Prof. Dr. Ingo H. Warnke

As professor of German and Interdisciplinary Linguistics at the U Bremen, I am interested in the fundamental question of what function language has in constellations of living together. Theoretically, I am located in sociolinguistics with a focus on the theory and analysis of discourse. My specific research interests include postcolonial language studies, including questions concerning the possibilities of making digitally available colonial-historical sources and research results on the German language in the colonial archive. I particularly enjoy working in research teams, not least as co-spokesperson of the joint research platform Worlds of Contradiction at the U Bremen. This is also where my particular interest in Contradiction Studies comes in.

Contradiction as a relation, as a principle of order, and also as a practice of opposition—these are topics that particularly call for interdisciplinary collaboration. And I consider such cooperation to be an important task of research in societies marked by diversity. A better knowledge of the demand for non-contradiction, violations of coherent orders of everyday life, practices of contradicting one another—among other aspects which can be thought of as part of Contradiction Studies—will help to understand language as a form of shaping relations in the contradictory.

As a linguist, I am particularly interested in three questions in Contradiction Studies that can be described by the terms constitution, relation, and declaration: How is contradiction expressed in language, that is, how is it constituted linguistically? What types of relationality of contradiction can be described empirically? What world-changing power does the ordering figure of contradiction have, how declarative is it?

As spokesperson of the Research Training Group, together with spokesperson Michi Knecht, I stand for the ideal of convivial and intellectually enriching scholarly collaboration. I am looking forward to empirically-oriented project proposals from doctoral students who, with a focus on linguistics, explore the social status of constellations of contradiction and who also like to pursue theoretical focal points. Possible projects include those in politolinguistics, corpus analyses with a discourse-linguistic orientation (also historically interested), or those within the framework of postcolonial language studies. Keywords could be: debates, linguistic patterns, discursive events, meta-pragmatics, positioning, and many more.


“The basis of law is not an idea as a systematic unified principle but a paradox.”

Andreas Fischer-Lescano

“Contradictions need to be articulated in order to exist.”

Martin Nonhoff
Bhabha on enlightenment and coloniality

“Homi Bhabha says about the contradiction between the ideals of the enlightenment, claims to democracy and solidarity and simultaneous colonization and ongoing coloniality: ‘That ideological tension, visible in the history of the West as a despotic power, at the very moment of the birth of democracy and modernity, has not been adequately written in a contradictory and contrapuntal discourse of tradition.’”

Kerstin Knopf
power and resistance

“Michel Foucault says: “Where there is power, there is resistance, and […] this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power” (History of Sexuality I, The Will to Knowledge, 1976, p. 95)”

Gisela Febel
l’illusion d’une unité

“Foucault speaks of contradiction as l’illusion d’une unité.”

Ingo H. Warnke