Panel Discussion

The New German Question

September 20, 2013
12:00 pm
219 Burr Hall

A panel discussion on “The New German Question” will be held on Friday, September 20, 2013, at noon, in 219 Aaron Burr Hall at Princeton University. The event, which is free and Open to the public, is presented by the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society.

What to do with a country more powerful than all others in Europe, but not powerful enough to dominate them all? For more than twenty years this “German question” seemed to have been solved by European integration. But the Euro crisis has posed a new German question: Will Germany assume a clear leadership role in Europe to save the Eurozone and push European integration forward? For some states this is a worrying prospect; for others the problem is precisely that Germany already dominates but does not assume responsibility for the continent as a whole. And many Germans feel that they are damned if they lead and damned if they don’t.

The discussion, scheduled just two days before the 2013 German federal elections, features a number of distinguished panelists who will offer fresh political, economic, historical and, not least, cultural perspectives on Germany’s role in Europe and the world. The panel will be chaired by Jan-Werner Mueller, professor of politics and acting director of the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society.


Patrick Bahners, a journalist and author, became an editor for the feuilleton of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 1989, and its head in 2001. He has been a lecturer and the universities of Bonn and Frankfurt am Main and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. His recent book, Die Panikmacher [The Scaremonger] (2012), discusses the increasingly xenophobic feelings in Germany against Islam.

Sheri Berman is a professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her main research interests are European politics and political history, democracy and democratization, globalization, and the history of the left. Her two books examine the role played by social democracy in determining political outcomes in 20th-century Europe. She is currently working on a project entitled, “Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe,” which investigates the development of different types of political regimes in Europe, from the ancient régime to the collapse of communism.

Ulrike Guérot is the representative for Germany and a senior policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR). Her areas of expertise include the EU integration process, EU institutions, Franco-German relations and EU-US relations. She served as head of office for the German branch of the ECFR from July 2007 until 2011. She has led the Germany in Europe project since 2010 and is actively involved in the Reinvention of Europe program. Guérot has published extensively on European and transatlantic issues in a variety of journals and newspapers, and is frequently invited to comment on EU issues in the media. She was awarded the prestigious Ordre du Méritefor her engagement on European integration.

Adam Tooze is the Barton M. Biggs Professor of History at Yale University. His teaching focuses on modern German history, 20th-century economic history, social theory, and the philosophy of history. He has published widely on German economic history and current affairs. His book Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, was published in 2006. His latest book, Peace without Victory: The World the Great War, will be published in spring 2014.


Jan-Werner Mueller is a professor of in the Department of Politics. His research interests include the history of modern political thought, liberalism and its critics, nationalism, and the normative dimensions of European integration. His most recent book, Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe, was published in 2011. Mueller’s other books include Constitutional Patriotism (2007), A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought (2003), and Another Country: German Intellectuals, Unification, and National Identity (2000).

For more information contact Kathleen Allen ( or 609–258–5978.