Charles Maier is Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History at Harvard University and resident faculty member at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES). Maier was CES director from 1994-2001 and in the fall of 2006. Maier co-directs the Weatherhead Center Initiative in Global History (WIGH) with Sven Beckert and Sugata Bose. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently he is working on an “alternative history” of the era from World War I to the present entitled The New Spirit of the Laws.
Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History, Harvard University
CES Resident Faculty, Harvard University
Course – Spring 2021
Political Crisis and Radical Change in Recent History (FRSEMR 72L)
When I decided to become a historian of Europe long ago, Alexander Herzen spoke for me then in a text already 110 years old: “I do not know who could find in Europe happiness or rest, rest in the midst of an earthquake, happiness in the midst of a desperate struggle ... Why then do I stay? I stay because the struggle is here, because despite the blood and tears it is here that social problems are being decided, because it is here that suffering is painful, sharp, but articulate. The struggle is open, no one hides…”
Europe has moved on; blood and tears flow more copiously elsewhere; and struggle is as intense in the United States – but the history of Europe still provides our paradigms and models.
Any geopolitical order based on cities must depend upon the partial dismantling of the territorial state order and thus of the notion of a unitary sovereignty as it developed from the Renaissance until very recently. Is that really plausible in this day and age? – Charles Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History & CES Resident Faculty