Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Yale University, USA (Ct.)
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:June-July 2010, June‒July 2014
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Democratic Sovereignty and Transnational Law. On Legal Utopianism and Democratic Skepticism«
In this research project which will lead to a new book I examine the rise of legal cosmopolitanism in the period since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 as it gives rise to two very distinct sets of literature and preoccupations. I contrast the mainly negative conclusions drawn by conventional political theory about the possibility of reconciling democratic sovereignty with a transnational legal order and the utopianism of contemporary legal scholarship that projects varieties of global constitutionalism with or without the state.
There are not only divergences among legal and political scholars on reconciling democratic sovereignty and international law; there are also deep disparities between US and European perspectives on these issues leading to what I call the »transatlantic rift.« Whereas Europe, under the influence of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice and the European Convention on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms is developing a »cosmopolitan« jurisprudence, there are strong »sovereigntist« trends in the US Supreme Court and among legal scholars.
In this book project, I will argue that transnational human rights norms strengthen rather than weaken democratic sovereignty, and name processes through which rights-norms are contextualized in polities ›democratic iterations.‹ The challenge is to think beyond the binarisms of the cosmopolitan versus the civic republican; democratic versus the international and transnational; democratic sovereignty versus human rights law.
Funding of the stay:Excellence Cluster »The formation of normative orders«
Research partner:Seyla Benhabib follows the invitation of Rainer Forst (Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Frankfurt University and Co-speaker of the University's Cluster of Excellence »The formation of normative orders«).
Scholarly profile of Seyla Benhabib
Main areas of research:History of Ideas in the 19th and 20th cnetury, Critical Theory, Feminist Theory, Theory of Democracy, Cosmopolitanism, The Philosophy of Hannah Arendt
- Critique, Norm and Utopia. A Study of the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory, New York: Columbia University Press 1986.
- Situating the Self. Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics, Cambridge: Polity Press 1992.
- (with Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell and Nancy Fraser), Der Streit um Differenz. Feminismus und Postmoderne in der Gegenwart, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer 1993 (engl.: Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, New York: Routledge 1994).
- The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt, Thousands Oaks: Sage 1996.
- Kulturelle Vielfalt und demokratische Gleichheit. Politische Partizipation im Zeitalter der Globalisierung (Horkheimer Vorlesungen), Frankfurt am Main: Fischer 2000.
- The Claims of Culture. Equality and Diversity in the Global Era, Princeton University Press 2002.
- The Rights of Others. Aliens, Citizens and Residents, Cambridge University Press 2004.
- Another Cosmopolitanism. Hospitality, Sovereignty and Democratic Iterations, Oxford University Press USA 2004.
- (ed. with Judith Resnik), Migrations and Mobilities. Gender, Borders and Citizenship, New York: NYU Press 2009.
- (ed. by Seyla Benhabib), Politics in Dark Times. Encounters with Hannah Arendt, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 2010.
- Dignity and Adversity. Human Rights in Troubled Times, Cambridge: Polity Press 2011.
Seyla Benhabib has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science since 1995. She was awarded the Ernst-Bloch-Preis (2009), the Dr.-Leopold-Lucas-Preis of Tübingen University (2012) and the Meister-Eckhart-Preis of the city of Cologne (2014). She received an Honorary degree from the universities of Utrecht (2004), Valencia (2010), the Bogazici University in Istanbul (2012) and the Georgetown Graduate School (2014).