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Lecture Series on Global Concepts: Law/Liberty

Jan 20, 2011

"Law/Liberty" was the topic of the latest session of the Cluster's lecture series on "Global Concepts? Keywords and Their Histories in Asia and Europe" held on Thursday evening.

First, Dr. Susan Richter introduced and welcomed the lecturers.

Under the title "Liberté/Liberty/Freiheit: A Key Concept for (Early) Modern Western Cultures between Universality and Cultural Specificity", Prof. Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink first reviewed the history of the terms 'Liberty', 'Freedom', Liberté', and 'Freiheit' in Western Cultures since the 18th century. He pointed out the dimensions of individual freedom on the one hand and of collective rights on the other hand. He stated that "'Freedom' in a collective sense is not a merely abstract, constitutional or philosophical term, but closely connected to violent acts of resistance and revolt, like the Storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789" (Abstract). Prof. Lüsebrink is Chair of Romance Cultural Studies and Intercultural Communication at the University of Saarbrücken, Germany.

Next, Prof. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach talked about "Moral and Political Freedom: Inter-/Transcultural Explorations". She gave a description of moral and political freedom, which are fundamental concepts in contemporary political thought. Based on these concepts, she further explored methodologial difficulties in cross-cultural inquiry with a special focus on the Indian context. Thus, she examined "the problems which rise when one applies this ideal across time and space" (Abstract). Prof. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Konstanz, Germany.

Subsequently, Prof. Harald Fuess, Cluster Professor of Cultural Economic History, raised different questions about the concept of liberty: Is the concept of liberty a European concept? What variations of liberty exist? What are the boundaries of liberty (law) and who sets them? What is the relationship between law and liberty? As the fight for liberty is often connected to violence, what is the causality and can this line of reasoning for one country be applied to another?

The following discussion among the audience focused on the universality of the concept of liberty and was moderated by Dr. Susan Richter, Junior Research Group Leader at the Cluster. She is co-organiser of the Cluster lecture series together with Prof. Monica Juneja, Cluster Professor of Global Art History and Prof. Joachim Kurtz, Cluster Professor of Intellectual History.

The podium discussions are held from October 2010 until January 2011 at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, room 212. The full programme is available here.

Further links:

Calender Entry
Photo Gallery

Press Release (German)
Press Release at Heidelberg University (German)

Profile Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja
Profile Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz
Profile Dr. Susan Richter