Research Seminar Series (05/2020)

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Event Details

29 September 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom ( Or, go to and enter meeting ID: 932 5153 3516 and password: 718561
Open to:
All Monash staff and students


"Observing Trump - A Systems Theoretical Perspective"

Speaker:  Dr Markus Heidingsfelder, Xiamen University Malaysia

Date:       Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Time:       12pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom, or go to and enter meeting ID: 932 5153 3516 and password: 718561 . For registration, please click here

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Associate Professor Yeoh Seng Guan (Academic matters)


Speaker’s Profile

Markus Heidingsfelder is an Assistant Professor in the Journalism Department of Xiamen University Malaysia. He also serves as the co-organizer of the Futures of Media conference series and as the co-director of the Observed with Niklas Luhmann’s Systems Theory conference series. Dr. Heidingsfelder earned his master’s degree with a study of Marshall McLuhan’s work from the University of Cologne. He completed his PhD with a thesis on the fuzzy phenomenon of 'pop' at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. He held appointments at DJS Munich, FU Berlin, HCU Hamburg, and LMU Munich. From 2014 he was a founding faculty member of Habib University, Pakistan, where he directed the institution's first Communication Studies & Design curriculum. His research explores the dynamic relationship between media and society, relying on a communication theory which understands society as the product of a complex plurality of different observers (minds, machines, swarms, nets, social systems like interaction systems, organizations or functional systems like politics, the law, the mass media etc.). Besides his academic credentials, Dr. Heidingsfelder has over 30 years of overlapping experience as a communications professional.


The heated debates about the current American president Donald Trump focus on the person, which is either demonized (as Anti-Christ, wannabe-dictator etc.) or praised (as sent by God, patriot etc.).

Based on key themes from the book "Trump - observed", this session will offer an alternative perspective on the Trump Presidency. Using the method of 2nd order observation, the author takes a closer look at the social structures involved: the immune system of society, values and norms, roles and persons, organisations (such as political parties or media houses) and social functional systems (such as politics, law, economy, mass media and science).

Heidingsfelder’s thesis is that the ‚system conflicts‘ between politics and the other sub-systems of society (economy, law, mass media, and science) are at the heart of what at times has been observed as the ‚Trump crisis‘.

Ms Eswary Sivalingam