In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Till van Rahden – author of the new Vielheit. Jüdische Geschichte und die Ambivalenzen des Universalismus (Multitude. Jewish History and the Ambivalences of Universalism) – discusses why the relationship between equality and difference is so crucial from the liberal democratic point of view; what new insights conceptual history can offer that take us beyond the social scientific ideal of analytical precision; how examining the relationship between the particular and the universal helps us reconsider European history; and how de-naturalizing our dominant political concepts can open spaces for timely reflections.
Till van Rahden teaches modern and contemporary history at the Université de Montréal and is the previous holder of the Canada Research Chair in German and European Studies. His publications include the books Jews and other Germans: Civil Society, Religious Diversity and Urban Politics in Breslau, 1860-1925 (2008) and Demokratie: Eine gefährdete Lebensform [Democracy. A Fragile Way of Life] (2019) which he discussed with Elias Buchetmann here at the Review of Democracy.
Vielheit. Jüdische Geschichte und die Ambivalenzen des Universalismus is published by Hamburger Edition.