Marcuse Society 



After completing his PhD thesis [see cover page above]—entitled "Der deutsche Künstlerroman" [The German Artist Novel]—at the University of Freiburg in 1922, Herbert Marcuse moved to Berlin. He returned to Freiburg in 1929 to write a habilitation (professor's dissertation) with Martin Heidegger. In 1933, unable to complete that project under the Nazis, Marcuse became associated with the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung) and eventually emigrated to New York.

Marcuse Society phd RESEARCH fellowship

Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowships are awarded annually to selected graduate students who are undertaking critical research while enrolled in PhD programs at participating universities worldwide. 

The International Herbert Marcuse Society launched—in 2023—a fellowship initiative in support of graduate students conducting critical research who are enrolled in PhD programs at participating universities worldwide. 

Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowships are awarded annually to students around the world. Eligible students must be enrolled in PhD programs at the participating universities whose faculty (see below) serve on the Marcuse Society’s Committee on Fellowships. The fellowship funds may be used to defray costs associated with tuition, fees, books, research, travel, and/or living expenses. Additional funds may be provided to enable scholarship recipients to attend and present papers at Marcuse Society conferences and sponsored events. 

Recipients of the fellowship, along with their supervising faculty at participating universities, also will have opportunities to meet to discuss their research and writing, as this PhD Research Fellowships program also features a collective mentoring component. Each year, the participating professors and fellowship recipients will self-organize a vibrant, cooperative, intellectual community amongst themselves by, for example, using Zoom and in-person events (e.g., workshops, symposia, other activities). What an amazingly wonderful opportunity for all concerned—and for the future of critical theorizing!

In solidarity with new generations of creative and critical thinkers, the Marcuse Society provides these scholarships to students of exceptional promise whose research and writing engages with Critical Theory and the broader Marxist tradition as well as with other radical theories and liberatory praxis—building on Marcuse’s legacy to understand and transform the world.

A list of supervising faculty and their respective universities follows:

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All members of the Marcuse Society's Board of Directors are available to provide guidance and assistance as research advisors to the PhD Fellows, who are warmly welcomed to contact Board members, many of whom will regularly participate in online meetings and in-person gatherings of the supervising faculty and fellows.

Interested PhD students at participating universities should direct inquiries to the relevant faculty listed above.

Douglas Kellner, Emeritus Professor, University of California, Los Angeles—UCLA (USA), serves as the Chair of the Marcuse Society’s Committee on Fellowships [], and Andrew T. Lamas, Faculty, University of Pennsylvania (USA), serves as the Committee's Co-Chair [].

2023-2024 Fellows


Tyler B. van Wulven

PhD candidate (ABD), Philosophy, University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Tyler B. van Wulven, a PhD candidate (ABD) in Philosophy at the University of Kentucky, is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Arnold L. Farr and Professor Eric Sanday.

Prof. Farr writes:

Tyler was inspired by Chapter Three—"The Conquest of the Unhappy Consciousness"—of Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man, to explore at a deeper level the notion of the unhappy consciousness in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.  Tyler explores this idea in the context in trying to develop a critique of social pathologies.   

Working title of dissertation: 

Tyler explains his dissertation project:

I am generally interested in 19th and 20th century social thought, and I am particularly interested in those thinkers who take seriously the impact of social, historical, and cultural effects on our beliefs, preferences, and attitudes which inform the we way construct, interpret, and act within the world. My dissertation centers on Hegel’s notion of the unhappy consciousness in a variety of ways. I am investigating the extent to which the Phenomenology of Spirit can be read as responding to the basic problem of the unhappy consciousness, how the development of this notion in the rise of Christianity extends into modern rationality (modern scientific rationalism and modern moral rationalism), and how the basic structure of the unhappy consciousness in its suffering provides us with a novel approach to authoritarian identification that emphasizes the suffering of the adherent as opposed to rather unsympathetic and reifying attempts that distance us from this phenomenon. Finally, all of these interests have led to a more general interest in the notion of ‘modernity,’ as well as the history of philosophy and the philosophy of history.


Daniele Cargnelutti

PhD candidate, Philosophy, Universidad de Guanajuato 

Guanajuato, MÉXICO

Daniele Cargnelutti, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the Universidad de Guanajuato, is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Stefan Gandler (Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro) and Professor Aureliano Ortega Esquivel (Universidad de Guanajuato).

Prof. Gandler writes:

The project "Dialéctica de la barbarie. Tanteos y exploraciones de sus potencialidades críticas" from Daniele Cargnelutti is—as I understand it—a philosophical experiment that tries to give a new sense of what Walter Benjamin had in mind, when he said that every monument of civilization is at the same time a monument of barbarism. Going in another direction with the same idea, Cargnelutti wants to find an escape from the existing destructive civilizational process by way of something that has still no name, but would be very far away from the today's capitalist reality, which sells itself as the only possible "civilization." In that provocative manner which I know very well from his Bachelor's and Master's theses (both award-winning), Cargnelutti introduces a different sense of the word "barbarism"—a concept that we will explore together critically and with emancipatory commitments during this fellowship year. 

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Daniele explains his dissertation project:

The objective of this project is the critical elaboration, from the tradition of Critical Theory—Adorno, Benjamin and Horkheimer—of a dialectical image of barbarism that is not solely related to fascist violence and that does not fall into the typical progressivism of certain philosophies of history. By way of rejecting some readings that are considered to be essentialist or humanist, that is, neither dialectical nor critical, of these authors, we seek to propose the existence of a barbaric notion—new barbarism (Benjamin)—capable not only of moving away from the forms of the current relations of production, but also to offer glimmers of hope in the forms of imagining different worlds (Horkheimer) and of poetic creations that enable non-identitary communication (Adorno). For this, a first critical-analytical moment of search and tracking of the tensions that frame barbarism in the different authors that precede and border the present work is proposed; and then it is intended to carry out an original distancing gesture, with strong help from the critique of civilizational occidentalism carried out from Latin America (Fernández Retamar; Gandler), to test a new idea of barbarism capable of breaking the borders imposed by rationalist humanism of the supposedly monolithic production of philosophical knowledge.


