In publica commoda

New in Göttingen in February 2018: Prof. Dr. Tine Stein

From February 1, 2018 onwards, Tine Stein takes over the professorship for political theory and history of political ideas. Prior to coming to Göttingen, Ms Stein was professor for political theory at the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Kiel. She has conducted research and taught at a number universities, both in Germany and abroad, and has held a position at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Her research has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), including a Heisenberg scholarship.

Tine Stein wrote a doctoral dissertation with the title “Democracy, constitution and the limits to growth” that was submitted at the University of Cologne. In her thesis, Ms Stein discusses the political-institutional arrangements that societies needs to successfully meet new environmental challenges. This issue remains at the heart of Ms Stein’s professional concerns, which she will continue to address in the context of the research area “Sustainable use of natural resources” at the University of Göttingen. In particular, she will analyse the transformative capacity of social initiatives such as urban gardening or energy cooperatives, and their relevance for widening state-centred conceptions of politics.

Subsequent to her doctoral studies, Ms Stein was Visiting Scholar at the New School for Social Research in New York, where she conducted research on the representation of environmental interests in the political and legal system of the United States. She then went on to a postdoc position at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, where she was associated with the research area “Legal foundations of politics”. Ms Stein’s habilitation thesis deals with the theoretical contributions that biblical narratives and Christianity have made to the formation and the claim to validity of constitutional democracy. It was published with Campus-Verlag under the title “Heavenly sources and earthly law”. Ms Stein will continue her research on politics and religion in the context of Göttingen’s main research focus on religious studies. In particular, she will analyse how religious communities deal with the universal claim to validitiy of human rights. This research is linked to the thesis of “a performative self-contradiction of the Catholic church”, i.e. the Church’s approval of human rights and its simultaneous failure to apply them to its own institution.

In addition, Ms Stein is currently working on an English edition of selected works of legal scholar and political thinker Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde (together with Mirjam Künkler, Fellow at SCAS, Uppsala), which is under contract with Oxford University Press. Ms Stein and Ms Künkler are also editing a number of special journal issues (Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, German Law Journal, Constellations), in which, amongst other things, Böckenförde’s theoretical relevance outside of Germany will be addressed.

With regard to teaching, Ms Stein places particular emphasis on conveying basic research skills by class readings of key texts in political theory, including reflection on methodology. Building on these readings, students will be guided to develop theoretical and conceptually versed questions pertaining to contemporary politics. Ms Stein aims for students to better understood contemporary problems via obtaining knowledge in the history of political thought and via developing research skills including political-theoretical analysis, systematic argumentation, and normative assessment. Some of the courses that Ms Stein will offer are linked to her current research, including e.g. the relation between politics and religion, politics and nature, constitutionalism, and contemporary political thought.