Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of History Fellows Prof. Dr. Hans Joas

Prof. Dr. Hans Joas

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Permanent Fellow


Born 1948; 1981 Habilitation in Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin; 1979-1983 Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, Berlin; 1984-1987 Heisenberg Fellow, Max  Planck Institute for Human Development and Education; 1987-1990 Full Professor in Sociology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; 1990-2002 Full Professor in Sociology and North American Studies, Free University of Berlin; 1998-present Ordinary Member, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences; 2000-present Visiting Professor/ University of Chicago, Committee on Social Thought; 2002-2011 Max Weber Professor and Director of the Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt; 2006-2010 Vice President, International Sociological Association; 2008-present Speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre “Religious Individualization in Historical Perspective”; 2010 Niklas Luhmann Award (“Bielefelder Wissenschaftspreis”); 2012 Honorary Doctorate in Catholic Theology, University of Tübingen; 2013 Honorary Doctorate in Sociology, University of Uppsala (Sweden)

Fellow at the Berlin Wissenschaftskolleg (2005/06), at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (1992, 1999/2000, 2004/05, 2010), Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Duke University; New School for Social Research; University of Vienna, University of Uppsala  etc.


Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • George Herbert Mead. A Contemporary Re-examination of his Thought (MIT Press 1985)
  • Social Action and Human Nature (with Axel Honneth) (Cambridge University Press 1988)
  • Pragmatism and Social Theory (University of Chicago Press 1993)
  • The Creativity of Action (University of Chicago Press 1996)
  • The Genesis of Values (University of Chicago Press 2000)
  • War and Modernity (Blackwell 2003)
  • Social Theory (with Wolfgang Knoebl) (Cambridge University Press 2009)
  • Do We Need Religion? On the Experience of Self-Transcendence (Paradigm 2009)
  • War in Social Thought. A History (with Wolfgang Knoebl) (Princeton University Press 2012)
  • The Sacredness of the Person. A New Genealogy of Human Rights (Georgetown University Press 2013)


"Sacralization and Secularization"

Having just finished a study on the history of human rights as the sacralisation of the “person” I am now mostly interested in developing an alternative to the conventional understanding of secularization as the necessary corollary of processes of modernization. The coming steps in this project are:

  1. The finalization of a book manuscript “Faith as an Option”. As Charles Taylor has demonstrated, the emergence of the “secular option” does not mean that religions must decline, but that even believers have to define their faith now as an option. The book spells out some of the consequences this has for contemporary religion. (published in German, June 2012)
  2. The edition of a collection on the “Axial Age” as the breakthrough to moral universalism (together with Robert Bellah, forthcoming October 2012, Harvard University Press)
  3. A study of the history of the scientific study of religion between the project of secularization and the attempt to find new foundations for religious faith, simultaneously an attempt to develop the theoretical alternative mentioned at the beginning.