Marie Sophie Graf

Marie Sophie Graf is currently a PhD candidate at the Political Science Departement at Ludwg-Maximilians-Universität Munich and a PhD fellow of the German National Academic Foundation. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and an Magister Artium in Modern and Contemporary History, History of Eastern and Southern-Eastern Europe and Modern German Literature from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. She also holds a Washington Semester Certificate from the American University in Washington, D.C.. She has been granted several scholarships by the German National Academic Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, the Zempelin Foundation and was a Visiting Scholar  at the History Departement of Columbia University, New York.

 

Sigmund Neumann – Realist with a view

The doctoral thesis focuses on the German-Jewish political scientist Sigmund Neumann (1904-1962). By a biographical analysis it is intended to examine the development of democratic theory and the establishment of ‘Political Sciene’ as an academic discipline in post World War II Germany. Neumann is regarded as one of the founders of modern political science in the Federal Republic of Germany, yet is still underrated in his contributions to democratic theory as such and in his role of setting standards as to the way ‘Political Science’ has been understood, taught and explored in Germany since the 1950ies. Thus, it is to be asked: Who exactly was Sigmund Neumann? What were his theoretical ideas and to what extend did they shape or influence different fields of research in political science, respectively in democracy research? How is his attribution to political theory to be evaluated? What methodology did he apply? How did he manage as a German-Jewish scholar in American exile and who was he linked to? In what way and how much did Neumann contribute to the (re-)establishment of ‘Political Science’ as an academic discipline in post World War II Germany? Was Neumann as a German Jew in American exile ‘ideologically’ and ‘politically’ predisposed and did he actively support a particular form of the subject and its (re-)formation? How is his standing in postwar Germany to be explained? And why has Neumann – despite his alleged theoretical and practical input – fallen in oblivion in today’s commemorative culture and even in the self- reflection of political science? The study examines further the social environment in which Neumann operated and takes into account the events of the days. Who was Neumann friends with and who did he correspond with? Whose ideas influenced him and who did he disagree with? How did the experiences of the Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime and the forced emigration affect his thinking? All these questions are asked with regards to the greater context in which Neumann falls as a person and a scientist: the intellectual emigration and the transatlantic transfer of ideas, the development of democratic theory and the (re-)establishment of ‘Political Science’ in post World War II Germany.

 

Publication:

Graf, Marie Sophie, Die Inszenierung der Neuen Armut im sozialpolitischen Repertoire von SPD und Grünen 1983-1987 [Moderne Geschichte und Politik Bd. 27], Frankfurt/M. u.a. 2015.