Prof. Dr. Dieter Gosewinkel

Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Freie Universität Berlin

Curriculum Vitae

Dieter Gosewinkel studied law and history at the Universities of Freiburg im Breisgau and Geneva. Following his legal state examination and a degree in modern history, he worked as Researcher at the Institute for Public Law of the University of Freiburg. In 1990, he completed his doctorate degree in history with a dissertation on “Adolf Arndt. The refounding of the rule of law state from the spirit of social democracy (1945-1961)” and subsequently worked as Scientific Assistant at Freie Universität Berlin’s Department of History and Cultural Science. There, he completed his habilitation in modern history in 2000 with a work on the topic “Naturalization and Exclusion. The Nationalization of Citizenship from the German Confederation to the Federal Republic of Germany” (“Einbürgern und Ausschließen. Die Nationalisierung der Staatsangehörigkeit vom Deutschen Bund bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland“, Göttingen 2001). From 2002, he headed the research group “Civil Society, Citizenship and Political Mobilization in Europe” at the Berlin Social Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, WZB), where since 2011 he has been leading the Center for Global Constitutionalism (until 2015: Rule of Law Center). Since 2009, Dieter Gosewinkel is Extraordinary Professor (außerplanmäßiger Professor) at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has held fellowships inter alia at the University of Erfurt’s Max-Weber-Kollegs für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, as well as through the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany at the University of Oxford’s St Anthony’s College and at the Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris. Most recently, he was professeur invité at the Université Paris 8 and chercheur invité at the Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes at the University of Montreal.

Following his first Fellowship from January to July 2016, between October 2016 and February 2017 Professor Gosewinkel was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Project

Challenging Universalism. Critique of human rights as a part of legal culture

After 1945, human rights have claimed ascendancy worldwide as an overarching normative measure of the legal protection of individuals. The political and legal validity claim of human rights has become global and hegemonic. This very validity claim of human rights as, in principle, unlimited and with priority status has always been the subject of opposition and criticism that has contributed to shaping and determining the development of human rights from the outset. This intellectual and political counterpart, the “counter concept” (Gegenbegriff, Koselleck) has always been present in the discourse surrounding human rights, even during its worldwide strongest upswing phase after 1945. In order to understand not just the genesis, but also the future chances of development of human rights, it is necessary to consider the opposite side, the critique of human rights, not as a contrary but as an elemental part of human rights discourse. This research project is concerned with calling to awareness the historicity of human rights discourse, i.e. its historical conditions in terms of possibilities, but also limitations and counter-forces. The object is to delineate and measure the terrain of human rights critique as a research domain, on the one hand by forming categories of human rights critique, on the other by highlighting examples of arguments and actors as means of illustration. The temporal focus will lie in the period following 1945.

Publications (selected)

  • Schutz und Freiheit? Staatsbürgerschaft in Europa im 20. Und 21. Jahrhundert, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft, Bd. 2167, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2016.
  • Anti-liberal Europe. A Neglected Story of Europeanization, New German Historical Perspectives Vol. 6 (Ed.), New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books 2015.
  • "Naturaliser ou exclure? La nationalité en France et en Allemagne aux XIXe et XXe siècles - Une comparaison historique", in: Jus politicum - Revue de droit politique, No. 12, 2014, pp. 1-21.
  • Expropriation et politiques de population au XXe siècle, Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Ed.), Paris: Éditions Belin 2014.
  • Wissenschaft, Politik, Verfassungsgericht. Aufsätze von Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde - Biographisches Interview von Dieter Gosewinkel (together with Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde), Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft, Bd. 2006, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2011.
  • Politische Kultur im Wandel von Staatlichkeit, WZB-Jahrbuch 2007 (Ed. with Gunnar Folke Schuppert), Berlin: edition sigma 2008.
  • Die Verfassungen in Europa 1789-1949. Wissenschaftliche Textedition unter Einschluß sämtlicher Änderungen und Ergänzungen sowie mit Dokumenten aus der englischen und amerikanischen Verfassungsgeschichte (Ed. with Johannes Masing), Munich: Beck 2006.
  • Wirtschaftskontrolle und Recht in der nationalsozialistischen Diktatur (Ed.), Frankfurt/M.: Klostermann 2005.
  • Zivilgesellschaft - national und transnational, WZB-Jahrbuch 2003 (Ed. with Dieter Rucht, Wolfgang van den Daele, Jürgen Kocka) Berlin: edition sigma 2004.
  • Einbürgern und ausschließen. Die Nationalisierung der Staatsangehörigkeit vom Deutschen Bund bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Kritische Studien zur Geschichtswissenschaft, Band 150, 2. Auflage Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2003.
  • Adolf Arndt. Die Wiederbegründung des Rechtsstaats aus dem Geist der Sozialdemokratie (1945 - 1961) [Diss. phil. Freiburg 1990], Reihe Politik- und Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Band 25, Bonn: J.H.W. Dietz Nf. 1991.