Alexander Schmidt

Feodor Lynen Fellow

Committee on Social Thought
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

My field is Early Modern and Modern European Intellectual History.  For the past fourteen years I’ve done research on the intersection between concepts of patriotism and religious ideas as well as on the impact of ancient republican thought on political debates in Germany from the Renaissance to the French Revolution.  I have very recently completed (together with Keith Tribe) the manuscript of a new edition of Friedrich Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters for Penguin Classics.  My main preoccupation today, however, is with how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century debates about natural rights, justice, and legislation were shaped by notions of human nature (anthropology), (aesthetic) culture, and agency.

Selected publications

Ed. together with Eva Piirimäe, Sociability in Eighteenth-Century Thought, Special Issue History of European Ideas, 41 (2015).

‘Unsocial sociability and the crisis of natural law: Michael Hissmann on the state of nature’, in: Eva Piirimäe/Alexander Schmidt (eds.), Sociability in Eighteenth-Century Thought, Special Issue History of European Ideas 41 (2015).

‘Freedom and State Action in German Late Enlightenment Thought’, in Freedom and the Construction of Europe, ed. Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 208-226.

‘Self-cultivation (Bildung) and Sociability between Mankind and the Nation: Fichte and Schleiermacher on Higher Education’, in Ideas of Education: Philosophy and politics from Plato to Dewey, Elizabeth Frazer and Christopher Brooke (eds.) (London: Routledge, 2013), 160-177.

‘Scholarship, Morals and Government: Jean-Henri-Samuel Formey’s and Johann Gottfried Herder’s Responses to Rousseau’s First Discourse’, Modern Intellectual History, 9,2 (2012), 249-274.

‘Irenic patriotism in sixteenth and seventeenth-century German political discourse’, The Historical Journal 53 (2010), 243-269.

‘The Liberty of the Ancients? Friedrich Schiller and Aesthetic Republicanism’, History of Political Thought 30 (2009), 286-314.