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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Law School and Department of Politics and International Relations convene for Schmitt roundtable

Published: 19 February 2020
Schmitt roundtable

Southampton Law School and the University of Southampton’s Department of Politics and International Relations recently hosted a unique roundtable investigating the political thought of Carl Schmitt, bringing together three eminent scholars on the subject.

The roundtable featured Professor Tracy Strong of Southampton, one of the foremost authorities on Schmitt, who has had a leading role in introducing Schmitt to the Anglophone world. Joining Professor Strong were scholars from the University of Cambridge, Dr. Sam Zeitlin and Dr. Adam Lebovitz, both of whom have published significant original work on Schmitt.

The roundtable was also attended by select scholars from the Law School and from the Politics department and reflected a unique opportunity to exchange ideas across institutions and disciplines and subject cross-pollination.

The event was of particular significance given the relevance of Schmitt’s thought to contemporary politics. As a leading scholar of fascist and anti-liberal thought, yet with the training and experience of a constitutional lawyer, Schmitt’s scholarship is of particular interest during a period when liberalism and the cosmopolitan order are under increasing strain.

Discussions included the nuances of Schmitt’s views of ethnic identity and state organisation, and, drawing from the technical expertise of the scholars, particularly Professor Strong’s knowledge of political theory, Dr. Lebovitz’s knowledge of intellectual history, and Dr. Zeitlin’s expertise with German language and culture.

During their visit, Drs. Zeitlin and Lebovitz also gave a guest lecture on the ‘Introduction to political thought’, a module organised by Professor Strong and Dr. Jonathan Havercroft in Politics. The lecture gave Southampton students exposure to a central topic from diverse methodological and substantive perspectives, and reflected the integration of research, education, and dialogue between top-flight scholars.

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