Theology and Politics in the German Imagination, 1789–1848

10 July 2017 - 11 July 2017

Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Registration for this conference is now open. Fees are £40 (full fee) and £25 (student/unwaged); it is also possible to pay a reduced fee to only attend the conference for one day. All fees include lunches and teas/coffees. Registration will close on Monday 3 July.



Ruth Jackson (University of Cambridge)

Hanna Weibye (University of Cambridge)



A two-day international conference in July 2017, bringing together scholars of different disciplines to consider the relationships between theology, religious practice, political theory, and political practice in early nineteenth-century Germany (and German-speaking central Europe).

The conference seeks to foster interdisciplinary communication. While studies linking theology and political theory, or church history and political history, are not uncommon, they are most often conducted within the academic silos of history, philosophy, or theology faculties. By bringing together scholars from these different disciplines, and also inviting contributions from others (such as art history, musicology, and literary studies), we hope both to invigorate and enrich the study of the nexus between theology and politics in early nineteenth-century Germany.

The conference will also encourage consideration of the period as a whole. We are interested in elucidating possible connections between the well-documented ‘politicisation of the religious’ in the 1820s and 1830s, and the theological and political concerns of the late enlightenment and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.




Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


Administrative assistance:


We are unable to arrange or book accommodation for registrants; the following websites may, however, be of help:

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms
University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

Day 1 - Monday 10 July

9.00 - 9.30


9.30 - 10.45

Session One - Roundtable Discussion

Chair: Joachim Whaley (University of Cambridge)



Marion Heinz (University of Siegen)

Maureen Junker-Kenny (Trinity College Dublin)

Gareth Stedman-Jones (University of Cambridge)

10.45 - 11.15


11.15 - 13.00

Session Two

Chair: James Morris (University of Cambridge)      


Margaret Rose (University of Cambridge)

'1848 and the 200th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia'


Paul Kerry (University of Oxford)

'Goethe and the Tercentenary of the Reformation'

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 15.45

Session Three

Chair: Ruth Jackson (University of Cambridge)


Michael Lesley (Harvard University)

'Circumcision and the Debate on Jewish Belonging in the Sattelzeit'


Damian Valdez (University of Cambridge)

'1848: A theological struggle of the sexes and of Orient and Occident through the prism of revolution'

15.45 - 16.15


16.15 - 18.00

Session Four

Chair: Christopher Meckstroth (University of Cambridge)


Anton Jansson (University of Gothenburg)

'Not of this world? Theological politics of time in the political thought of Stahl, Weitling, and Welcker'


Mike Sonenscher (University of Cambridge)

'The theological and political origins of Krausismo'


Mooness Davarian

'Max Stirner's Subversion of Prussian Restoration Thought'

Day Two - Tuesday 11 July

9.00 - 10.45

Session Five

Chair: Hanna Weibye (University of Cambridge)


Katherine Hambridge (Durham University)

'The Sacred and the National in the Music of Historical Dramas c.1800'


Ofri Ilany (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

'"Der Gott Jakobs ist unser Schutz!": German Nationalism and the Old Testament God'

10.45 - 11.15


11.15 - 13.00

Session Six

Chair: Charlotte Johann (University of Cambridge)


Augur Pearce

'Church Membership before the First Prussian Constitution'


Laura Achtelstetter (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

'The Marriage-law-reform Debate in Prussia and Conservative State Doctrine'

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 16.15

Session Seven

Chair: Simone Kotva (University of Cambridge)


Alexander Hampton (Arizona State University)

'Novalis' Political Theology'


Tommaso Manzon (King’s College London) 

'Religion and the Goals of Politics in Kant: the Postulates of Practical Reason and the Possibility of Perpetual Peace'


Audrey Borowski (University of Oxford)

'Pure Nothingness and Being: Kleist’s Paradoxical Dialectical Philosophy'

16.15 - 16.45


16.45 - 17.00

Theology & Politics in the German Imagination: Reflections on the Conference    

Ruth Jackson and Hanna Weibye 

17.00 - 18.30

Keynote Lecture

Chair: Jonathan Linebaugh (University of Cambridge)


Frederick Beiser (Syracuse University)

'The Politics of Strauss’ Biblical Criticism'


Respondent: James Carleton Paget (University of Cambridge)