Kosmopolitisches Freidenkertum? Ideen und Praktiken der Internationalen Freidenkerföderation von 1880 bis 1914

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This book chapter investigates the relationship between cosmopolitanism and internationalism through a case study of international freethought – a movement that challenged religious dogma and promoted the separation of state and church. From 1880, activists were organised in a veritable "freethinkers' international", the International Freethought Federation (IFF). The organisation's self-proclaimed aim was to "facilitate the propaganda of rationalist ideas by an alliance of all those who deem it necessary to liberate humanity from religious prejudices and to assure freedom of conscience". At the same time, the IFF was based on national affiliates and in this respect exemplified the organisational workings of internationalism before 1914. The chapter considers the extent to which freethought internationalism can be viewed as cosmopolitan. At the same time, it examines how a cosmopolitan perspective can advance our understanding of the IFF. It does so by considering the IFF's intersections with four potential interpretations of cosmopolitanism: (i) cosmopolitanism as a lifestyle and space of experience; (ii) cosmopolitanism as an embrace of cultural diversity; (iii) cosmopolitanism as a form of universalism; and (iv) cosmopolitan peace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBessere Welten: Kosmopolitismus in den Geschichtswissenschaften
EditorsDaniel Laqua
Place of PublicationFrankfurt
Number of pages405
ISBN (Print)9783593506130
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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