JHI Blog Forum on Hans Blumenberg and Political Myth

The JHI Blog is pleased to present a forum reflecting on Präfiguration – Arbeit am politischen Mythos (Prefiguration – Work on Political Myth) and other works by the influential philosopher and historian Hans Blumenberg, as a posthumous intervention in the conceptual history of political myth. Traditionally, Blumenberg was thought to be a largely apolitical thinker and his writing on myth seemed to focus primarily on issues within literary studies, intellectual history and philosophy. However, with the discovery of Präfiguration (published by Suhrkamp in 2014)a text where myths role in politics is explicitly discussed, Blumenberg’s relevance for political thought has generated a considerable amount of scholarly activity.

This comes at the very moment when the public at large is much more attuned—it seems—to the mutability and stakes of political myths. How does this intervention help us read the current context? Following on from a special issue on Blumenberg’s The Legitimacy of the Modern Age in volume 80:1 of the Journal of the History of Ideas, and in the lead up to both KU Leuven’s workshop on “Politics, Truth, Myth: Hans Blumenberg and Beyond” and the international symposium on “New Approaches to Hans Blumenberg” at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, this not-to-be-missed forum address how Blumenberg’s posthumous intervention to concept of political myth may help us read our current context.

Edited by Andrew Hines (Senior Teaching Fellow in Philosophy, SOAS) and Jonathon Catlin (Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton)

Part I: “Blumenberg and the Concept of Myth in Germany,” by Tae-Yeoun Keum, Christopher Tower Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford

Part II: “Political Myth in Blumenberg and Plato,” by Marina Marren, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo

Part III: “‘How History is Made’: Excavating Political Myth in Blumenberg and Kantorowicz after 1945,” by Alex Langstaff is a Ph.D. candidate in modern European history at NYU​

Part IV: “Hans Blumenberg on Political Myth and the Apocalypse,” by Willem Styfhals, postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium.

Part V: Professor Angus Nicholls of Queen Mary University of London speaks with Andrew Hines in this podcasted conversation.