Goethe Annual Lectures 2022
Politics - What's Love Got To Do With It

A woman in a climbing frame © GuidoSchiefer

Our event took place in-house on 17 November 2022. For those who couldn't make the lecture, you can catch up via the recording our YouTube livestream below. 

Goethe Annual Lecture by Mithu Sanyal

We were delighted to have Mithu Sanyal as one of the speakers of our Goethe Annual Lecture series at the Goethe-Institut London in November 2022. In her talk, the author, cultural scientist, and journalist explored the pitfalls and promises of a politics of love in times of ever-growing divisions.

The talk was moderated by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, journalist and radio/podcast/TV host.

As part of the Goethe-Institut London's 60th anniversary celebrations, we hosted three Goethe Annual Lectures in 2022 featuring author Mithu Sanyal, academic Mercedes Bunz and musician Matthew Herbert.

It’s a preconceived idea that love and politics don’t go together. That they are polar opposites. Moreover, love has become a dirty word in politics. We can talk on social media about sex till the cows come home – but love is... too cute, too lovey-dovey, and too unpolitical. This has not always been the case. Most movements for social justice had a love of ethics. Gandhi placed love at the centre of his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King preached and practised love. And James Baldwin called for a politics of love.

What has happened to marginalise love in the political discourse? And what can politics informed by love look like?

"Sanyal provides no easy answers, but asks agonising questions." Jörg Scheller, Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Mithu Sanyal and Identitti.

"Refreshingly bold, honest, critical and yet empathetic take… Sanyal is not only courageous and funny, but also gifted with a decent portion of self-irony." Clemens Ruthner, Ö1 Ex Libris on Mithu Sanyal and Identitti.

Mithu Sanyal is a novelist, academic, literary critic, columnist and broadcaster. Her work has been published by international newspapers including The European and The Guardian, DIE ZEIT, Süddeutsche Zeitung, NZZ, Frankfurter Rundschau etc. Her books include a cultural history of the Vulva (Wagenbach) and Rape – from Lucrezia to #metoo (Verso Books). Her debut novel Identitti (2021) was shortlisted for the German Book Award and is published in English by Astra House and V&Q Books. Her new book about Emily Brontë has just come out with KiWi.

Past speakers of our Annual Lecture include Dan Hicks (2021), Sharon Dodua Otoo (2020), John Kampfner (2019), Brendan Simms (2018), Anne McElvoy (2017), Neil MacGregor (2016), Christopher Clark (2014), David Chipperfield (2012), Norman Rosenthal (2010), Tacita Dean (2006), Peter Jonas (2005), Ian Kershaw (2003), Richard Wentworth (2002) and AS Byatt (2001).

Here you can find videos of previous lectures.