Peter Gordon is Amabel B. James Professor of History at Harvard University and resident faculty at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES), where he co-chairs the Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History. He is also a faculty affiliate in the department of Germanic languages and literatures as well as the department of philosophy. Gordon works chiefly at the intersection of modern European intellectual history and continental philosophy. His most recent book, Migrants in the Profane: Critical Theory and the Question of Secularization (Yale University Press, 2020), is based on the Franz Rosenzweig Lectures in Modern Jewish Thought that Gordon presented at Yale University. His forthcoming book Prekäres Glück: Adorno über Negativität und Normativität will be published in German by Suhrkamp Verlag (see more below).
Amabel B. James Professor of History, Harvard University
Resident Faculty & Seminar Co-chair, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
Faculty Affiliate, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
Faculty Affiliate, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University
In "Migrants in the Profane: Critical Theory and the Question of Secularization," Peter Gordon explores the role of religion in secular, modern politics. For reviews, see here.
“It is an extraordinary achievement to explain and illuminate the deepest and darkest thought which motivated the work of the most prominent representatives of the original Frankfurt school ... Peter E. Gordon brilliantly succeeds in disentangling the different interpretations of this explosive idea in the works of Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno.”
— Jürgen Habermas
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Theodor W. Adorno's death in 1969, Peter Gordon delivered the Adorno Vorlesungen (Adorno Lectures) at the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt in June 2019/ The theme of this three-part lecture series was "Adorno and the Sources of Normativity." The lectures were widely reviewed in the German press, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (see article here), and will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag under the title Prekäres Glück: Adorno über Negativität und Normativität.
"Adorno is no theorist of total darkness, no Mephistopheles. He had hope."
All of us need recognition. We need it from those we love but also from the state if we are to enjoy our rights as citizens, and from society at large if we are to secure esteem for our achievements. In the absence of recognition we languish, unloved and unseen, without legal protection and without the basic sense that we matter as human beings.