Charles S. Maier , Ph.D.

Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History

Harvard University

Born in 1939 in New York
Studied History at Harvard University


The Siprit of the Laws Since the Era of World Wars

With my most recent book - Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500 - I completed a long intellectual agenda concerning the changing nature of territory as a political and economic resource.
At the Wissenschaftskolleg I plan to embark on a new inquiry that focuses on the urgent question why, in the last thirty years or so, political and other public institutions seem to have lost their binding force within so many of the world's societies. Political passions run high, but are expressed in confrontational dramas, not in commitments to legal reconstruction, political parties, or economic solidarities. The often intense sociopolitical discipline nurtured by the world economic crisis of the 1930s, the Second World War, the Cold War, and anti-colonial struggles has yielded since the 1970s to an often surly fragmentation and weakening of collective engagements. So-called populism is perhaps the most notable contemporary symptom. How did this happen? Rather than a pure narrative, I hope to use the major concept introduced by Montesquieu – the idea that state forms rest on different value priorities, whether virtue, honor, or fear - to examine the changes within the institutional structures of the West.

Recommended Reading

Maier, Charles S. Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016.
-. Recasting Bourgeois Europe: Stabilization in France, Germany, and Italy in the Decade after World War I. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975; new edition 2015.
-. The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Publications from the Fellow Library

Maier, Charles S. ( Washington, DC, 1985)
The politics of inflation and economic stagnation : theoretical approaches and international case studies