A Politician’s Worlds of Novels

Patrick Bahners interprets Benjamin Disraeli with students as part of a Dahrendorf Visiting Professorship at the University of Konstanz

For the students of the University of Konstanz, the Dahrendorf Visiting Professorship at the University of Konstanz provides an additional attractive teaching offer. Patrick Bahners is holding a seminar as part of the visiting professorship set up in 2011 in honor of one its most important founding fathers on the English novelist and politician Benjamin Disraeli in the 2011 from the University of Konstanz in honor of one of its most important founding fathers set up a visiting professorship to. Under the title: "Benjamin Disraeli: A politician’s worlds of novels", the head of the feuilleton of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) will interpret Disraeli's novels based on selected parts and according to the central question of the function of fiction in the politics. An additional scholar being welcomed to this seminar by the organizing Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Integration" on February 10 and 11, 2012 is the Potsdam historian Dr. Matthias Oppermann.

The life of Benjamin Disraeli, a baptized Jew and literary adventurer who became Queen Victoria's Prime Minister, reads like a novel. One chapter encompasses his own novels in which he anticipated and reflected his career. Disraeli is seen as one of the founders of conservatism. The modern political ideas in his books seem like fantasy products to the reader and are also identified as such. His books deal with the crisis of classical parliamentarism ("Coningsby," "Endymion"), the social question ("Sybil"), Jewish assimilation and proto-Zionism ("Alroy"), the spiritual dimension of the East-West conflict ("Tancred"), the seduction of Renewed Catholicism ("Lothair") and again and again with individual freedom, erotic shops and national identity.

Patrick Bahners, born in Paderborn in 1976, studied history and philosophy in Bonn and Oxford. In 1989 he joined the editing team of the FAZ, where he has been responsible for new non-fiction books since 1997 and has been director of the feuilleton since 2001. In 1998 he published the book „Im Mantel der Geschichte: Helmut Kohl oder die Unersetzlichkeit“ (In the Cloak of History: Helmut Kohl or the Irreplaceableness) published with Gerd Roellecke, as well as „1848 – Die Erfahrung der Freiheit“ (1848 – The Experience of Freedom) and „Preußische Stile: Ein Staat als Kunststück“ (Prussian Styles: A State as a Work of Art). With his recently published book „Die Panikmacher” (The Scaremongers), in which he takes a clear position on the German criticism of Islam, Patrick Bahners sparked a lively debate about integration in Germany. In 1997 he was given the journalist award of the German Association of University Professors of English (“Anglistenverband”). In 2010 he moved to New York as a cultural correspondent for the United States.

With the Dahrendorf Visiting Professorship, the University of Konstanz pays homage to the university reformer Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Ralf Dahrendorf. The German-British sociologist Lord Dahrendorf spoke in favor of a higher education policy of reconstruction. Ralf Dahrendorf, who died in 2009, was Professor of Sociology at the University of Konstanz from 1966 to 1969 and from 1984 to1987.