Past events
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The question of a ‘good life’ is also the question of the inner compass that governs our actions: Ethics. How does conscience develop? According to which laws does it act? Where does this inner authority come from and how does it function, which has knowledge of what is good and is able to place this knowledge above immediate, personal interests? In view of frightening everyday behaviour on the internet and on the street – wouldn’t ethical action also be a ‘mastery of the irrational?’

In the Humboldt Laboratory, this cabinet of curiosities of the 21st century, we explore exhibits and approach the topic from different perspectives: a natural and neuroscientific, a humanistic and a theological one. Which values navigate us through everyday life, conflict and living? What happens when values contradict each other, such as freedom and security? And what if it puts us in a dilemma ourselves? We also want to find this out – very concretely and by playing together – and put it into practice. Let us surprise you!

Last but not least, we will trace the traces of attention, listening, exchange and collaboration in music, in a musical encounter between West and East.


With the Director of the Institute for the History of Medicine and Science at the University of Lübeck, Prof Dr Cornelius Borck, the religious researcher Prof Dr Ahmed Milad Karimi (University of Münster), the activist Juliane Baruck (Think&Do Tank Es geht los!) as well as the accordionist Silke Lange and the Sheng virtuoso Wu Wei.

Research and conception: Bernhard Glocksin and Sabrina Rossetto

Moderation: Bernhard Glocksin

Speakers: Cornelius Borck, Ahmed Milad Karimi, Juliane Baruck

Musicians: Silke Lange, Wu Wei

Mira Sievers

Mira Sievers is a Professor of Islamic Theology at Universität Hamburg. She studied Islamic Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and Islamic Studies and Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. She completed her doctorate in Islamic Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt in 2018 with a dissertation on “Creation between Quran and Kalām. Approaches to a Qur’anic theology”. This was followed by a position as a postdoctoral researcher and academic coordinator in the long-term research group “Linked Open Tafsīr” at the Institute for Studies in the Culture and Religion of Islam at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Before her appointment to Hamburg, she had been a junior professor for Islamic Foundations of Faith, Philosophy and Ethics at the Institute for Islamic Theology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2020.

Ufuk Topkara

Ufuk Topkara is a junior professor at the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology. He studied history and philosophy at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Harvard University and completed his doctorate in the Graduate Programme for Islamic Theology at the University of Paderborn. He was then a postdoctoral fellow in the Humility & Conviction in Public Life Programme at the University of Connecticut and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion at the University of Virginia. Ufuk Topkara has spent time as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins University, among others.

Prof. Cornelius Borck

Cornelius Borck is Professor of History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine and Natural Sciences and has headed the Institute for the History of Medicine and Science Studies at the University of Lübeck since 2007. He has been the spokesperson for the Centre for Cultural Studies Research Lübeck (ZKFL) since 2011. After studying medicine, philosophy and neuroscience, his career has taken him to the MPI for the History of Science in Berlin, the Bauhaus University Weimar and McGill University in Montreal.

Juliane Baruck

Juliane Baruck studied philosophy and political science. She has been managing political participation projects together with the Think & Do Tank Es geht LOS since 2019. Among other things, she designed and implemented the first drawn formats at universities in Germany. Since 2023, she has led the Hallo Bundestag project, in which randomly drawn residents of a constituency meet with their members of parliament to discuss pressing federal policy issues.

Silke Lange

Silke Lange is an accordionist and synthesiser player. She studied accordion at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. She is interested in new music and cross-genre projects. She is co-founder of the ensemble for new music LUX:NM. Their debut album ‘LUXUS’ was honoured on the German Record Critics’ Best List. She has been playing in the Lange//Berweck//Lorenz trio for live electro-acoustic music since 2018. In addition to new music, she is also dedicated to improvised music and sound art. She has performed at major festivals worldwide and is involved as a musician and performer in various international theatre productions.

Wu Wei

The international sheng virtuoso Wu Wei has performed as a soloist with almost all of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics and many more. He has worked with conductors such as Kent Nagano, Gustavo Dudamel, Susanna Malkki and others and has premiered more than 400 works, including 20 concertos for sheng and orchestra by John Cage, Toshio Hosokawa and Ruo Huang, among others. He also composes for the sheng as part of commissions. International appearances have taken him to the Royal Albert Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Theatre du Chatelet and many more. Wu Wei has won numerous prizes at competitions and for numerous recordings, including the International Classical Music Award. As an innovative soloist, he combines East and West and a wide range of music between classical, jazz, improvisation and so-called new music.

In Cooperation with

Neuköllner Oper
Schering Stiftung


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