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Dinner Speech - Jürgen Osterhammel

Prof. em. Dr. dr. h.c. Jürgen Osterhammel

Balzan Preis 2018
University of Freiburg

Cosmopolitanism and Empire
When May 08, 2019
from 05:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Lounge
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to University members
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Cosmopolitanism and Empire


Cosmopolitanism, nowadays often degenerated into a globally extractive consumerism, was an Enlightenment dream of world citizenship, universal justice and the borderless exchange of ideas and commodities. It was, in later terms, a liberal vision, based on a non-racialist anthropology and sometimes aiming at cultural syncretism. Empire seems to be its very opposite: the cruel reality of hierarchy, oppression, violence and racial categorization. And yet, the two principles co-existed during the Age of Empire that lasted up to the decolonization of the 1960s. The lecture will attempt to disentangle that contradiction. In doing this, it will address divisive issues of our own time: the controversial legacy of Empire as well as current attacks on cosmopolitanism as an ideology of "unrooted" globality.