Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:May/June 2014
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»›Civic-republican‹ leadership training in American Colleges«
I am researching recent shifts in »civic-republican« leadership training in American colleges as indications of significant shifts in American understandings of liberal-democratic public sphere and national identity.
The premises and protocols of citizen-leadership training in the United States have long been guided by a »civic-republican« model envisioned and elaborated by drafters of the American Constitution. Because their capitalist republic lacked mythical bonds of ethno-racial solidarity and sacred land, its survival depended on a critical mass of its citizens’ upholding public virtues and beliefs which neither the liberal state nor capitalist markets alone nurture or defend—the liberal state because it cannot judge strongly among different ways of life, and markets because they reward self-interested consumers and investors rather than citizens who attain personal and public dignity by moderating self-interest to advance a common good. For these reasons, American republican understandings of selfhood and of citizen-leadership had to be nurtured all the more intensively in institutions such as residential undergraduate colleges in universities that stood somewhat apart from markets and the state.
The premises and practices of civic-republican collegiate education have never been pure or entirely successful, but they did nurture the American leadership that framed the post-World War II trans-Atlantic alliance, Cold War »containment« of Communism, and made possible the American Civil-Rights movement. The breakdown of that leadership and its ethos, and the search for alternative ways to nurture citizen-leadership in an increasingly global sphere, are the subjects of my research.
Funding of the stay:Excellence Cluster »The formation of normative orders«
Research partner:James Sleeper follows the invitation of Rainer Forst (Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Frankfurt University).
Scholarly profile of James Sleeper Jim Sleeper is a writer and teacher on American civic culture and politics, and a lecturer in political science at Yale University. His reportage and commentary have appeared in Harper’s, The New Republic, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Washington Monthly, Dissent and New York Daily News, and other publications.
Homepage von Jim Sleeper
- The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York, New York: W.W. Norton 1990.
- Liberal Racism, New York: Viking 1997 und Lanham; Rowman & Littlefield 2002.