Monika Brenner-Skazedonig

PhD candidate (ABD), Media and Communication, Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt 

Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, AUSTRIA

Monika Brenner-Skazedonig, a PhD candidate (ABD) in Media and Communication at Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt, is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. She is supervised by Professor Rainer Winter (Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt).

Prof. Winter writes:

Monika Brenner-Skazedonig discusses and unfolds Marcuse’s foundational and inspiring analyses of the domination and destruction of nature and of the importance of ecology for Critical Theory in the theoretical context of ecofeminism.  Against this background, she conducts a qualitative-empirical inquiry to describe and understand the experiences and practices of new social eco-movements. In doing so, she will provide an important insight into a form of social activism that is highly relevant today.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Monika explains her dissertation project:

In Chapter 2—"Nature and Revolution"—of Counterrevolution and Revolt, Marcuse elaborates how new radical sensibilities are constitutive for liberating practices. He argues for an approach to nature for its own sake in a non-functionalist way, which is fundamental to overcome the oppressive structures of capitalist societies. Liberation of people depends on liberation of nature. In overcoming the man-made split in conceptualizing nature and culture, materialist ecofeminist’s and Marcuse’s critical thinking overlap. My interest lies in (a) similarities between Marcuse’s concept of nature as subject-object and ecofeminist conceptions of nature-culture-relations and potential mutual enrichments; (b) understanding how the notion of the body and its sensibilities in protest practices can promote “a radical, nonconformist sensibility;” and, (c) how Marcuse’s emphasis on Eros as life force can inspire vivid critical understanding of protest practices in the field of new social eco-movements.


Kalyani Singh

PhD candidate, Gender and Development Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University 

New Delhi, INDIA

Kalyani Singh, a PhD candidate in the School of Gender and Development Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. She is supervised by Professor Savita Singh (IGNOU).

Prof. Singh writes:

Kalyani Singh’s doctoral research is focused on how the self can still be a witness to all the atrocities women face in the Brahmanical patriarchy in India. Apart from the inequality and oppression structured and enforced by any patriarchy that women, in particular, face, the Brahmanical patriarchy deepens its exploitation and oppression towards women of lower castes, such as Dalit and Bahujan Women. Kalyani Singh’s research offers a creative-critical reading of some of the major texts written by women of these backgrounds. Her reading of Maitreyi Pushpa’s novel, Chak, raises the problem of education that women from lower caste backgrounds face. Even the occurrence of death is not unknown to such girls and women.  She takes up the autobiographical writings of Dalit women such as Shushila Takbhaure’s Shikange ka Dard (Pain of Incarceration), where one's self and its numerous wounds become representative narratives of most such women. By examining and adding more narratives to the field of “writing the self,” she makes a much-needed, fresh, epistemological contribution to the study of self, society, and feminism.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Kalyani explains her dissertation project:

I have chosen to write my doctoral dissertation on the topic, “Writing the Self: Dalit Bajuan Women’s Writing in Hindi,'' as this theme relates to my own life and to those with whom I stand in solidarity. In feminist research, it is epistemologically possible to relate one’s self to the knowledge one creates. I myself come from a background of grievous disregard and denigration. Reading the writings of extraordinary women— writers such as Savitri Bai Phule, Shushila Takbhaure, Rajni Tilak, Anita Bharti, Rajat Rani Meenu, Shanti Yadav and Maitreyi Pushpahas allowed me to think more deeply about caste patriarchy in India. My research focuses on the material and aesthetic liberation of Dalit and Bahujan women from the Brahmanical patriarchy that exists in India. My theoretical approach employs Creative-Critical Theory, which is constitutive of critical theory and Dalit feminism in India.


Nathalia Barroso

PhD candidate (ABD), Philosophy,  Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto, BRASIL

Nathalia Barroso, a PhD candidate (ABD) in Philosophy at Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. She is supervised by Professor Imaculada Kangussu (UFOP).

Prof. Kangussu writes:

In her PhD research, Nathalia considers the ways art can offer an alternative for society's repressive structure. Alienation is the key concept of her investigations. Reading Marx, with not a little help from Marcuse, she observes not only that—alienated from the products of their labor, from their lives, from themselves, and from the other beingshumanity perceives reality only in the forms it is given but, also, that this petrified sensibility can be broken up and open to other possibilities. The argument of the thesis is that, because art is alienated from the established society, according to Marcuse, the aesthetic experience is an alienation of the alienated structure. Creating a second alienation, that is the alienation of alienation, works of art can break the monopoly of those who have established reality and defined what is real and what is not.                       

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Nathalia explains her dissertation project:

I have a particular interest in aesthetic manifestations that can challenge establishment repressions. This research focuses on the domain and possibilities of overcoming the alienation prevailing in the contemporary world. The theoretical directions offered by Herbert Marcuse point out that the political potential in art is the possibility to denounce reality, proposing a new experience of radical transformation of the values of dominant culture. The aesthetic experience can break with the cycle of alienation, alienating individuals from the situation imposed by the advent of advanced capitalism.


Gabriel Dias

PhD candidate (ABD), Philosophy, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto, BRASIL

Gabriel Dias, a PhD candidate (ABD) in Philosophy at Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Imaculada Kangussu (UFOP).

