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Kant’s Subaltern Period: The Birth of Cosmopolitanism from the Spirit of Occupation

Chapter

Abstract

With a focus on Kant’s early writings, Etkind situates Kant’s political thought on cosmopolitanism within his career as a lecturer and author in other subjects, including his Universal History and Ethnography of the North. Exploring Kant’s life, ideas and publications during the Seven Years’ War and the Russian occupation of Königsberg, Etkind revises Kant’s position vis-à-vis the European imperial hegemony. In the period when Königsberg changed hands between Prussia and Russia, he argues, Kant was a colonial subject. This unique subaltern experience helped him to formulate his ethical and political philosophy, including his ideas of cosmopolitanism. A fresh reading of a contemporaneous source, the memoirs of the Russian officer Andrei Bolotov who was stationed in Königsberg, helps to flesh out multiple facets in the mutual perception between Russian invaders and Prussian natives in the early 1760s.

Keywords

Immanuel Kant Andrei Bolotov Cultural history of Königsberg Internal colonization Subaltern Hegemonic Postcolonial history 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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