4th Vienna Humanities Festival

Hope and Dispair

Upcoming > 4th Vienna Humanities Festival

“Hope and Dispair” – is the motto of the 4th Vienna Humanities Festival, which
will be hosting an inspiring exchange of ideas between science, art and culture from 26 to 29 September.

We are in the midst of several interlinked global crises. Longstanding principles of rational politics have given way to ever increasing emotionalism; democracies seem to dismantle themselves in the face of authoritarian regimes; fears of economic recession and the effects of new technologies and automation loom large. Thirty years after the end of communism in Eastern Europe, liberal democracy has long ceased to be a self-evident goal.

With so much despair, the prospects for hope are more urgent than ever. How can we move toward realizing more desirable futures? And what are the lessons we can learn from earlier forms of resistance. The fourth Vienna Humanities Festival takes up these burning questions in 40 events that bring together leading figures from the world of academia, art, and culture.

The festival opens on 26th September with Ágnes Heller, one of the most important contemporary philosopher. As an eyewitness and critical observer, she has witnessed the political systems that concern us today: the two great totalitarianisms, democracy and, most recently, populist antipluralism. Together with IWM Permanent Fellow Ludger Hagedorn, she speaks on the stage of the Volkstheater about her latest book Paradox Europa, which is a wake-up call to Europe: “If the Union fails, Europe will have a past, but no present and even less a future. It will turn into a museum.” The opening event, which will be held in cooperation with Vienna Lectures, and will be followed by a high-level discussion on “Social Networks or Social Nightmares?” at the Globe Vienna in the Marx Halle. On the podium are the Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems (Kämpf um dein Daten/Fight for your data), who has taken to court against Facebook, the publicist and critic of the new smart world Evgeny Morozov (The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom) and Roger McNamee, who after his experience as Mark Zuckerberg’s adviser has made headlines with the book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

The debate on the 27th of September will be organized in cooperation with Vienna Contemporary and ERSTE Foundation and will be moderated by Shalini Randeria, Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) .


– Institute for Human Sciences (IWM )
Wien Museum
Time to Talk – European Houses of Debate

26.-29. September 2019
Hope and Dispair – 4th Vienna Humanities Festival
In German and English.

40 events in 2 days (near Karlsplatz)
Wien Museum
Evangelische Schule
TU Vienna

Admission free!

Further information available at

  • 26. September 2019, 19:00 Uhr, Volkstheater

    Agnes Heller: Paradox Europa
    Festival opening / Viennese lecture
    Admission free / ticket required:

  • 27. September 2019, 19:00 Uhr, Globe Wien, Marx Halle

    Social Networks or Social Nightmares?
    Panel discussion with Max Schrems, Evgeny Morozov, Roger McNamee
    In English
    Free admission / details to follow

For further questions and inquiries:

Marion Gollner, IWM
Tel: +43 1 313 58 – 207

Angelika Seebacher, Wien Museum
Tel: +43 664 882 938 54

Please find the digital press kit here.