History of ideas

Heads of section: Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, Wesleyan University and Ferenc Laczo, Maastricht University

This section concentrates on the theories of (re/de) democratization, on the relationship between democracy and liberalism which is at the heart of the current populist crisis of democracy, as well as on the debates surrounding the notion of citizenship.

A Path to Democracy Without Destabilization: Joseph Wong Explains the Types of Development and the Patterns of Uneven Democratization in Modern Asia

In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Joseph Wong – co-author with Dan Slater of the new monograph “From Development to Democracy. The Transformations of Modern Asia” – discusses when and why regimes have chosen to democratize in modern Asia; how come types rather than levels of development have shaped countries’ democratic prospects; why Singapore and China remain…

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A Global History of Hungary: In Conversation with Ferenc Laczó, Bálint Varga, and Dóra Vargha

In this conversation with Bence Bari and Orsolya Sudár, editors Ferenc Laczó and Bálint Varga and contributor Dóra Vargha discuss the new volume “Magyarország globális története, 1869-2022 (A Global History of Hungary, 1869-2022)”. The conversation focuses on some of the innovative questions posed by trying to reconceptualize the history of a Central and Eastern European…

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Davide Rodogno on the Troubled History of Western Humanitarianism

In this conversation with guest contributor Nikola Pantić, Davide Rodogno discusses his new book Night on Earth: A History of International Humanitarianism in the Near East, 1918-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2021). The conversation focuses on the reasons why the Middle East became a popular destination for Western humanitarian agencies in the first decades of the…

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The ‘New Europe’ Campaign: The Failure of Liberal Internationalism and the Resilience of Imperialism

Historians of the Habsburg Empire and the First World War analyze the fascinating story of Robert William Seton-Watson’s propaganda for the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of a ‘New Europe.’ They historicize ideas concerning the ‘balance of power’, European integration, anti-imperialist liberal internationalism, and the making of the post-Habsburg nation-states in Central…

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Interrogating the Fantasy and Impact of Displacement: A Conversation with Lorenzo Veracini on Settler Colonialism as a Political Idea

In this conversation, Lorenzo Veracini reflects on key ideas in his new intellectual history of settler colonialism The World Turned Inside Out. He outlines the transnational coherence of the political sensibilities and rhetorical traditions of settler colonialism and shows how attention to ideas and practices of displacement might help us make sense of the historical…

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What is Christian Democracy? A Book Discussion with Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

In September CEU Democracy Institute and the Review of Democracy held the symposium “The Past and Present of Christian Democracy” where leading scholars discussed the historical significance and contemporary state of Christian Democracy. The first panel was dedicated to Carlo Invernizzi Accetti’s book “What is Christian Democracy? Politics, Religion and Ideology”. The book was discussed…

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Mark R. Beissinger: Revolutions have succeeded more often in our time, but their consequences have become more ambiguous

In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Mark R. Beissinger introduces his unique global dataset and probabilistic structural approach to revolution; analyzes the prevalent form of revolution in our age he calls “urban civic”; dissects how the consequences of revolution have shifted over time; and reflects on how revolution may be changing again today.

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Historians and Populism: Regional Perspectives and Entanglements

In light of the recent solidifying of what could be named as ‘populist international’, we are opening a conversation on one of the first areas and people that were targeted: history and historians. Populist regimes and their supporters feed themselves on historical myths, distortions and subversion of the public debate on historical themes.

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5 Books on Putinism

Our editors Kasia Krzyzanowska and Michal Matlak have selected 5 books that encourage a better understanding of the aggressor: Vladimir Putin and the system he has created.

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Maarten Prak: Democracy in medieval and early-modern towns was stronger than democracy post 1789

In this interview with Maarten Prak, hosted by Karen Culver, they discuss Maarten’s book Citizens without Nations: Urban Citizenship in Europe and the World c. 1000-1789. Maarten comments on how citizenship functioned in medieval and early modern Europe; why the term “urban governance” is preferable to “urban democracy”; how accessible guilds were at this time, and more.

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Dunstan: Black thinkers have contested the principles of democracy in ways that are central to the experience of these democracies

Sarah Dunstan in conversation with Ferenc Laczó talks about her new monograph “Race, Rights and Reform”, maps the landscape of Black activist thought across the French Empire and the United States from World War One to the Cold War; shows how gender operated in tandem with the dynamics of race and class; underlines how the end of empire connected…

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Dimitry Kochenov: Why we shall abolish citizenship

Professor Dimitry Kochenov in conversation with Michał Matlak explains why he believes citizenship is a “perpetuation of the ideas of aristocracy,” sexism, and racism; what can be done to fix this issue; and what motivated him to write “Citizenship” (MIT Press, 2019).

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Emily Greble: European History via the Experience of Muslims

Emily Greble in conversation with Ferenc Laczo discusses what foregrounding Muslims’ agency implies for the writing of European history; what were key legacies of the Ottoman Empire and how Muslims became a distinct legal minority; in what ways they related to the major political movements of the twentieth century; and how focusing on their experiences…

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Linking sexual diversity to otherness is an old phenomenon 

Bence Bari interviews Tamás Dombos, the representative of the Hungarian LGBTQI organization ‘Háttér Society’ concerning the recently adopted Hungarian anti-LGBT measures, their transnational and historical background with respect to the global dynamics of acceptance, and homophobia between the Western and Eastern hemisphere.

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What After the Pandemic?

Kasia Krzyżanowska reviews for us “Pandemonium” by Luuk van Middelaar, a book that summarizes the crisis he deems as most important for the EU in decades: the coronavirus pandemic.

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Emily Levine on the Hard Compromises behind Academic Innovation

In conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Emily Levine (Stanford University) discusses key ideas in her new book “Allies and Rivals: German-American Exchange and the Rise of the Modern Research University”, a transatlantic monograph that draws on extensive historical research and applies sociological theory to study how the academic social contract was repeatedly renegotiated in…

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Lea Ypi: Ideas of freedom across a historical rupture

Lea Ypi in conversation with Ferenc Laczo about her new memoir “Free: Coming of Age at the End of History” and how the people who populate its pages help her connect historical experiences with philosophical thought; how she experienced and dealt with the rupture of 1990 that forced her to reassess her childhood; how that…

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Thinking like Hannah Arendt

Our editor Kasia Krzyżanowska (EUI, CEU) talks with Samantha Rose Hill, professor at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, about her recently published biography of Hannah Arendt. 

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Konrad Jarausch on Realistic Progress

RevDem editor Ferenc Laczo interviewed historian Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about his latest book Embattled Europe: A Progressive Alternative, a rich and finely balanced portrait of contemporary Europe.

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Can Technology Save Democracy?

How can we employ technology to facilitate the democratic process? Which platforms are more democratic than others? These and more questions are answered by Kevin Esterling, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California in a conversation with the RevDem assistant editor, Catherine Wright. 

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