Conference on Aurel Kolnai’s The War against the West

Wolfgang Bialas's picture
Call for Papers
June 30, 2016 to July 2, 2016
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Intellectual History, Political Science

Call for papers

Conference on Aurel Kolnai’s The War against the West

Date: 1.7.-2.7.2016 (day of arrival June 30th)

Organiser: Hannah Arendt-Institute Dresden


On the occasion of the publication of the German edition of Aurel Kolnai’s Der Krieg gegen den Westen (published in English in 1938 as The War against the West) the Hannah Arendt-Institute Dresden is organising a conference addressing various facets of the book, its reception and its place within Kolnai's work. Furthermore, Kolnai's book, one of the earliest analyses of Nazi ideology in English, will be compared with other contemporary examinations of Nazism by authors, such as Georg Lukacs, Helmuth Plessner and scholars of the Frankfurt School.

We are calling for interested academics to submit a ½ pages outline by 1 November 2015 (150-200 words) that explicitly refers to Kolnai's book. Please include a brief bio.

Upon request, we will send information on the content of Kolnai’s book and an abbreviated version of its introduction. English speaking conference participants can use the reprint of Kolnai's book that just got published (Facsimile Publisher, 2015), German participants may receive a copy of Kolnai's book.

The Hannah Arendt-Institute will cover travel expenses and accommodation. The conference languages are German and English.

We are asking for proposals on the following subjects but are open to other suggestions (deadline November 15):

1.Topics addressed in Kolnai's The War against the West, such as:

  • Kolnai's comparison of Nazism and Communism in the context of the contemporary comparison of dictatorships
  • Kolnai's discussion of Nazi racial theory
  • Nazism as a political religion ("Pagan Christianity")
  • Nazism as a rupture or continuation of history ("Nazi Germanness")
  • The Nazi ethos of community ("Volksgemeinschaft")


2. Comparing Kolnai with contemporary attempts of coming to terms with Nazism

- Case studies: Comparing Kolnai with Georg Lukacs, Helmuth Plessner, Christoph Steding, Ernst Bloch, Wilhelm Reich, scholars of the Frankfurt school etc.

- The role of anti-Semitism in contemporary critiques of Nazism

- Comparing Kolnai's book with other contemporary English-language examinations of Nazism


3. Kolnai's work and the reception of The War against the West

- The contemporary reception of Kolnai's The War against the West

- Kolnai's The War against the West within the framework of his oeuvre

- Kolnai as a political philosopher

- Kolnai's The War against the West from a present-day scholarly perspective on Nazism


Please send outlines to:

Dr. Wolfgang Bialas

Dr. Clemens Vollnhals




Contact Info: 

Dr. Wolfgang Bialas, Hannah-Arendt- Institut Dresden

Contact Email: