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The Max Kade Center for European Studies has a rich tradition of offering undergraduates major and minor options in the study of European affairs. The European Studies major (EUS) was designed for students who want to broaden their understanding of Europe and to prepare for international careers or advanced study.  In 2006, on its 25th anniversary as an academic unit, the Center for European Studies was renamed the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies and was expanded to include a central focus on the role of Germany within its European and transatlantic contexts with the aid of a major grant from the Max Kade Foundation in New York.   


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Visiting Associate Professor - Dr. Torben Lütjen

Torben Lütjen is the DAAD Visiting Associate Professor for European Studies and Political Science, through a joint appointment of the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies in addition to Vanderbilt's Department of Political Science.  Prior to his arrival at Vanderbilt, he was the acting director of the Institute for Democracy Research at the University of Göttingen in Germany.  From 2009-2015, he headed a research group at the University of Düsseldorf that explored the mechanisms behind different levels of ideological polarization in the USA and Europe, funded by a Schumpeter-Fellowship of the Volkswagen-Foundation.  His research interests include comparative politics, American politics, political parties, sociology of knowledge, and methods of political ethnography. 

Visiting Associate Professor - Dr. Alexander Schmidt

Alexander Schmidt is our new DAAD Visiting Associate Professor of European Studies at Vanderbilt University, starting in January 2021.  He has held visiting professorships and fellowships at Chicago, Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh.  His work focuses on the history of German political thought, especially the long eighteenth century, with an emphasis on the intersection between ideas of human nature, legal thought, and aesthetics.  His first peer-reviewed monograph Vaterlandsliebe und Religionskonflikt:  Politische Diskurse im Alten Reich 1555-1648 (Brill, 2007) researches humanist ideas of love of fatherland and their impact on political debates in early modern Germany.  He is interested in the engagement of early modern and modern writers with Greek and Roman moral and political thought.  His articles have appeared in The Historical Journal, History of Political Thought, Modern Intellectual History, History of European Ideas, Francia, and a number of edited volumes.  His forthcoming second monograph Might and Right: Natural Law and its Other in the History of German Political Thought studies the challenge to theories of natural law by materialist moral philosophy, skepticism, and the problem of political power.  Schmidt has also edited Friedrich Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man (Penguin Classics, 2016) and is currently completing an edition of Schiller’s essays on universal history for Princeton University Press.  Before coming to Vanderbilt he has taught intellectual history at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany, where he also received his Dr. phil. in 2005.