Prof. Kangussu writes:

Gabriel's project is to study "pixação"—akin to graffiti but not the same thing. Graffiti typically refers to interventions on the public space by painting. Pixação is also intervention on the public space by painting but with a radical difference: it does not figure a meaning, neither a picture, nor any form of mimesis be it with an image or with words. Such paintings look like letters, or better, like hieroglyphs, like a language that is not possible to understand. It is common to see pixações in places very hard to access. Pixação is a forbidden practice. Breaking the existing with longings for change, the visual protests are existential expressions, cries for help, and threats hard to punish. “Guys who are risking their freedom and even their lives to do this—they really want to say something,” said Gabriel, whose reflections link political and aesthetic dimensions using concepts from Critical Theory, with a starting point in Marcuse’s insight regarding desublimation of art. To go beyond the totalitarian capitalist apparatus, which produces an identification between the system and the individual's needs, and determines values, desires, dreams, and fantasies, the “pixação” creates expressions that are, in a sense, (using Marcuse’s words in Counterrevolution and Revolt) an “immediate art, which responds to, and activates, not only the intellect and a refined, 'distilled,' restricted sensibility, but also, and primarily, a 'natural' sense experience freed from the requirements of an obsolescent exploitative society.”                              

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Gabriel explains his dissertation project:

This research is centered on the contemporary cultural movement of "pixação," a practice born in the Brazilian peripheries that manifests strong aesthetic and political aspects. Our first thesis is that the formal simplicity characterizing the projects of these interveners is a direct result of their political positioning. Our second thesis is that critical theory provides concepts capable of contributing to the understanding of this cultural phenomenon. Examples include the aesthetic-social construct, coined by Rodrigo Duarte; the disartification of art, developed by Theodor Adorno; and, the desublimation of art, created by Herbert Marcuse.


Fabiana Vieira

PhD candidate (ABD), Philosophy, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto, BRASIL

Fabiana Vieira, a PhD candidate (ABD) in Philosophy at Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. She is supervised by Professor Imaculada Kangussu (UFOP).

Prof. Kangussu writes:

Fabiana Vieira got a Master's degree in philosophy with a dissertation (entitled “Art and Politics in the Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse”) about the entanglement of the aesthetic and political dimensions signaled by Marcuse throughout his work—from his doctoral dissertation, Der Deutsche Kunstlerroman, until his last book, The Aesthetic Dimension. Her PhD research intends to signal the presence of Marcuse's concept of a New Sensibility in the reflections of Mogobe Ramose, the South African philosopher who widely spread the Ubuntu philosophy. The Bantu term Ubuntu means humanity—expressing the idea that “I am because we are,” “I am because you are.” This position, an element in Ramone’s concept of pluriversality, can shape a New Sensibility. Fabiana's proposal is to investigate how the aesthetic experience can be conceptualized as an experience of the meanings present in both concepts—New Sensibility and Pluriversity.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Fabiana explains her dissertation project:

Based on the Pluriversality of the Being, which, according to Mogobe Ramose, is the perception that ontologically the Being is the manifestation of the multiplicity and diversity of entities, this Ubuntu philo-praxis and decolonial thinking add a new understanding by which social change becomes an individual need providing a new sensibility, which, according to Herbert Marcuse, “would foster, on a social scale, the vital need for the abolition of injustice and misery and would shape the further evolution...." [Marcuse, An Essay on Liberation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, pp. 23-24)] We continue investigating: can we understand the work of art, from an afroperspectivista perspective, as liberatory images—imaginings that demand the great refusal and petition for the new sensibility? 


Ada Ferreira

PhD candidate, Philosophy, Universidade Federal do ABC

Santo André, BRASIL

Ada Ferreira, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. She is supervised by Professor Marilia Mello Pisani (UFABC).

Prof. Pisani writes:

A pesquisa de doutorado de Ada Ferreira se dedica a estudar a obra da pensadora Glória Anzaldúa. O trabalho, que escolhe como ponto de partida o livro Borderlands/ La Fronteira: The New Mestiza (1987), quer investigar como Anzaldúa articula sua crítica ao processo de colonização territorial, politica e cultural com os processos de resistência e o ativismo. Para este trabalho, a questão epistemológica aparece no centro de um debate político sobre o colonialismo entendido como um epistemicídio, que apaga tradições culturais, conhecimentos e formas de linguagem e, portanto, de vida. Por isso, Ada propõe investigar a questão da linguagem poética e política de Anzaldúa a partir da noção de identidades de fronteira. Além de mobilizar diferentes autoras que ajudam a localizar historicamente o trabalho de Anzaldúa nas fronteiras de Estados Unidos e México, este trabalho reconhece a contribuição de Herbert Marcuse seja na articulação entre estética e política, seja na crítica da violência colonial e na esperança que ele via no que chamava de movimentos do "Terceiro Mundo". A pesquisa irá trabalhar alguns textos fundamentais de Marcuse porque acreditamos que ele nos ajudará a localizar a importância do pensamento de Anzaldúa a partir de um certo modo de entender a teoria critica dos movimentos sociais.

The doctoral research of Ada Ferreira is dedicated to the study of the work of the thinker Glória Anzaldúa. The research, which takes the book Borderlands/ La Fronteira: The New Mestiza (1987) as its starting point, aims to investigate how Anzaldúa articulates her critique of the territorial, political, and cultural colonization process with resistance and activism processes. For this research, the epistemological question appears at the center of a political debate about colonialism understood as an epistemicide, which erases cultural traditions, knowledge, and forms of language and, therefore, of life. So, then, Ada proposes to investigate the question of Anzaldúa's poetic and political language from the notion of border identities. Besides mobilizing different authors who help to historically locate Anzaldúa's work on the borders of the United States and Mexico, this work recognizes the contribution of Herbert Marcuse both in the articulation between aesthetics and politics, and in the critique of colonial violence and the hope he saw in what he called "Third World" movements. The research will work on some fundamental texts by Marcuse because we believe that he will help us locate the importance of Anzaldúa's thought from a certain way of understanding the critical theory of social movements.        

