schools is also central to neoliberalism’s anti-democratic political project. In this moment, public education is a locus of the crises of the neoliberal order, including the crisis of social reproduction (Fraser, 2016), and, in the U.S., the municipal state’s racialized attempt to discipline the public through fiscal austerity (Peck, 2012), subordinating the lives of “surplus people” to fiscal solvency and subjecting them  to intensified state violence (Pulido, 2016) and “organized abandonment” (Gilmore, 2008). These practices have given rise to an education justice movement, with parents and teachers as key protagonists. Led by people of color, opposition to closing and privatizing public schools and to education austerity and racial inequity is unsettling neoliberal hegemony. Parents, students and members of racially marginalized communities, along with educators, are authors of critical, humanizing education visions and practices of urban solidarity that challenge the present neoliberal social order. These contests  over education are part of what Lefebvre (1996) called struggles for “the right to the city”.


Fraser, N. (2016). Contradictions of Capital and Care. New Left Review, pp.99-117.

Gilmore, R. W. (2008). Forgoten places and the seeds of grassroots planning. In C. R. Hale, Ed. Engaging contradictions: Theory, politics, methods of activist scholarship, pp.31-61. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lefebvre, H. (1996). Writings on cities, E. Kofman & E. Labas, Trans. and Ed. London:  Blackwell. 

Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city.  New York: Routledge.

Lipman, P. (2015). Accumulation by dispossession: Closing schools and state abandonment of communities of color. In B. Picower & E. Mayorga, What’s Race Got To Do With It: How current school reform policy maintains racial inequality. Peter Lang Publishers.

Peck, J. (2012). Austerity urbanism: American cities under extreme economy. City, 16, 626-655.

Pulido, L. (2016).  Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 27 (3), pp. 1-16.

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