An-Institut der Stiftung Weltethos
an der Universität Tübingen

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Truth and Business: An introduction through World Literature

DozentInDr. Jonathan Keir
Wochentag/UhrzeitFreitag, 18.06.21, 10:00-17:30 Uhr s.t.
Samstag, 19.06.21, 10:00-17.30 Uhr s.t.
Sonntag, 20.06.21, 10:00-17:30 Uhr s.t.
Ort          Weltethos-Institut, Hintere Grabenstraße 26, 72070 Tübingen
Voraussetzungen/ ZielgruppeMasterstudierende, Bachelorstudierende ab dem 5. Semester
Leistungsnachweis /PrüfungsformECTS-CreditsReferat, Hausarbeit 
3-6 ECTS
AnmeldungPer E-Mail – mit Angabe von Name, Matrikelnummer, Studienfach und Semesterzahl, Adresse, Geburtsort und -datum bei
Anmeldefrist31. Mai 2021
Max. Teilnehmerzahl15


Vaclav Havel famously told the story of a greengrocer in Communist Prague who was forced by Party authorities to hang the sign ‚Workers of the world, unite!‘ in his shop. In Havel’s view, this small act of subjugation not only made the greengrocer hate those doing the forcing; it also crucially made him think less of himself. Market economies force us into daily compromises which are similar in some ways and different in others. This course explores the ethics of these complex power relations – in particular as they relate to the context of business and the world of work – through concrete examples from 20th and 21st-century world literature, addressing such questions as: the responsibilities of managers to empower staff to realise themselves; the responsibilities of staff to speak truth to power; how trust can be built within and between organisations; and how such trust can be shattered and painstakingly rebuilt. Authors covered will include: George Orwell, Alaa al-Aswany, Héctor Abad Faciolince, Can Xue, Boris Akunin, Sophie Scholl, Amin Maalouf, David Foster Wallace and others. Students will also be encouraged to engage with contemporary films and series (e.g. Midnight Diner, Snowpiercer, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fauda, The Break etc.) which address these themes in serious and interesting ways. At the end of the course, students will be asked to write an extended essay (in English or German) on a related topic of their choice.  


  • George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier (1937).