Frankfurter Stadtgespräch XV

Wer hat angefangen? Sinn und Unsinn historischer Schuldzuschreibungen

Prof. Christopher Clark  (Cambridge) in conversation with Prof. Christoph Cornelißen (Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders")

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther (Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders")

19 May 2014, 7pm

Historisches Museum
Fahrtor 2, Römerberg
Frankfurt am Main



The question of guilt not only arises in criminal law. It is also one of the central issues in history. It is tempting to think that the answer to the question of who was at fault and who should be held responsible is indispensable for evaluating historical events, in particular armed conflicts. The current Frankfurt Encounter will address fundamental issues raised by the meaning, function and implications of attributions of guilt across different historical epochs. A particular focus, also for topical reasons, will be on the First World War, for whose outbreak many historians have long made Germany primarily responsible. Our guest in the 15th Frankfurt Encounter will be the historian Christopher Clark, whose book, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, takes a differentiated approach to the question of guilt. His discussion partner will be Christoph Cornelissen, Professor of Contemporary History at the Goethe University.

Christopher Clark is Professor of Modern European History at St Catharine’s College in Cambridge. One of his main research interests is the history of Prussia. Born in Australia, he is the author of a biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was awarded the 2007 Wolfson Prize for his book Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947, and in 2010 was the first non-German-speaking historian to receive the prize of the Historisches Kolleg München, commonly known as ‘The German Historians’ Prize’. Clark received the Bruno Kreisky award for political writing in spring 2014 for the German edition of his most recent book, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Die Schlafwandler: Wie Europa in den Ersten Weltkrieg zog). Christopher Clark is joint Fellow of the Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’ and of the college of history at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Goethe University Frankfurt.

Christoph Cornelissen is Professor of Contemporary History at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Prior to this, he held the chair in Modern History at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and the chair in Modern and Contemporary History at Kiel University. His current research deals with twentieth-century European history. Among his research concentrations are the history of Western Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of historiography, the history of cultures of remembrance, methodological and theoretical questions in historiography and the history of migration. Christoph Cornelissen is an associate member of the Cluster of Excellence.

klaus_guenther_72dpiKlaus Günther is Joint Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’ at the Goethe University Frankfurt and Professor of Legal Theory, Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure in the Faculty of Law. His main areas of expertise are the philosophy of law, discourse theory of law and the theory of legal argumentation, concepts and theories of responsibility, legal theory of globalisation, sociology of law, law and literature, and foundational problems of criminal law.

Presented by:
Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" with Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main


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