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Ada explains her dissertation project:

A pesquisa percorre os caminhos que a pensadora chicana Gloria Anzaldúa faz rumo a construção da ideia de consciência da New Mestiza. Suas obras, de uma maneira peculiar, desestabilizam a forma como a academia concebe o conhecimento, formando uma nova possibilidade de experiência e de construção teórica. Dentro das linhas da poesia, da narrativa, da autobiografia e da mescla de línguas, a autora vai apresentando sua teoria como um convite para uma conversa. Suas palavras são uma espécie de diálogo que pretende atravessar as experiências do corpo. Ou seja, em um debate com o feminismo, Anzaldúa propõe que a teoria possa ter sua inscrição na superfície do corpo, possibilitando que sistemas rígidos e universais se transformem em pontes para o diálogo. Nesta ponte, temos essa travessia que proporciona encontros possíveis, como este com Herbert Marcuse, onde podemos discutir o quanto o feminismo anti-racista e anti-capitalista também faz parte da teoria de Anzaldúa. O colonialismo, desenvolvido sob os moldes do capitalismo, construiu o sistema de poder que se estendia às formas de dominação exercidas pelo homem. A mulher, como escreve Marcuse (1974) era o oposto dessa dominação, sendo sensível, não violenta e "protetora da vida”, mas infelizmente participava dela enquanto dominada. Anzaldúa vai explicar que esta dominação persiste numa sociedade em que o poder se concentra nas mãos dos homens. A escritora, já às margens dos cânones por ser mulher, enfrenta ainda outros desafios. Além do discurso sobre a construção social de forças para uma reivindicação de uma justiça social, ela tem que trabalhar para que seu discurso enquanto mulher de cor, chicana, terceiro-mundista, e com histórico da classe operária, seja ouvido. No trabalho que desenvolve, Anzaldúa busca quebrar este ciclo vicioso do nós versus o outro/a outra. Tenta construir uma consciência mais ampla, mais dialógica e significativa. Um feminismo que não exclua identidade, não fragmente histórias, mas inclua, ouça, trabalhe em conjunto. Em Anzaldúa, assim como em Marcuse, vemos a possibilidade de formar alianças, nos reposicionar na luta para confrontar um problema que alcança todas e todos indiscriminadamente. Essas identidades e todas as experiências individuais formam uma comunidade que cruza as diferenças, é uma ferramenta para o fortalecimento coletivo e o combate ao individualismo que ainda desarticula e separa muitas e muitos de nós. Temas que no fim levam ao mesmo lugar de dominação. A Mestiza, por fim, é para Anzaldúa uma consciência que está preparada para dialogar sobre as diferenças. Será essa consciência que vai desarticular o sujeito universal e convidar seus leitores a experiência do pensamento e do corpo enquanto construção do próprio sujeito. Enquanto um lugar metaforizado a fronteira onde habita Anzaldúa é local de trânsito, de conhecimento, de trocas e intercâmbios culturais. E é este o lugar que a Mestiza precisa ocupar em nós.

The research follows the paths that the Chicana thinker Gloria Anzaldúa takes towards the construction of the idea of conscience of the New Mestiza. Her works, in a peculiar way, destabilize the way the academy conceives knowledge, forming a new possibility of experience and theoretical construction. Within the lines of poetry, narrative, autobiography, and the mixture of languages, the author presents her theory as an invitation to a conversation. Her words are a kind of dialogue that intends to cross the experiences of the body. That is, in a debate with feminism, Anzaldúa proposes that the theory can have its inscription on the surface of the body, enabling rigid and universal systems to become bridges for dialogue. On this bridge, we have this crossing that provides possible meetings, like this one with Herbert Marcuse, where we can discuss how much anti-racist and anti-capitalist feminism is also part of the theory of the Anzaldúa. Colonialism, developed under the molds of capitalism, built the system of power that extended to the forms of domination exercised by man. The woman, as Marcuse (1974) writes, was the opposite of this domination, being sensitive, non-violent, and "protective of life", but unfortunately she participated in it while dominated. Anzaldúa explains that this domination persists in a society where power is concentrated in the hands of men. The writer, already on the margins of the canons for being a woman, still faces other challenges. In addition to the discourse on the social construction of forces for a claim for social justice, she has to work so that her discourse as a woman of color, chicana, third-worldist, and with a working-class background, is heard. In the work she develops, Anzaldúa seeks to break this vicious cycle of us versus the other. She tries to build a wider, more dialogic and meaningful consciousness. A feminism that does not exclude identity, does not fragment stories, but includes, listens, works together. In Anzaldúa, as well as in Marcuse, we see the possibility of forming alliances, repositioning ourselves in the struggle to confront a problem that affects all and all indiscriminately. These identities and all individual experiences form a community that crosses differences, it is a tool for collective strengthening and the fight against individualism that still disarticulates and separates many of us—themes that in the end lead to the same place of domination. The Mestiza, finally, is for Anzaldúa a consciousness that is prepared to dialogue about differences. It will be this awareness that will dismantle the universal subject and invite its readers to experience thought and the body as a construction of the subject itself. As a metaphorical place, the frontier where Anzaldúa lives is a place of transit, knowledge, exchanges, and cultural exchanges. And this is the place Mestiza needs to occupy in us.


Daniel Neves de Andrade

PhD candidate, Philosophy, Universidade Federal do ABC

Santo André, BRASIL

Daniel Neves de Andrade, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Aléxia Bretas (UFABC).

