Schopenhauer's Politics

Friday, October 29, 2021 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Smith Warehouse, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Bay 4, C105

Event Contact

Rogers, Sarah

Jakob Norberg

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Please join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present their current research to their departmental (and interdepartmental) colleagues, students, and other interlocutors in their fields.

Talk description:

Usually dismissed as the most apolitical of German philosophers, the pessimist Schopenhauer was in fact a contrarian acutely aware of the defining debates of his time and consciously opposing both conservatives and socialists, orthodox Christians and secular radicals, political Hegelians and historicists. A closer look at Schopenhauer's writings in their context reveal a paradoxical figure: a reactionary anti-nationalist, elitist anti-aristocrat, anti-socialist advocate of compassion. Denying that politics could ever be the medium of emancipation or restoration, fraternal unity or redemptive struggle, Schopenhauer saw it as necessary dimension of human life but a severely limited one, without metaphysical substance, simultaneously indispensable and insufficient.

Speaker bio:

Jakob Norberg is Associate Professor of German Studies at Duke University. He is the author of Sociability and Its Enemies: German Political Thought After 1945 (Northwestern UP, 2014) and The Brothers Grimm and the Making of German Nationalism (Cambridge UP, 2022) as well as numerous articles in journals such as PMLA, Cultural Critique, Textual Practice, New German Critique, Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, and Sprache und Literatur.

Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions, please contact Sarah Rogers at in advance of your participation or visit. Requests should be made at least one week before the event in question.

Headshot of Jakob Norberg
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 9:30am to 11:00am
Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)
Event Co-Sponsors
German Studies