research interests


theory of culture
sociology of knowledge
history of the ideas: 19th/20th century


Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt // Research Institute Social Cohesion

A Germany-wide research consortium, funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Coordinator and deputy speaker of the Berlin section, principal investigator (with Felix Axster) of the project "Cohesion and Resentment in times of crisis: Post-89 memories in East and West Germany".

Handbook of the Social Science of Memory.

Edited by Mathias Berek, Kristina Chmelar, Oliver Dimbath, Hanna Haag, Michael Heinlein, Nina Leonhard, Valentin Rauer and Gerd Sebald (Springer VS)

Proto-Sociologist Moritz Lazarus within the Context of German-Jewish Life-Worlds

Project, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Sep 1, 2011 - Nov 2, 2016. In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Klaus Christian Köhnke, Institute for the Study of Culture, Leipzig University, and Prof. Dr. José Brunner, Minerva Institute for German History, Tel Aviv University.

Moritz Lazarus (1824-1903) was a well-known figure in his time – as founder of the social psychology called "Völkerpsychologie" and as an active representative of German reformed Jewry. My project wants to investigate how his publications and he as a person have been perceived, interpreted and appraised contemporarily and posthumously. How did Lazarus himself and how did others construct him – during lifetime and from within biographical reviews? The project analyzes the trends of those self- and external constructions within the contexts of political, social and biographical developments and thus throws a light on the complex history of the life and action of a 19th century German Jew and his modern social theory. I want to answer why his modern sociological and pluralistic thought that was interested in the contact and blend of cultures rather than in homogeneity and race remained at the edge of his own society, sunk into anonymity after his death and only much later found recognition.

The volume resulting from this project is in preparation.

Edition: Concepts of a Humanitarian Society. The political texts of Moritz Lazarus.

Within the series »Deutsch-jüdische Autoren des 19. Jahrhunderts. Schriften zu Staat, Nation, Gesellschaft«, eds. Brocke, Michael / Paul, Jobst / Jäger, Siegfried, Böhlau Verlag. German-Jewish philosopher, Völkerpsychologe und proto-sociologist Moritz Lazarus (1824-1903) used to turn to his audience not only in books and pamphlets but above all in his lectures. On these occasions, he frequently and successfully combined his Völkerpsychologie ideas with his deeply humanitarian ideals to address contemporary political problems. As a consequence those often fascinating texts offer new insight into 19th century discourses and in some aspects are surprisingly up-to-date.

Supported by a Minerva Short Term Research Grant.