Prof. Bretas writes:

O projeto de doutorado de Daniel Neves de Andrade busca estabelecer conexões entre a teoria benjaminiana da história e o papel da arte pós-aurática na tarefa de dar voz àqueles e àquelas que não aparecem nos arquivos da História oficial. O doutorando – que também é um “cineasta da quebrada” – pretende investigar as possibilidades criativas do cinema independente no processo de transformação social a partir da periferia do capitalismo tardio. Tomando como ponto de partida as teses “Sobre o conceito de história” e o ensaio “A obra de arte na era de sua reprodutibilidade técnica”, sua pesquisa pretende colocar em diálogo categorias benjaminianas maiores como as de “imagens dialéticas”, “montagem” e “tempo-agora” com a produção mais recente de cineastas periféricos, cujo trabalho muito têm contribuído para trazer à luz narrativas e trajetórias de luta rasuradas ou apagadas pelos registros oficiais. Assim, a voz dos povos originários, bem como a de mulheres, pessoas racializadas e de sexualidade fora da norma vêm se somar aos clamores de estudantes, trabalhadores e moradores de regiões periféricas por uma sociedade economicamente menos desigual e mais aberta aos desejos e sonhos de uma vida vivível. Para isso, a reabilitação de uma dimensão estética histórica e culturalmente desvalorizada se revela fundamental para a mobilização de uma outra sensibilidade como pivô de uma revolução total no âmbito intersubjetivo de ideias, afetos e modos de vida compartilhados. Afinal, como diz Marcuse no “Prefácio Político” de Eros e civilização: “hoje, a luta pela vida, a luta por Eros, é a luta política”.

Daniel Neves de Andrade’s doctoral project aims to establish connections between Benjamin’s theory of history and the role of “post-auratic” art in the task of giving voice to those who do not appear in the archives of official History. This PhD candidate—who is also a filmmaker—intends to investigate the creative possibilities of independent cinema in the process of social transformation from the periphery of late capitalism. Taking as a starting point the theses “On the Concept of History” and the essay “The Work of Art in the Era of its Technical Reproducibility,” his research intends to put in dialogue Benjaminian categories such as “dialectical images,” “montage,” and “time-now” with the most recent production of peripheral filmmakers, whose work has greatly contributed to bringing to light narratives and trajectories of struggle erased by official records. Thus, the voice of indigenous peoples, as well as that of women, people of color, and sexuality outside the norm, joins the claims of students, workers, and residents of peripheral regions for a society that is economically less unequal and more open to the desires and dreams of a livable life. For this, the rehabilitation of a historically and culturally devalued aesthetic dimension proves to be fundamental for the mobilization of another sensibility as the pivot of a total revolution in the intersubjective instances of shared ideas, affections, and ways of life. After all, as Marcuse says in the “Political Preface” of Eros and Civilization: “today, the struggle for life, the struggle for Eros, is the political struggle.”    

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Daniel explains his dissertation project:

Nos documentos oficiais, monumentos, livros didáticos, feriados e celebrações cívicas estão presentes os protagonistas da História, seja de uma cidade, de um país, de um continente ou de toda uma época. Mas onde está o registro daqueles anônimos, invisíveis e aparentemente sem importância, como nos disse Bertolt Brecht, que construíram a muralha da China, as pirâmides do Egito, as conquistas dignas de serem lembradas e admiradas coletivamente? A partir da obra de Walter Benjamin e do cinema periférico – isto é, do cinema realizado na periferia do capitalismo –, esse projeto busca investigar e reconstituir parte da memória dos oprimidos a partir de suas próprias narrativas, imagens e lugares de origem. Segundo Benjamin, o historiador materialista deve fazer um trabalho arqueológico com o ocorrido, juntar os cacos e lembrar os mortos para reconhecê-los e redimi-los. No Brasil do século XXI, impulsionados por mudanças sociais e tecnológicas, cineastas moradores de regiões periféricas têm realizado filmes não apenas sobre, mas principalmente nas próprias comunidades onde vivem e atuam. A questão do futuro, do passado e do espaço que os conecta é parte significativa dessas obras. O objetivo desta pesquisa é justamente traçar uma relação entre as ideias de Benjamin sobre o papel das imagens em movimento como instrumentos aptos a contar a história dos vencidos e as produções de um cinema independente situado às margens da indústria cultural. Com a câmera em punho, nós, autodenominados “cineastas da quebrada”, nos posicionamos como o anjo benjaminiano da história, que se recusa a ser arrastado pela tempestade do progresso, resistindo aos avanços do pensamento único nas sociedades unidimensionais, de ontem e de hoje. Por meio de fotos, arquivos, testemunhos e intervenções estético-políticas, buscamos identificar e recolher os escombros das grandes narrativas e lembrar, crítica e criativamente, dos que foram soterrados, esquecidos e silenciados, compondo, a partir de uma perspectiva “marginal”, uma espécie de memória periférica em processo de construção ou “montagem”. Nesse percurso, a arte assume um papel fundamental no esforço de tornar visíveis e compartilháveis os restos e fragmentos de um passado colonial violento cujos lampejos seguem inspirando a formação de uma outra sensibilidade rebelde atenta aos aspectos preteridos por uma tradição civilizatória erigida sobre o sofrimento do trabalho alienado e a repressão sistemática contra a potência de vida representada pela figura de Eros, aqui deslocada e situada no Sul do Sul.

In official documents, monuments, textbooks, holidays, and civic celebrations, the characters of History of a city, a country, a continent, or an entire era are present as protagonists. But as Bertolt Brecht told us, where is the record of those anonymous, invisible and apparently unimportant ones who built the Chinese wall, the pyramids of Egypt, the achievements worthy of being collectively remembered and admired? Based on the work of Walter Benjamin and peripheral cinema—that is, cinema made on the periphery of capitalism—this project aims to investigate and reconstitute part of the memory of the oppressed based on their own narratives, images, and places of origin. According to Benjamin, the materialist historian must do an archaeological work with what happened, put the pieces together, and remember the dead in order to recognize and redeem them. In Brazil in the 21st century, driven by social and technological changes, filmmakers living in peripheral regions have made films not only about, but mainly in their own communities where they live and work. The question of the future, the past, and the space that connects them is a significant part of these works. The objective of this research is precisely to trace relations between Benjamin’s ideas about the role of testimonial images as important instruments able to tell the history of the vanquished and the productions of an independent cinema located on the margins of the culture industry. With the camera in hand, we, self-proclaimed filmmakers “da quebrada,” position ourselves as the Benjaminian angel of history, who refuses to be blown by the storm of progress, resisting the advances of toxic positivity in one-dimensional societies, of yesterday and today. Through photos, archives, interviews, and aesthetic-political interventions, we aim to identify and collect the debris of the great narratives and remember those who were buried, forgotten, and silenced, composing, from a “marginal” perspective, a kind of peripheral memory in the process of construction or montage. In this path, art assumes a fundamental role in the effort to make visible and shareable the remains and fragments of a violent colonial past whose glimpses continue to inspire the formation of another rebellious sensibility attentive to aspects neglected by a civilizing tradition built on the suffering of alienated work and the systematic repression against the life’s drive represented by the figure of Eros, displaced and located in the South of the South.


