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Dreamland of HumanistsWarburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School$
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Emily J. Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226061689

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226061719.001.0001

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The Enlightened Rector and the Politics of Enlightenment

The Enlightened Rector and the Politics of Enlightenment

(p.222) Nine The Enlightened Rector and the Politics of Enlightenment
Dreamland of Humanists

Emily J. Levine

University of Chicago Press

Chapter nine focuses on Cassirer’s tenure as rector at the University of Hamburg during the academic year of 1929–1930, which represented one last attempt to carry on Warburg’s vision of a humanist Hamburg. Yet when Cassirer assumed his post Warburg had died and he faced political conditions vastly different than those in 1928, including fierce nationalism, anti-Semitism, and antirepublicanism from the students. Within these institutional constraints, Cassirer tried to create a reception for a Weimar festival and ceremonial culture and presided over two university events at which he promoted—albeit to no avail—his unique brand of “cosmopolitan nationalism.” In contrast to the portrait of Cassirer as a non-political “Mandarin” intellectual, I argue that classic work, The Philosophy of Enlightenment, published in 1932, should also be read as a sublimated political critique.

Keywords:   Cassirer, rector, University of Hamburg, antirepublicanism, Weimar, festival, Mandarin, Philosophy of Enlightenment

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