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Abstracts for Max Weber Lectures 2019-2020


 Max Weber Lecture October 2019


Tit-for-Tat: The U.S.-Russian Game of Weaponizing Elections
Valerie Jane Bunce (Cornell University)


16 October 2019, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: Tamara Popic (MW Fellow, SPS)


Russian intervention in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, along with the Russian invasion and de-stabilization of Ukraine, beginning in 2014, were  responses to repeated U.S. electoral interventions in Russia’s neighborhood. This two-person game of electoral tit-for-tat shared similar goals, such as de-stabilizing the other country, supporting the election of more friendly leaders and laying some groundwork for regime change. The weaponization of elections undermines democracy, supports growing authoritarianism and undermines international alliances. 

About the speaker 

Valerie Bunce is the Aaron Binenkorb Professor Emeritus at Cornell University.  She has written, co-written and co-edited five books, including a forthcoming edited volume, Citizens and the State: Comparing Russia and China (Oxford University Press, 2020). Her research focuses on transitions to and from democracy; authoritarian politics; and U.S. And Russian foreign policy.  She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served as President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies and Vice President of the American Political Science Association. 

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Max Weber Lecture November 2019


The End of Enlightenment and After
Richard Whatmore (University of St Andrews)


20 November 2019, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: Jorge Díaz Ceballos (MW Fellow, HEC)


The major claim of this lecture is that a central fact has been missed by generations of historians and commentators. It is that in the final decades of the eighteenth century many contemporaries believed that they had failed the challenge of maintaining Enlightenment and were set fair for an era of civil and likely international war, the growth of intolerance, and possibly political apocalypse, in the sense of the collapse of existing constitutions and governments. Some have argued that such fears for the future were a commonplace response to the French Revolution. The problems identified as likely to cause the end of enlightenment occurred much earlier in actuality. The French Revolution was more a response to anticipations of imminent crisis than their cause. The view became widespread after the end of the Seven Years’ War that new forms of fanaticism were abroad. Traditionally associated with religious extremism, as societies across Europe became polarized, frightening forms of superstition and enthusiasm were being translated from religion into politics. These terms - superstition, enthusiasm and fanaticism - were of fundamental importance in any understanding of eighteenth-century thought. They need to be defined as they identify worries about the likely future for numerous philosophers who died between Hume (1776) or Rousseau (1778) and Paine (1809).

About the speaker 

Richard Whatmore is Professor of Modern History and Co-Director of the Institute of Intellectual History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Republicanism and the French Revolution (OUP, 2000), Against War and Empire (Yale, 2012), What is Intellectual History? (Polity, 2015) and Terrorists, Anarchists and Republicans (Princeton, 2019).

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Max Weber Lecture January 2020


The Populist Ambition
Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)

15 January 2020, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: Johann Justus Vasel (MW Fellow, LAW)


The lecture is devoted to the examination of populism as the construction of a new kind of representative government. A populist democracy promised is the form representative democracy can take in the age of the empire of the audience, in which horizontal networks of communication and transient movements shatter political associations and make politics a terrain of conquest by leaders, whose representative claim relies on the verdict of the audience and the daily communication with the people. Direct representation within electoral democracy: this seemingly oxymoron is the physiognomic of a populist form of democracy. 

About the speaker 

Nadia Urbinati is Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science, Columbia University in the City of New York. She received her degree at the University of Bologna and her doctorate at the European University Institute. She has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and of the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University.  She was the winner of the Lenfest/Columbia Distinguished Faculty Awards. In 2008, the President of the Italian Republic awarded her as Commendatore della Repubblica. Her book on Mill on Democracy received the David and Elaine Spitz Prize. 

Among her most recent books, Me The People: How Populism Transforms Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2019), The Tyranny of the Moderns (Yale University Press, 2015) and Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People (Harvard University Press, 2014). Her new Italian coming book written with Luciano Vandelli and titled, Democrazia del sorteggio, will be released in February 2020 by Einaudi Publisher.

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Max Weber Lecture February 2020


The Enlightenment in Southeastern Europe
Marie-Janine Calic (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich) 

19 February 2020, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: Anca Cretu (MW Fellow, HEC)


The lecture will explore “enlightened” political thinking in the region from the mid-18th century onwards. It will outline different types of “enlightenments” in the Balkans and their respective main features, time frames and transformations. It will be demonstrated how Croatian, Serbian, Greek, Romanian and other intellectuals both from the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire formed part of a broader European network of thinkers sharing similar values of patriotism and cosmopolitanism at a time. Moreover, influences from ´radical´ France (in particular Voltaire) were as much present in the region as ´moderate´ philosophers from Austria and Germany (like Christian Wolff). The lecture will also look into main channels of transmission of new ideas in societies where a large majority of people were illiterate. Yet, the enlightenment provided for new arguments and methods of thinking, and it changed discourses, values, social practices, and representations in the region.

