Luhmann Conference. Observing social systems since 1980

During the 1980s, Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht and Ludwig Pfeiffer organised a series of great conferences at the Inter-University Centre of post-graduate studies (IUC) in Dubrovnik, then in the former SFR of Yugoslavia, now Croatia. As of 1981, Niklas Luhmann attended these conferences. Contributions to these conferences were published in a series of five voluminous volumes at the important Suhrkamp Verlag (Der Diskurs der Literatur- und Sprachhistorie, 1983; Epochenschwellen und Epochenstrukturen im Diskurs der Literatur- und Sprachhistorie, 1985; Stil, 1986; Materialität der Kommunikation, 1988, Paradoxien, Dissonanzen, Zusammenbrüche, 1991). A considerable share of these studies pertained to semantic history and  the system theory of art.

The IUC was bombed in 1991 and, for some years, the conferences could not take place.

The series resumed subsequent to the complete restoration of the IUC premises and, in turning increasingly international, became known under the sub-headlines “Observed with Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory” or “Observed with social systems theory”, respectively.