Rosenöl und deutscher Geist

The fortunes of German intellectual history

A film by Richard Bourke (Cambridge) and Dina Gusejnova (LSE). Conversations with historians of different generations about the history of the subdiscipline and its entanglements with German history. With German and English subtitles.

Production: Olga Lagun (2020)

This film presents the fortunes of a distinctly German phenomenon. In conversation with colleagues spanning three generations, Richard Bourke and Dina Gusejnova explore how the history of ideas declined in Germany after a period of innovation and prosperity that lasted through the long nineteenth century. Today intellectual history prevails in other parts of the globe. How did this come to pass?

In addressing this question, the film returns to numerous striking episodes, and collects an array of unexpected insights ­– including Christopher Clark on the absence of a specifically Prussian culture; Quentin Skinner and Wolf Lepenies on the lives of Albert O. Hirschman; and Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger on the controversies of the 1980s. The film reflects on the shadow cast by Hegel and Burckhardt; the melancholy fate of Prussia; the theological roots of historicism; the Nazi appropriation of cultural history; the impact of exile and emigration; the reestablishment of democracy; and the historical profession since the 1960s.

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22. October

Online publication of the film

29. October

Online discussion on the film

The film discussion will be hosted by the Critical European Studies Research Network, @CESCritEuro
CES Host: Nicholas Ostrum, Professor of History, University of New Orleans, Department of History and Philosophy


Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University


Emily Levine, Associate Professor of Education at Stanford University
Robert Pippin, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought, Philosophy, and in the College at the University of Chicago,

Q&A with

Richard Bourke, Professor of the History of Political Thought, Fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge
Dina Gusejnova, Assistant Professor, Department of International History, LSE

Further information about the event (PDF-Download)

This webinar will take the form of a moderated discussion, where panelists respond to questions from the moderator, each other, and the audience. Please join us for a lively conversation!

If you have any questions, please contact



Zeughauskino - Deutsches Historisches Museum

September 2021



and other locations (TBA)