An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: April 29, 2021: Hedwig Richter

“Historicizing Democracy. Inclusion and equality in the long 19th century”

April 29, 2021. 15h00-17h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:


When we look at the history of democracy, aspects of democracy come into view that are often overlooked. These include, for example, the interests of elites in democracy or the ambivalent relationship between revolutions and democratization processes.​ An important point concerns the history of democracy. It is interesting that most European countries do not tell their history as a history of democracy until the second half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, there was already a decisive change around 1900: with mass politicization, it became more and more self-evident that political legitimacy had to be based somehow on the “masses” respectively on the “people”.

Hedwig Richter is Professor for Modern History at the Bundeswehr University Munich since 2020. Before that, she held positions at the Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, at Greifswald University and Bielefeld University.  Her research focuses on European history, history of the United States, democracy, elections, gender, migration, and the history of religion. She studied history, German literature and philosophy at Heidelberg University, Queen’s University (Belfast) and the Freie Universität of Berlin. She is a regular columnist for newspapers like the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the taz, die ZEIT and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Among her publications: Aufbruch in die Moderne Reform und Massenpolitisierung im Kaiserreich [The Emergence of Modern Reform and Mass Politicisation in the German Empire] (Suhrkamp, 2021); Frauenwahlrecht : Demokratisierung der Demokratie in Deutschland und Europa (with Kerstin Wolff) (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2019); Kultur und Praxis der Wahlen : Eine Geschichte der modernen Demokratie [The culture and practice of elections : a history of modern democracy] (ed. with Hubertus Buchstein) (Springer, 2017); Moderne Wahlen : eine Geschichte der Demokratie in Preussen und den USA im 19. Jahrhundert [Modern Elections : a History of Democracy in Prussia and the USA in the 19th century] (Hamburger Edition, 2017). In English: “Transnational Reform and Democracy: Election reforms in New-York City and Berlin around 1900“, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 2016, 15-2, p.149-175.

In 2020, she published Demokratie. Eine deutsche Affäre (C.H. Beck).

Next session: May 6, 2021: Selda Tuncer (Yüzüncü Yıl University, Van) “Women and Public Space in Turkey. A Gendered History of Modernity, Urban Experience and Everyday Participation”

Full 2020-2021 programme of the HISDEMAB seminar

Cite this blog post
Nora Lafi (2021, March 28). Seminar Session: April 29, 2021: Hedwig Richter. The Historicity of Democracy. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

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