skip to content

Cambridge Centre for Political Thought


The 'Global' Carl Schmitt

Tuesday, 12 Nov. 2019

Bawden Room, Jesus College, University of Cambridge

10:30 - 19:15 GMT


Image: © Bill Rankin, ‘The Human Hemisphere’ (2015)[


This one-day workshop brings together a set of experts on the work of Carl Schmitt in particular, and on modern German political thought and intellectual history in general. It does so in order to consider, conceptualise and criticise some of Schmitt’s connections to an increasingly ‘global’ discipline and an increasingly fraught global order.

Our guiding ideas are threefold. First, that we might gain something both from interrogating Schmitt’s work as a way of grasping the ‘global’ as space, place, regime or provocation for modern political thought and intellectual history. We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in democracy and sovereignty as key conceptual issues here for an increasing global population, whose unequal access to resources is indelibly marked by the historical formation of empires, states and trade. Second, we are interested to think about what an increasingly ‘global’ intellectual history might suggest in terms of new ways of understanding Schmitt’s work across various contexts. And third, we wonder whether or not political theory and intellectual history has by now domesticated Carl Schmitt to such an extent that new historical or theoretical work is needed to see the stakes of our own commitments to what might be thought of as the ‘global political’, or the political dynamics of the world order amid significant global and planetary-scale crises.


Program Schedule

10am – coffee (foyer outside Bawden Room, West Court, Jesus College) and general welcome

As the workshop is based around pre-circulated papers, we hope that speakers will take no more than 10 mins to set out their claims/set the work in some perspective, giving commentators time to say what they would like to. We will then have plenty of time for general discussion.

Panel 1 – 10.30-12

Samuel Garrett Zeitlin (Cambridge):  Carl Schmitt as Historian of Political Thought: The Case of Schmitt's Bodin in Nazi-Occupied France.

Clara Maier (Berlin): Carl Schmitt’s Anti-Colonialism and the New World Order

Comment by Joshua Smeltzer (Cambridge)


Lunch 12-1.15 (provided for participants; otherwise there is a cafe next door)


Panel 2 - 1.30-3.30pm

Or Rosenboim (City, London): Political Spaces: A Reflection on Carl Schmitt’s Land and Sea

Danilo Scholz (EUI Florence): The future of colonialism: the dialogue between Schmitt and Kojève

Martin Ruehl (Cambridge): East and West in Schmitt's Political Thought.

Comment by Mira Siegelberg (Cambridge).

3.30-4pm – coffee

Panel 3 – 4-6pm

Faisal Devji (Oxford): The Inheritance of ISIS

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins (Dartmouth): Political Theology and Polytheism: Jan Assmann’s Critique of Carl Schmitt.

Thomas Meaney (Berlin): What Did Schmitt Want? Globalism, regionalism, and the horizon beyond liberalism

Comment by Shruti Kapila (Cambridge)

6-7pm – wine reception

7.15pm - Dinner for participants, West Court dining room (first floor, above Bawden Room)


This event is supported by the DAAD-University of Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO), and by the Forum on Geopolitics.