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Seyla Benhabib to Deliver Speech in Honor of Carolin Emcke

Seyla Benhabib, Professor for Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, will deliver the speech officially honoring Carolin Emcke, the recipient of this year's Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. The award ceremony will take place during the Frankfurt Book Fair on Sunday, October 23, 2016, in the Church of St. Paul in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The ceremony will also be broadcast live on German TV.


Seyla Benhabib
© Bettina Strauss

Seyla Benhabib was born on September 9, 1950 in Istanbul, Turkey. She moved to the United States in 1970 and has lived and worked at universities there and around the world ever since. The key subjects of her research include the work of Hannah Arendt, critical political theory, feminist theory, migration and minorities.  

After completing studies in Istanbul and receiving a second B.A. in philosophy and the history of ideas from Brandeis University in Boston, Benhabib completed her doctorate in 1977 at Yale, where she focused on Hegel’s philosophy of law. From 1979 to 1981, she travelled to Germany on an Alexander von Humboldt scholarship and studied under Jürgen Habermas at the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg and at Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. After that, she took on a number of assistant professorships at leading universities in the US. In 1991, Benhabib became a professor of political science and philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. She also taught political theory at Harvard University from 1993 to 2000. In 2001, she became Eugene Meyer Professor for Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, where she continues to teach to this day.

Benhabib’s work has been translated into many different languages, including several German-language editions of her books. In addition to receiving honorary doctorates from Utrecht University, the University of Valencia and Bogazici University in Istanbul, Benhabib is also the recipient of several awards, including the Ernst Bloch Prize (2009) and the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize (2012) from the Theological Faculty of the University of Tubingen. In 2014, she was awarded the Meister Eckhart Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes in philosophy. That award honored her study of the meaning and importance of changing identities in an age of globalization and migration. Her latest book, »Another Cosmopolitanism«, will be published in German in November 2016 by Suhrkamp under the title »Kosmopolitismus ohne Illusionen. Menschenrechte in unruhigen Zeiten«.

German Bibliography

One of Benhabib’s first works, »Critique, Norm and Utopia. A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory« (Columbia University Press, 1986), was published as »Kritik, Norm und Utopie. Die normativen Grundlagen der Kritischen Theorie« (S. Fischer 1992). Her book »Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange« (Routledge, 1996), co-authored with Judith Butler, Nancy Fraser and Drucilla Cornel, was published in German as »Der Streit um Differenz. Feminismus und Postmoderne in der Gegenwart« (S. Fischer 1993). Her Horkheimer lectures were published first in German as »Kulturelle Vielfalt und demokratische Gleichheit. Politische Partizipation im Zeitalter der Globalisierung« (S. Fischer 1999); they were later published in an expanded English version as »The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era« (Princeton University Press, 2002).

Her 2003 work on Hannah Arendt, »The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt« (Rowman and Littlefield), was translated as »Hannah Arendt – Die melancholische Denkerin der Moderne« (Suhrkamp 2006). Her examination of political membership titled »The Rights of Others« (Cambridge University Press, 2004) was translated as »Die Rechte der Anderen« (Suhrkamp 2008). Her acceptance speech upon receiving the 2012 Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize was titled »Equality and Difference: Human Dignity and Popular Sovereignty in the Mirror of Political Modernity« and translated as »Gleichheit und Differenz: Die Würde des Menschen und die Souveränitätsansprüche der Völker« (Mohr Siebeck, 2013). And, finally, the volume she co-authored with Robert Post titled »Another Cosmopolitanism« (Oxford University Press, 2006) was translated as »Kosmopolitismus und Demokratie. Eine Debatte« (Campus 2008).