Gabriel Ramponi

PhD candidate (ABD), Philosophy, Universidade Federal do ABC

Santo André, BRASIL

Gabriel Ramponi, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Silvio Carneiro (UFABC).

Prof. Carneiro writes:

Em seu doutorado, Gabriel Ramponi debate sobre aspectos epistêmicos e políticos da imaginação. Elemento fundamental para a política contemporânea, ela ocuparia a composição das lutas sociais desenvolvendo novas formas de vida, mas também permite a colonização conservadora das nossas fantasias no modo como a ideologia atravessa nossas subjetividades. Ramponi parte de Eros e civilização de Herbert Marcuse para observar como a imaginação está no coração da dimensão estética, fundamental para superar os limites de uma civilização repressiva. Todavia, em O homem unidimensional, a imaginação libertadora é questionada: a própria sociedade unidimensional captura as dimensões da fantasia e dos prazeres para uma versão dessublimada-repressiva da imaginação. Esta última perspectiva interessa particularmente para além do centro capitalista das sociedades industriais avançadas. Ramponi segue Roberto Schwarz, para quem a matéria social brasileira é moldada por um caráter peculiar da ideologia, quando a elite social procura justificar a escravidão e outras estruturas violentas com uma fantasia humanista, liberal. Mais do que uma falsidade ideológica, trata-se da violência expressa às claras, estruturada como um jogo liberal de uma imaginação cínica. De certo, Marcuse prevê a violência da chegada da modernidade na periferia, destruindo toda possibilidade de vida fora de seu molde unidimensional. Estaria a imaginação também condenada a esse fim? Poderia a imaginação na periferia apresentar formas diversas de luta?

In his doctorate, Gabriel Ramponi discusses epistemic and political aspects of imagination. As a fundamental element of contemporary politics, it would occupy the composition of social struggles in the development of new forms of life. At the same time, it would also allow for the conservative colonization of our phantasies in the way ideology intertwines with our subjectivities. Ramponi starts with Marcuse's Eros and Civilization to observe how imagination is at the core of the aesthetic dimension, central to overcoming the limits of a repressive civilization. However, in Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man, liberating imagination is questioned: unidimensional society captures dimensions of phantasy and pleasures for a repressive-desublimated version of imagination. This last perspective is especially interesting beyond the capitalist core of advanced industrial societies. Ramponi follows Roberto Schwarz, for whom Brazilian social matter is shaped by a peculiar character of ideology, by which the social elite seeks to justify slavery and other violent structures through a humanist liberal phantasy. More than an ideological falsity, this phantasy speaks of violence clearly expressed, structured as a liberal game of cynical imagination. Certainly, Marcuse foresees the violence that accompanies modernity in the periphery, shattering every possibility of life outside its unidimensional form. Would imagination also be condemned to this end? Could imagination in the periphery present different ways of struggle?

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Gabriel explains his dissertation project:

Minha pesquisa pretende mergulhar no conceito de imaginação e seus efeitos sociais. Numa relação recíproca, a imaginação busca tanto imagens no mundo quanto as concede na criação deste — e na de outros. A imaginação caminha, portanto, entre as linhas da subjetividade e as da objetividade. Nesse sentido, parto da obra de Herbert Marcuse, mais especificamente de seu livro Eros e Civilização, com vistas à compreender como o filósofo faz uso da imaginação em sua relação com a estética e a psicanálise. Assim, seria possível vislumbrar a imaginação como constituinte tanto de nossa vida psíquica quanto mediadora desta com o mundo externo, em íntima relação com os sentidos. Isso foi central para que Marcuse elaborasse as potencialidades libertadoras da imaginação. Por sua vez, em obra posterior—O Homem Unidimensional—as características que permeiam a imaginação são observadas a partir do momento histórico e da organização social da sociedade industrial avançada. Ali, constatam-se contornos da imaginação sob determinada forma social, o que escancara tanto suas limitações quanto suas possibilidades destrutivas e violentas. Minha investigação, então, pretende questionar o caráter político da imaginação, seu lugar na crítica social e seu potencial, tanto liberador de potência crítica quanto de práticas violentas. Para tanto, me baseio também na crítica literária de Roberto Schwarz. Seu método de crítica literária concebe a forma estética como reveladora da sedimentação histórica: uma espécie de estudo topográfico do chão histórico. Assim, uma sociedade como a brasileira, de herança social e econômica escravocrata, ao mesmo tempo direcionada a práticas comerciais de cunho liberal (economia de exportação, típica de sociedades periféricas, em consonância com os valores da sociedade liberal burguesa) pode nos fornecer valioso material de análise crítica quanto às encruzilhadas da imaginação. Qual sua relação com a reprodução ideológica da elite? Que formas específicas a imaginação assume nesses contornos? E como os diferentes “personagens” sociais a colocam em movimento? Ainda é possível pensar sobre a imaginação em termos de liberação? Estas são algumas das perguntas que guiam a investigação. 

