I am a political philosopher, currently based at the Cluster of Excellence The Formation of Normative Orders at Goethe University Frankfurt/Main.
Prior to that, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies Justitia Amplificata.
In my research, I attempt to make themes from Kant’s philosophy fruitful for a variety of issues in contemporary political philosophy. Prior work (including my Phd thesis, which is available here) focused on Kant’s cosmopolitanism and its relation to topical debates at the intersection of migration, membership and boundaries. My current project develops a Kant-inspired framework for thinking about the role and significance of hope specifically in the context of democratic politics.
In times of a prevailing sense of crisis and disorder in modern politics, there is a growing sentiment that anger and despair or at least resignation and apathy are more appropriate attitudes to navigate the world than hope. Political theorists have long shared this suspicion and shied away from theorising hope systematically. While for some hope is a gritty fact of political practice that does not belong in normative theory, others see it as expressing a doe-eyed approach to the world that detracts from what is to be done ‘here and now’ and leads to disappointment or even more destructive sentiments by inflating our ideas of what is possible.
The aim of my project is to resist this tendency by vindicating hope as a vital component of democratic life. In making this argument, I will draw on Immanuel Kant’s account of hope. For Kant, hope is a foundational kind of state that plays an important role in our practical engagement with the world in general. In particular, hope allows us to retain our resolve to act when the odds of making a difference are dim. Hence, it is not something we take refuge with once there is nothing else left to do but it is intricately intertwined with contexts of action.
I will set out to show that hope, conceived along these lines, is particularly indispensable for democratic agents. For they often find themselves torn precisely between the democratic promise that they can make a difference on the one hand, and the seeming futility of their efforts amidst institutions and processes that are often experienced as slow and unresponsive, on the other. Active engagement in democratic practices thus requires agents to find ways of fending off despair, frustration and demoralisation in the face of their own ostensible inefficacy. This motivates my attempt to develop a systematic account of democratic hope that is sensitive to its unavoidability as much as its dangers.
I also hold an MSc in International Relations Theory (with Distinction) from the LSE.
- In May 2019, I will present at the conference „Philosophy and Social Science“ in Prague.
- In June 2019, I will speak at the conference „Interpreting the Anthropocene: Hope and Anxiety at the End of Nature“ at Goethe University Frankfurt.
- In August 2019, I will be at the 13th International Kant Congress in Oslo.
- In August 2019, I will participate in a roundtable discussion of Annie Stilz’s Territorial Sovereignty: A Philosophical Exploration at APSA in Washington, DC.
- During September and October 2019, I will be a Visiting Scholar with the Research Group on Global Justice at McGill University in Montreal.
Defying Democratic Despair: A Kantian Account of Hope in Politics
EU Citizens in Post-Brexit UK: The Case for Automatic Naturalisation
Legitimacy as Public Willing: Kant on Freedom and the Law
Gentrification and Occupancy Rights (co-authored with Fabio Wolkenstein)
in Politics, Philosophy & Economics 17(4), 2018, 378–397. [published version]
Kant’s cosmopolitanism as a task set to humankind
Pragmatic Belief and Political Agency
Theorising from the Global Standpoint: Kant and Grotius on Original Common Possession of the Earth
Cosmopolitanism for Earth Dwellers: Kant on the Right to be Somewhere
No right to unilaterally claim your territory: on the consistency of Kantian statism
What makes Human Rights ‘Political’? A Kantian Critique
in Journal for Human Rights / Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte 7(2), 2013, pp. 127-141. [published version]
The Underrated Premium of Territorial Arrival
forthcoming 2019 in The Shifting Border: Ayelet Shachar in Dialogue, part of the „Critical Powers“ series edited by Antony Simon Laden, Peter Niesen and David Owen (Manchester: Manchester University Press).
Hoffnung und Utopie (co-authored with Claudia Blöser)
forthcoming in Handbuch Religionsphilosophie, edited by Heiko Schulz, Christian Wiese, Catherina Wenzel (Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag).
Review of „The Struggle for Democracy: Paradoxes of Progress and the Politics of Change“ by Christopher Meckstroth (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
in Constellations 18(4), 2018, 628-648. [published version]
I teach both in the history of political thought and contemporary political philosophy. Here are some of the seminars I currently teach or have taught in the past: