Prof. Dr Volker M. Heins

Senior Researcher and Policy Field Convener for Migration

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstr. 44
47059 Duisburg

Phone: +49 (0)203 379-5256
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276


Since 2017

Member of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Affiliate Professor of Political Science

Since 2017

Member of the Council of the Academy in Exile

Since 2013

Senior Researcher and (since 2018) member of the executive board of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg

Since 2012

Permanent Fellow at the KWI

Since 2010

Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University


Member of the Social Science Faculty of the University of Bochum


Researcher at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany


Lecturer in Political Theory at McGill University, Montreal


Visiting Fellowships in the United States, Canada, India and Israel


Habilitation in Political Science at the University of Giessen, Germany

Research Interests

  • Modern political theory
  • Migration and democracy
  • Exile studies

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Referee for numerous journals


  • Faculty Fellow, Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University
  • Associate Fellow, Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt am Main


  • Foundation German-American Academic Relations
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

Current Projects

"Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis" (NoVaMigra), link:

Selected Publications

Heins, Volker M. (2019): Can the refugee speak? Albert Hirschman and the changing meanings of exile. In: Thesis Eleven, vol. 155 (forthcoming in December)

Heins, Volker M. / Unrau, Christine (2020): Anti-immigrant movements and the self-poisoning of the civil sphere: The case of Germany. In: Jeffrey C. Alexander, Trevor Stack, Farhad Khosrokhavar (eds.) Breaching the Civil Order: Radicalism and the Civil Sphere. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 145-169.

Heins, Volker M.: 'Kultureller Pluralismus und Kritische Theorie. Von Adorno bis Honneth', in: Ulf Bohmann, Paul Sörensen (eds.), Kritische Theorie der Politik. Berlin: Suhrkamp 2019.

Heins, Volker M.: '“More Modest and More Political”: From the Frankfurt School to the Liberalism of Fear', in: Samantha Ashenden, Andreas Hess (eds.) Between Utopia and Realism: The Political Thought of Judith N. Shklar. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 2019.

Heins, Volker M. / Unrau, Christine / Avram, Kristine (2018): 'Gift-giving and reciprocity in global society: Introducing Marcel Mauss in international studies’, Journal of International Political Theory 14 (2) pp. 126-144.

Heins, Volker M. / Unrau, Christine (2018): ‘Refugees welcome: Arrival gifts, reciprocity and the integration of forced migrants’, Journal of International Political Theory 14 (2).

Flitner, Michael / Volker M. Heins / Herbeck, Johannes (2018): ‘Critical beaches: Coastal erosion and geosociality in south-eastern Ghana’, in Elisabetta Nadalutti and Otto Kallscheuer (eds.), Region-Making and Cross-Border Cooperation: New Evidence from Five Continents, London and New York: Routledge.

Heins, Volker M. (2017): 'Multikulturalismus in der Ära Trump', Mittelweg 36 26 (2): 53-62.

Heins, Volker M. (2016): ‘Krisenbewältigung durch Kooperation? Die Grenzen des EU-Modells’, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 26 (4): 445–53.

Heins, Volker M. (2016):'Die Gegenwart der Homophobie', WestEnd. Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung 13 (2): 75–81.

Heins, Volker M. (2016): 'Habermas on the European Crisis: Attempting the Impossible', Thesis Eleven 133: 3–18.

Heins, Volker M. / Kai Koddenbrock / Christine Unrau (eds.) (2016): Humanitarianism and Challenges of Cooperation, London and New York: Routledge.

Heins, Volker M. (2016): 'Recognition, Multiculturalism, and the Allure of Separatism', in Patrick Hayden and Kate Schick (eds.), Recognition and Global Politics: Critical Encounters between State and World, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 69–84.

Heins, Volker M. (2015): 'Recognition Going Awry: NGOs and the Rise of the Unelected', in Christopher Daase, Caroline Fehl, Anna Geis, Georgios Kolliarakis (eds.), Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking a Political Concept in a Global Context, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Heins, Volker M. (2013): Der Skandal der Vielfalt: Geschichte und Konzepte des Multikulturalismus <The Scandal of Diversity: History and Concepts of Multiculturalism>, Frankfurt / New York: Campus.

Heins, Volker M. (2012): The Global Politics of Recognition, in: Shane O‘Neill / Nicholas H. Smith (eds.): Recognition Theory as Social Research: Investigating the Dynamics of Social Conflict, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 213–230.

Heins, Volker M. (2012): Three Meanings of Equality: The "Arab Problem" in Israel, in: Res Publica, Vol. 18, No. 1, 79–91.

Heins, Volker M. (2011): Beyond Friend and Foe: The Politics of Critical Theory, Leiden / Boston: Brill.

Heins, Volker M. / Langenohl, Andreas (2011): A Fire That Doesn’t Burn? The Allied Bombing of Germany and the Cultural Politics of Trauma, in: Ron Eyerman et al. (eds.): Narrating Trauma: On the Impact of Collective Suffering (Yale Cultural Sociology Series), Paradigm, 3–26.

Heins, Volker M. / Badami, Aditya / Markovits, Andrei S. (2010): The West Divided? A Snapshot of Human Rights and Transatlantic Relations at the United Nations, Human Rights Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1–16.

Heins, Volker M. (2008): Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society: Struggles over Recognition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

See also