Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French diplomat, political scientist and historian. He is best known for his works Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution.
The first part of the lecture is a factual appraisal of Tocqueville’s life and work. The second part zooms in on the social and colonial questions which were high on his agenda though understated in the analysis of his scholarship, which is mainly concerned with his first and last book publications.
The two questions on which prof. Breman will focus in his reflections on Tocqueville's academic work are interrelated, should be contextualized in their entanglement and as related to his politically driven life. While claiming the universality of the human race, Tocqueville’s brand of liberalism is in denial of freedom and equality to the majority of mankind held unfit to join the democracy postulated.
Jan Breman's interest in Tocqueville has to do with his current writings. Jan Breman has co-authored a volume, entitled The social question in the twenty-first century, which was just published (Augustus 2019) in an open access edition by the University of California Press. And in addition, he is now writing on colonial historiography which discusses the Dutch case but for which Tocqueville's colonial racism is of major relevance.
Johannes Breman is a Dutch sociologist and an emeritus professor of the University of Amsterdam. He was one of the founding fathers of the Amsterdam Insitute for Social Science Research.
AISSR members present the work of a great thinker in the field of social sciences immersing us in key features of the social science canon and ‘Great Thinkers’ and exploring contributions across disciplinary lines. Staff members, PhD students and others interested can attend the public lecture. For AISSR PhD students the lecture can be followed by a PhD seminar with a second discussion of key readings of the respective thinker. How can you use these readings in your own research project?