I am a PhD Candidate in History at Harvard, specializing in modern European intellectual history and twentieth-century German history. My research broadly concerns the place of religious categories in modern European political and legal thought, as well as the role of intellectuals in successive processes of democratic collapse and reconstruction in twentieth-century Germany. My dissertation, "Faith for This World: Protestantism and the Reconstruction of Constitutional Democracy in Germany, 1933-1968," asks how intellectuals affiliated with the Protestant churches could emerge as among the most vocal defenders of constitutional democracy and human rights in postwar West Germany, following a legacy of compromise and belated resistance under National Socialism and a longer theological tradition of support for anti-democratic regimes. I focus on the intellectual exchange between theologians and lay jurists around the postwar German Protestant Church, whose criticisms of natural law theories gave rise to an alternative vocabulary for describing the place of Christianity in the legal system of a secular, pluralist state, centered around the protection of individual conscience from state interference and the prioritization of situational morality over static understandings of justice. Protestant intellectuals' attempts at constructing a theological basis for law and individual rights motivated their engagement in foundational constitutional debates of the early Federal Republic of Germany, in which many opposed the Christian Democratic government's positions on issues such as gender equality, conscientious objection to military service, the rights of German expellees to their former homelands, and the legitimacy of emergency laws.
I spent the 2015-16 academic year researching my dissertation in Germany with the support of a grant from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. I am currently a Graduate Fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. Before beginning graduate studies, I was the inaugural Richard W. Sonnenfeldt Fellow at the American Jewish Committee Berlin, where I conducted research on Holocaust education in contemporary Germany. I completed undergraduate studies in History at the University of Pennsylvania.
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