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Negotiating the Secular and the Religious in the German Empire: Transnational Approaches

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Volume 10

New German Historical Perspectives

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Negotiating the Secular and the Religious in the German Empire

Transnational Approaches

Edited by Rebekka Habermas

244 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-151-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (March 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-152-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume reveals the vibrancy of debates around religion, the gendered character of secularism, and the pivotal role of missionaries in defining the limits of the orthodox, all of which were informed by transnational contexts.” • Central European History

“The volume offers a range of very useful answers to the difficult question of how to conceptualize and study the relationship between the religious and the secular in the German Empire. It takes the role of politics and the state seriously, but illustrates the myriad ways in which non-state actors were central to the process of redefining the secular in relation to the religious. It resists easy progress narratives of a gradual transition from a benighted state of religiosity towards an enlightened, secular one, and successfully historicizes a number of instances of the ‘constant making and unmaking of the religious and the secular’ in Germany and beyond.” • European History Quarterly

“With its strong lineup of contributors, this book adds valuable insights into the under-researched topic of what is meant by the secular, and also conveys the many ways in which the secular and the religious were intertwined in the German imperial context.” • Rebecca Bennette, Middlebury College

“Habermas addresses an important and often neglected aspect of German – and indeed European – history. The high quality of the scholarship will make this a significant contribution to the field.” • Professor Matthew Jefferies, University of Manchester


With its rapid industrialization, modernization, and gradual democratization, Imperial Germany has typically been understood in secular terms. However, religion and religious actors actually played crucial roles in the history of the Kaiserreich, a fact that becomes particularly evident when viewed through a transnational lens. In this volume, leading scholars of sociology, religious studies, and history study the interplay of secular and religious worldviews beyond the simple interrelation of practices and ideas. By exploring secular perspectives, belief systems, and rituals in a transnational context, they provide new ways of understanding how the borders between Imperial Germany’s secular and religious spheres were continually made and remade.

Rebekka Habermas is Professor of Modern German History at the University of Göttingen. She has also been a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at Oxford University and Theodor Heuss Professor at The New School in New York. Her publications include Frauen und Männer des Bürgertums: Eine Familiengeschichte (2000), Thieves in Court: The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century (2016), and Skandal in Togo: Ein Kapitel deutscher Kolonialherrschaft (2016).

Subject: History: 18th/19th CenturyHistory: 20th Century to PresentCultural Studies (General)
Area: Germany


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