About the speaker 

Marie-Janine Calic is a Professor for East and South East European History at the University of Munich. Away from her permanent employment she worked for the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe in Brussels, UNPROFOR-Headquarters in Zagreb, and the ICTY in The Hague. Recent publications include: “The Great Cauldron. A History of Southeast Europe”, Cambridge/London, Harvard University Press 2019; and “A History of Yugoslavia,” West Lafayette, Purdue University Press 2019. She is a regular commentator on Balkan affairs for the media.


Max Weber Lecture March 2020 - CANCELLED due to Covid lockdown


The Crumbling House of Islam.
Religious Causes of Oppression, Stagnation and Violence

Ruud Koopmans (WZB; Humboldt University Berlin)

04 March 2020, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: David Moloney (MW Fellow, RSCAS)

About the speaker 

Ruud Koopmans is director of the Research Area Migration & Diversity at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor of Sociology and Migration Research at Humboldt University Berlin. He is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM). His current research focuses are migration and integration, religious fundamentalism and extremism, and majority and minority rights. His most recent books deal with the crisis of the Islamic world (Das verfallene Haus des Islam. Die religiösen Ursachen von Unfreiheit, Stagnation und Gewalt; CH Beck Publishers, 2020), and the new political cleavage around globalization (The Struggle over Borders. Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism, with Pieter de Wilde et al.; Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Max Weber Lecture April 2020 - CANCELLED due to Covid lockdown


E pur si muove - European monetary integration after the crisis

Waltraud Schelkle

Waltraud Schelkle (London School of Economics and Political Science) 

15 April 2020, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction and Chair: Fabian Mushövel (MW Fellow, SPS)


Explanations of why the European monetary union experienced a crisis are framed in such fundamental terms that an innocent observer may wonder why the union still exists. Economists remind us again and again that it is not an optimal currency area. Political economists have identified two growth models in Northern and Southern Europe that apparently cannot function under a common currency. Political scientists re-discovered the neoliberal ideology that supposedly rules the union, which benefits Germany and Germany only. And yet, it moves. In this lecture, I ask whether the experimental monetary union has moved on from Maastricht. The Maastricht regime was based on a strict separation of monetary and fiscal policy, with financial regulation left to Single Market harmonisation. This functionalist edifice proved untenable when the crisis exposed its incompleteness, especially in terms of a budgetary union. I show that subsequent reforms recognised and developed the interfaces between different policy areas and market institutions. The outcome can be interpreted as a system of re-insurance in which each layer of insurance is deliberately left incomplete. This is arguably a viable solution for an experimental monetary union that was forced by a systemic financial crisis to develop a post-Maastricht regime.

About the speaker 

Waltraud Schelkle is Professor in Political Economy at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science since 2001. Before that, she was an Assistant and Visiting Professor at the Economics Department of the Free University of Berlin, which she joined from the German Development Institute where she worked as a development economist on India. Her research interests include the European monetary union and welfare state integration, which came together in her latest book on 'The Political Economy of Monetary Solidarity' (OUP 2017).

Max Weber Lecture June 2020
joint with
Rethinking Economics (RE) and Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)


 Rethinking Value Creation for a post-Covid recovery that is inclusive & sustainable

Mariana Mazzucato

Mariana Mazzucato (UCL) 

29 June 2020, 15:00-17:00
Online Event
Moderator: Dorothee Bohle (MWP Director)
Introduction: Eleanor Woodhouse (MW Fellow, ECO)



Value is often confused with Price. And the public sector is not seen as a value creator, just a market fixer. The lecture looked at both these problems and develop a new approach to public policy that is based on market shaping and co-creation. It focused on the implications for achieving the sustainable development goals and for constructing a post-Covid economic recovery that is sustainable and inclusive.

The lecture was based on two key references: Mazzucato’s latest book The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy and her high impact work with the European Commission on Mission Oriented Policy.

About the speaker 

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). She received her BA from Tufts University and her MA and PhD from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. Her previous posts include the RM Phillips Professorial Chair at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. She is a selected fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and of the Italian National Science Academy (Lincei).

She is winner of international prizes including the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.  She was named as one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation' by the New Republic and one of the 25 leaders shaping the future of capitalism by Wired.

Her highly-acclaimed book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (2013) investigates the critical role the state plays in driving growth—and her book The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy (2018) looks at how value creation needs to be rewarded over value extraction.

She advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors; the South African President’s Economic Advisory Council; the OECD Secretary General’s Advisory Group on a New Growth Narrative; the UN’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP), Vinnova’s Advisory Panel in Sweden, and Norway’s Research Council.  She is a Special Economic Advisor for the Italian Prime Minister (2020), and through her role as Special Advisor for the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation (2017-2019), she authored the high impact report on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union, turning “missions” into a crucial new instrument in the European Commission’s Horizon innovation programme. 

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