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New Book on Liberty

Aug 19, 2016

A new book exploring the idea of liberty from a historical perspective will be published in September 2016 by Campus Verlag Frankfurt/New York. It is co-authored by PD Dr. Susan Richter, Angela Siebold and Urte Weeber.

In the new publication “What is Liberty? An historical approach” (Was ist Freiheit? Eine historische Perspektive), the authors explore the concept of “liberty” and its essential role in identity formation in Germany. Being of tremendous significance for the understanding of contemporary Europe’s self-image, the idea of liberty equally plays a key role within the process of identity formation taking place in the Federal Republic of Germany. Seen from an Historian’s vantage point, however, the German discourse of liberty constitutes a potpourri of entangled thought-styles of rather heterogeneous origins. Scrutinizing a thoroughly selected body of primary sources which strikingly represents four centuries of German History, this compendium investigates when, how and by whom different concepts of liberty were articulated, discussed and power-politically monopolized.

In doing so, the authors carefully keep track of the idea’s continuous transformation in time and evolve a line of reasoning for the benefit of its ongoing pre-eminence as a political category concerning the negotiation of the ratio between individual and society. Correspondingly, they elucidate how “liberty” is symbolically constituted in the overlapping area of tension between self-determination and external control, freedom (?) and security, alterity and conformity.

Providing a comprehensive overview of the modern period, this book discusses at length the wide historical range of competing interpretations of “liberty” within German history and thus sharpens the reader’s awareness for the appropriation of historical patterns of argument in the context of contemporary political debates.

Susan Richter is acting professor of the Chair of Early Modern Times at the Department of History of Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg. She is Principal Investigator at the Cluster/HCTS. Since 2010, she is Deputy Speaker of Research Area A “Governance&Administration”. Dr. Angela Siebold and Urte Weeber are teaching staff in the same department.

Campus-Verlag Frankfurt / New York is a publisher for works in the fields of economy and society. It was established in 1975 and currently it is located in Frankfurt.


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