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Podcast about #IchBinHanna

In our podcast “Five to Twelve” we sat down for a conversation with Dr. Sebastian Kubon about “#IchBinHanna: Precarious work in science”. We spoke to him about the difficult position of young scientists in the current university system and discussed possible alternatives.

Podcast “Five to Twelve”

The cur­rent talk with Dr. Ku­bon is the ninth epi­sode of our pod­cast “Five to Twelve”. In this for­mat mem­bers of the Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram “Eth­ics of Tex­tual Cul­tures” want to con­duct criti­cal dis­cussions on cur­rent prob­lems and politi­cal top­ics. Guests from dif­ferent back­grounds like sci­ence, poli­tics and cul­ture are invit­ed to dis­cuss with our stu­dents, to shed light on the back­ground of cur­rent top­ics, reflect and for­mu­late vi­sions. We re­cently spoke with Prof. Dr. Wolf­gang Huber about the ethics of digi­taliza­tion, with Prof. Dr. Petra Ben­del about Eu­rope's refu­gee policy and with Greg­or Gysi about the Ukraine war and the future of inter­na­tional rela­tions.


The cur­rent epi­sode of our pod­cast fea­tures Dr. Se­bas­tian Ku­bon. To­gether with Dr. Amrei Bahr and Dr. Kris­tin Eich­horn he launched #Ich­Bin­Han­na on Twit­ter in June 2021. In re­sponse to an ex­plana­tory video from the Fed­eral Minis­try of Edu­cation and Re­search, they de­cided­ly op­posed the “Wis­sen­schaftszeitver­tragsgesetz”, which was intro­duced in 2007. The law creat­ed a so-called 'spe­cial em­ploy­ment law' in sci­ence and set a max­imum limit for the tem­porary em­ploy­ment of scien­tific and artis­tic staff at Ger­man uni­versi­ties.

Fol­low­ing the previ­ous cam­paign #95vsWis­sZeitVG on Twit­ter in 2020, in which scien­tists col­lected theses against the “Wis­sen­schaftszeitver­tragsgesetz” and its prob­lemat­ic ef­fects, thou­sands of scien­tists shared their per­sonal stories in re­sponse to the fic­tional char­acter “Hanna”. The Twit­ter de­bate has be­come a place for them to report how they them­selves are af­fected by the pre­cari­ous work­ing condi­tions in sci­ence.

Our conversation with Dr. Sebastian Kubon

Dr. Ku­bon ex­plains why the Fed­eral Minis­try of Edu­cation and Re­search's jus­tifica­tion for a spe­cial right to short term em­ploy­ment in sci­ence jobs ap­pears unjus­tified. The un­derly­ing para­digm that 'inno­vation is only possi­ble through fluc­tua­tion' is not scien­tifi­cally tena­ble and is based solely on “an­ecdo­tal evi­dence”. Dr. Ku­bon also elabo­rates on the sec­ond dog­ma, which is used to justify the cur­rent short-term em­ploy­ment prac­tice and which sci­ence sees pri­marily as a quali­fica­tion sys­tem.

The pro­test under the #Ich­Bin­Han­na above all aims to pro­pose con­struc­tive solu­tions. Dr. Ku­bon con­siders it par­ticu­larly prom­ising to fight for politi­cal repre­senta­tion of all af­fected groups, espe­cially young aca­dem­ics and to reach a so­lution with long term em­ploy­ment for long term tasks.

You can listen to the entire con­versa­tion as well as all previ­ous epi­sodes of our pod­cast on our Homepage.

Text: Elite Graduate Program "Ethics of Textual Cultures"