Educated at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and at the University of Cambridge, England, Christian J. Emden’s work falls into the field of modern German and European intellectual history with an emphasis on political thought. He is also one of the founding directors of Rice’s Program in Politics, Law & Social Thought.
Within the wider context of modern intellectual history, Emden’s research is mainly concerned with varieties of political realism, especially as they focus on the relationship between active political citizenship and the demands of the modern state, and he is also interested in postnational manifestations of political citizenship. A second line of inquiry is concerned with the emergence of normativity and the conditions of normative order. This approach often links recent discussions in philosophical naturalism to central issues in political theory and the history of political thought.
He has published books and articles on Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin’s archaeology of modernity, on Georg Simmel and the political economy of money, Max Weber’s and Carl Schmitt’s political realism, Jürgen Habermas’s conception of the modern state, modern constitutionalism, postnational citizenship, German idealism, and the nineteenth-century life sciences. Currently, he is finishing a longer book project on philosophical nihilism in modern European political thought from the eighteenth century to the present. A second book project is focused on the writings of Hannah Arendt and their relationship to visions of American Empire.