BCDSS Reading and Discussion Series


Twice annually, we invite authors and other creative minds who we think contribute to the cluster's dependency and slavery discourse, to the University of Bonn. They read from their texts or have passages read out and discuss their ideas with members of the cluster as well as members of the public. The readings and discussions are particularly designed as outreach events to encourage mutual discourse and public engagement.

October 30, 2023;  18:15 CET

Reading and Discussion with Mareice  Kaiser 

How much?
What we do with money and what money does to us.

Money is a topic that often triggers feelings of shame and is talked about too little. For her book "How much? What we do with money and what money does to us", Mareice Kaiser had many conversations about money and gives an insight into the money stories and feelings of people who have either very little or very much money.

The journalist and mother, who financed the writing of her book in part through unemployment benefits, describes her relationship with money as toxic: "I'm ashamed of not having any money. I'm ashamed of having money."

What is the significance of money for educational opportunities, and how does one's degree affect one's income? Does the German education system cement the distribution of wealth? What influence do origin and gender have?

Join Mareice Kaiser for her reading and discussion with BCDSS Principal Investigator Karoline Noack and Jean-Pierre Schneider, Director of Caritas Bonn, about the dependency relationships behind the unjust distribution of money and how this could be overcome.

The event is a cooperation between the BCDSS and the Adult Education Center (VHS) Bonn. 

Time / Place / Registration:                                                                    October 30, 2023, from 18:15 – 19:45, followed by a reception
Adult Education Center (VHS) Bonn
Mühlheimer Platz 1, Room 1.11 (Saal)
53111 Bonn                                                                                                          To take part please register here


November 7, 2022;   18:15 CET
Reading and Discussion with Natassa Sideri

The young Greek playwright NATASSA SIDERI was awarded the first prize in a new competition for contemporary drama called "Mythos?!", which Regensburg Theatre launched in 2022 in cooperation with the National Theatre in Thessaloniki. Born in Athens in 1981, Sideri works as an author and translator. She wrote her first plays in English while living in London and Berlin. Sideri's award-winning play G E F E S S E L T ('Bound') tells the story of a man in financial distress who gradually falls into an increasingly brutal DEBT BONDAGE with his rich friends.

NATASSA SIDERI, who is also involved in the non-profit association "Work on Europe", wrote the text in 2015 during the most heated period of the financial crisis, amidst discussions about Greece's future in the European monetary union. It tells the story of Nephos, who is in debt and helps his friends Callios and Pyrra with renovation work. The audience witnesses how the situation changes and Nephos' FINANCIAL DEPENDENCE becomes the maxim of living together until he is deprived of his freedom.

Excerpts of the play will be read (in German) by BCDSS doctoral researchers Maja Baum, Lena Muders, David B. Smith, and Lukas Wissel. The discussion (in English) with NATASSA SIDERI will be kickstarted by BCDSS members Marion Gymnich, Professor for English Literature and Culture and BCDSS Co-Speaker and Principal Investigator; and David B. Smith, BCDSS doctoral candidate.

The event is designed to particularly address the public, who are very welcome to take part in the discussion. This is a multilingual event held in Germany and English (Greek is welcome, too). Contributions in either language are welcome. Please spread the word!

Monday, November 7, 2022.
Reading and discussion: 18:15 - 20:00 CET, followed by a reception.
Reception closes at 21:00 CET.
Location: Festsaal Universität Bonn, Am Hof 1, 53113 Bonn
To take part please register by email:

DRAFT Poster Lesung(1).png

Watch what Natassa Sideri thought about the reading and discussion  evening  of her play BOUND ('GEFESSELT'),
organized by the BCDSS, at Bonn University, November 7, 2022.

Reading & Discussion with Natassa Sideri

Below is Act III, Scene 2 of her play BOUND ('GEFESSELT'), from Theater Regensburg (world premiere, June 2, 2022)

Scene 2 of Gefesselt, Natassa Sideri

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.

July 4, 2022; 18:15-21:00 CET
Reading and Discussion with Iris Därmann on „Undienlichkeit“

Cultural Studies scholar and philosopher IRIS DÄRMANN, Professor of Cultural Theory & Cultural Aesthetics at Humboldt University Berlin, presented two passages from her book "Undienlichket. Gewaltgeschicht und Politische Philosophie"  that formed the basis of a lively discussion between Iris Därmann, BCDSS members and members of the public on the history of violence.

"Throughout history, resistance to violence, sadism and cruelty has comparatively rarely taken the form of open rebellion. Whether in the transatlantic slave trade or in the Nazi concentration camps, in the face of a lack of options for action, fear of death and disenfranchisement, the only way out was often to escape the grip of those in power through flight, sabotage, but also through abortion, infanticide, hunger strikes, self-mutilation and suicide. Iris Därmann outlines the history of violence of human service and enslavement and interweaves it with body politics and forms of resistance of unserviceability. In doing so, she sheds particular light on the role of European political philosophy as a procurer of legitimacy for transatlantic enslavement and the extermination of European Jews. The result is not only a bloody counter-history to the other master narratives of Western thought, but also a panorama of horror that even in moments of attempted self-liberation touches the limits of what can be endured, but which we must keep in mind if we want to understand the foundations on which our civilisation is also based." (Iris Därman)

The event was convened by:

KONRAD VÖSSING, BCDSS Co-Speaker, Professor of Ancient History, University of Bonn

BCDSS participants:

BIRGIT MÜNCH, BCDSS Principal Investigator, Professor of Art History, Vice Rector for International Affairs, University of Bonn

CHRISTOPH ANTWEILER, BCDSS Principal Investigator, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn

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