Dr. Sven Altenburger

Dr. Sven Altenburger left the Institute of Political Science in October 2023. Mr Altenburger worked as a research associate with Prof. Dr Tine Stein until his move to Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and is standing in for the Focus Political Theory professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main in the winter semester 2023/24.

I am a political theorist and historian of political thought. My primary research focus is on the history and theory of citizenship, as well as the fiscal and military institutions of the modern nation-state. Additionally, I hold a broader interest in modern German and American political thought, as well as questions of method.

For my doctoral dissertation, I examined civic duties in modern Germany and the United States. The dissertation was supervised by Tine Stein (Göttingen) and Dario Castiglione (Exeter) and received the highest distinction, summa cum laude. Prior to that, I completed an MA in History of Political Thought at Queen Mary and UCL, as well as a BA in Politics and History at Kiel University. I have also worked at the German think tank Das Progressive Zentrum and have held visiting positions at the University of Chicago, the University of Exeter, and the University of Copenhagen. My research has received support from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Short Articles (in German)

Selected Papers

  • ‘Making Taxes Public’, Congress Political Theory in Times of Uncertainty, University of Bremen, September 29, 2023.
  • ‘The Core Duties of Citizenship: Political Ideas in Early Weimar Germany’, Konferenz für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs. Forschungsarbeiten zur Geschichte, Politik und Kultur der Weimarer Republik, University of Jena, October 20, 2022.
  • ‘Social Liberal Tax Philosophies in Germany and America, c. 1880-1910’, Liberalism and/or Socialism: Tensions, Exchanges and Convergences from the 19th Century to Today, University of Lorraine, October 21, 2021.
  • ‘State- (Re-) Building and Civic Duties in Authoritarian and Democratic Contexts – Germany and America, c. 1890-1990’, MANCEPT Workshop: Authoritarian Moments, Manchester Centre for Political Theory, September 10, 2021.
  • ‘Schooling as Citizen-Making in 20th Century America and Germany’, History of Political Ideas Early Career Seminar, IHR London, November 27, 2019.
  • ‘Rethinking American and German Conscription’, Fifth Political Theory Graduate Conference, LSE, March 15, 2019.


  • Civic Duties in Modern Democracy
  • Twentieth Century American Political Thought
  • Republicanism: Historical and Contemporary Theories
  • Introduction to the History of Political Thought