My research intends to delve into the concept of imagination and its social effects. In a reciprocal relation, imagination searches for images within the world as much as it provides them throughout the creation of this same world—and others. Thus, imagination walks between the lines of subjectivity and objectivity. In this sense, my starting point is the work of Herbert Marcuse, more specifically his book Eros and Civilization, to understand how the philosopher makes use of imagination in its relation to aesthetics and psychoanalysis. So, it would be possible to envision imagination both as a constitutive element of our psychic life and as its mediator with the external world, intimately related to our senses. This was central to Marcuse's elaboration of the liberating potentialities of imagination. In turn, in a later work—One-Dimensional Man—the features permeating imagination are observed from the historical moment and the social organization of advanced industrial society. There, contours of imagination are determined under the specific social form, which displays the limitations and destructive and violent possibilities of imagination. My investigation, then, intends to question the political character of imagination, its place in social criticism, and its potential, both liberating of critical potency and violent practices. For this purpose, I also draw on the literary criticism of Roberto Schwarz. His critical method conceives aesthetic form as revealing historical sedimentation: a kind of topographical study of the historical ground. Thus, a society like Brazil, with a social and economic heritage of slavery, and, at the same time, turned towards commercial practices, coined in liberal terms (i.e., an export economy, typical of peripherical societies, consonant with the values of bourgeois liberal society), can provide us valuable material for critical analyses regarding the crossroads of imagination. What is imagination's relation with the elite’s ideological reproduction? What specific forms does imagination assume within these contours? And how do the different social “characters” set it in motion? Is it still possible to think about imagination in liberating terms? These are some of the questions guiding the investigation.  


Bogdan Ovcharuk

PhD candidate, Politics (Political Theory), York University

Toronto, CANADA

Bogdan Ovcharuk, a PhD candidate in Politics (Political Theory) at York University (YU), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Terry Maley (YU).

Prof. Maley writes:

Bogdan Ovrachuk’s very unique dissertation undertakes the reconstruction of Marcuse's aesthetic theory using the Hegelian categories of social essence (Wesen) and beautiful “shining-forth” (Scheinen). Ovrachuk’s thesis traces the development of Marcuse’s aesthetic theory from Marcuse’s own dissertation on the German artist-novel to his late work, The Aesthetic Dimension. The thesis project is set against the backdrop of Marcuse’s 1932 work, Hegel’s Ontology and the Theory of Historicity, where Marcuse moves beyond the neo-Kantianism of his earliest work to develop an "ontology of life." Ovrachuk argues that Marcuse’s later work on aesthetic theory has sometimes been seen in the literature, incorrectly, as both utopian and formalistic. Yet it is also grounded in the social ontology of life that Marcuse first discussed in relation to his original adaptation of Hegel’s aesthetic thought.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Bogdan explains his dissertation project:

Part of my thesis project endeavours to reconstruct the development of Marcuse's aesthetic theory, aiming to elucidate his substantial and integrated approach to social ontology and aesthetics. Through a discussion of the methodological presuppositions of Marcuse’s early approach to the "art-life" problem in his study of the German artist-novel, I will provide the background against which Marcuse’s aesthetics can be assessed. In this early work, Marcuse employed the neo-Kantian methodology to offer a sociology of the artist-novel art-form by revealing its preconditions in modern life. I will show that in Hegel’s Ontology Marcuse surpasses this neo-Kantian methodologism by articulating a substantial and developmental ontology of life. I will further demonstrate that Marcuse’s subsequent aesthetics writings exhibit the Hegelian ontological categories expounded in this work, with a particular focus on two: social essence (Wesen) and beautiful “shining-forth” (Scheinen). This reconstruction  offers an opportunity to reconsider Marcuse’s late writings in its aspect of "illusory aesthetics," which have been wrongly characterized as utopian, formalistic, and subjective in their scholarly reception. Instead, the present analysis suggests that Marcuse’s substantial aesthetics relies on dynamic and historical social ontology that defies both methodologism and naive utopianism. Marcuse is shown to be unique among the Frankfurt School thinkers in extending Hegel’s system to the realm of aesthetics.       


Maor Levitin

PhD candidate, Politics (Political Theory), York University

Toronto, CANADA

Maor Levitin, a PhD candidate in Politics (Political Theory) at York University (YU), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2023 and 2024. He is supervised by Professor Terry Maley (YU).

Prof. Maley writes:

Maor Levitin’s dissertation engages in a highly original discussion of the relationship between left leadership and horizontalism in social movements. Levitin uses Erich Fromm’s idea of the productive character as a lens through which to see Marcuse as an exemplar of what Levitin calls "ethical leadership" on the radical left. Focusing on Marcuse’s New Left period and his engagement with the protest movements of the 1960s, Levitin argues that even though Marcuse rejected the label of "guru" of the New Left, he nonetheless played an important role as a mentor or elder to the student and other movements. In his (at times reluctant) role as mentor, Marcuse’s approach was characterized by a sense of mutual reciprocity in which he "decentered" his own celebrity while trying to critically analyze, and be attuned to, the immanent possibilities for radical social change that the movements sought to realize, and that Marcuse in his work after One-Dimensional Man sought to articulate. Building critically and self-reflexively on Weber’s idea of charisma, Levitin further argues that Marcuse exemplified an "ethical charisma" that is grounded in productive character structure. In a key intervention, Levitin distinguishes Marcuse’s left ethical charisma from the charisma of authoritarian leaders, as well as the "manufactured celebrity"/charisma of the culture industries.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Maor explains his dissertation project:

My research is at the intersection of Critical Theory and Critical Leadership Studies. I draw on the ideas of Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm in developing an original theory of horizontal and ethical leadership from a radical left vantage point. One of the central arguments informing my dissertation research is that Fromm’s characterological ideal of productiveness can serve as an index of a horizontal leadership style among those activists on the left who are committed to the radical transformation of society and are capable of producing a transformative vision that inspires others. I make the case that this index points to Marcuse as a prominent example of horizontal leadership. Marcuse was certainly a leader of the left, but was he productive and horizontal? The answer is a resounding “yes.” The productiveness underlying Marcuse’s leadership is borne out by the following considerations. For one thing, given Marcuse’s role as mentor as part of his New Left activities and the fact that his mentorship was inflected by a quality of radical egalitarianism—consider, for instance, his relationship with Angela Davis, which was characterized by mutuality and reciprocity—it can be plausibly maintained that Marcuse occupied a position of authority horizontally. Moreover, his leadership style involved his both decentering himself in the New Left movement, which partly explains why it is so easy to overlook the fact that Marcuse was a leader of the left, and being eminently responsive to its rhythms and needs. The horizontality of Marcuse’s approach to politics is further evidenced by his insistence on according equal weight to the various countercultural struggles associated with the New Left rather than privileging one of them to the exclusion of others. In addition to making the case that Marcuse was productive, and that his productiveness was channelled into a unique, horizontal leadership style, I suggest that given the charismatic appeal that he enjoyed among his followers, he may have exemplified what I term ethical charisma. The charisma of ethical charismatics is rooted in their productive character structure and presupposes an attitude of love, care, and responsibility. This type of charisma can be contrasted with both authoritarian charisma and the manufactured celebrity charisma of the culture industry. 


Cristina Parapar

PhD candidate, Aesthetics, Sorbonne University


Cristina Parapar, a PhD candidate in Aesthetics at the Sorbonne University (Paris), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2024. She is supervised by Professor Jean-Marc Lachaud.

Prof. Lachaud writes:

Cristina Parapar aims to reevaluate Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy of music and reflects on

leichte Musik, Kulturindustrie and aesthetics of emancipation in order to think dialectically

about works of popular music. So far, she has tried to reconcile texts dedicated to "classical

music," such as monographs on Malher, Wagner or Berg and Philosophy of New Music, with

writings dedicated to popular music, such as Current of Music or Über Jazz. She relates these

writings to other authors, such as Herbert Marcuse or Agnès Gayraud. In short, Parapar's

philosophical work consists of analyzing how the sedimented spirit of an era, as that which is

socially preformed in consciousness, is reflected in the musical material of popular music.

Working Title of Dissertation: 

Cristina explains her dissertation project:

Inspired by the philosophical analyses of Theodor W. Adorno's work proposed by Professor

Jordi Maiso, I consider popular music as the musical phenomenon distributed by the cultural

industry that presents both the traces of violence of late capitalism and the secret messages of

a possible liberation. For this reason, my thesis examines how popular music contributes to

reveal the falsity of the “untrue whole” and how it presents the fissures of society for the sake

of the emancipation of thought.

To this end, my research focuses on destigmatizing Adornian aesthetics of music, updating it and

rescuing it in order to reflect on the emancipatory dimension of the popular music of our time.

Using the negative dialectic and Adorno's own music-philosophical categories of serious

music, I carry out an exercise of immanent critique that also requires pointing out the limits of

Adorno's philosophy of music. Here is the importance of Marcuse's radical aesthetics.

Marcuse, the author of One-Dimensional Man, extols the subversive and emancipatory character 

of the musical counterculture in discrete allusions in his texts, lectures, and interviews from the 

late 1960s until his passing. Thus, I argue that these subtle reflections not only commend the

resistance to the integration of blues, rock and roll, and folk into late capitalism system, but

also challenge Adornian aesthetics and provide a new horizon of liberation in and from

popular music. Ultimately, it could be said that this dialogue between the two philosophers

demonstrates that their critical thinking is a current and a necessary philosophical tool for

analyzing the subversive potential of popular music.


Christian Garland

PhD candidate, International Political Economy, King's College


Christian Garland, a PhD candidate in International Political Economy at King's College (London), is the recipient of a Marcuse Society PhD Research Fellowship for 2024. 

Working Title of Dissertation:

Christian explains his dissertation project:

The thesis and dissertation to be submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 2024, have the working title "Flexible Subjects: A Contemporary Critical Theory of ‘Flexibility’/’Precarity’." My research aims to develop a Critical Theory of the concept of ‘flexibility’ and the social relations this ideological concept seeks to veil and erroneously explain and justify: precarity and contingency. 

Developed using Frankfurt School Critical Theory (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse)—and it might be said, Marcuse’s especially—the thesis applies Immanent Critique and Ideology Critique (Ideologie Kritik) to critically analyse how the ideology of ‘flexibilty’/ ‘flexibilization’, has been used since its inception in the US and UK in the 1980s. This time, the last 40 years, and the last 35 for the emergence of the concept, can also be identified as the time of Neoliberalism.

The thesis uses as its case study one of the two countries of the ‘Anglo-American Model’, the UK, which gave rise to Neoliberalism and which continues internationally in the 2020s—at least, for now.

In formulating this Critical Theory of ‘flexibility’, the study seeks to be dialectical, and is resolutely ‘negative’, in keeping with Frankfurt School Critical Theory, again Marcuse in particular.

The dissertation investigates the reality of ‘flexibility’/precarity in the contemporary UK: in a society in which work is the primary means of social reproduction, ‘flexible subjects’ are made to accept their own condition of indefinite insecurity and servitude willingly as if it were their own making, and as if they had control over those same conditions when it is not and they do not, but must accept this at any cost.

This Doctoral research also critically explores the two concepts’ discursive substance with a substantial empirical chapter of semi-structured interviews with workers and union organisers in the ‘gig economy’. The differing forms ‘flexibility’/‘precarity’ can be said to take—both employed and underemployed—is also examined in some detail, such as bogus ‘self-employment’, zero-hours contracts, and the categorization of workers as ‘independent contractors’ in the UK in the twenty-first century.