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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Harald Wydra is a Fellow of St Catharine’s College at the University of Cambridge. After studies of history and political science at the Universities of Regensburg and Salamanca, he took a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence. Before coming to Cambridge in 2003 he taught Political Science at the University of Regensburg. He held visiting fellowships at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the Australian National University in Canberra and was a Visiting Professor at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. He is a founding editor of the academic journal International Political Anthropology


Eastern European and Russian politics, democracy (comparative and theory), political anthropology, religion and politics, politics of memory, interpretive methods in the social sciences.


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Key publications: 

Politics and the Sacred (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014)
Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (co-edited with Bjorn Thomassen and Agnes Horvath (New York: Berghahn, forthcoming 2014)
Democracy and Myth in Russia and Eastern Europe (co-edited with Alexander Wöll) (London: Routledge/Curzon/BASEES series on East European and Slavonic Studies, 2008 (paperback 2009)
Communism and the Emergence of Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. (paperback 2010)
Continuities in Poland´s Permanent Transition (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2001)
Recent Articles and Book Chapters (since 2008)
‘Les structures mimétiques du politique’: René Girard et Claude Lefort, Cités No. 53, 67-86.
‘Victims and New Wars’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 26, (1),  161-180.
‘Dynamics of Generational Memory in the New Europe’, in Eric Langenbacher, Bill Niven, and Ruth Wittlinger (eds), Dynamics of Memory in the New Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2013), 14-38.
‘Constituting Power: Plato’s Weaving of Emotions’, in Agnes Horvath and John O’Brien (eds) Statesman: The Politics of Limits and the Liminal (Cork: Tivoli Academic Publishing, 2013), 63-81
‘Dynamics of Memory in East and West: Elements of a Comparative Framework’, in Remembrance and Solidarity. Studies in 20th century European History, No. 1 (December 2012), 125-147
‘The Power of Symbols – Communism and Beyond’, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 25 (1) (2012), 49-69
‘Passions and Progress: Gabriel Tarde’s Anthropology of Imitative Innovation’, International Political Anthropology Vol. 4, No. 2 (2011), 93-111
‘The Politics of Transcendence’, Cultural Politics Vol. 7 (2) (2011), 265-87.
‘The Liminal Origins of Democracy’, International Political Anthropology, No. 2 (1) (June 2009), 91-109.
‘Democratisation as Meaning-Formation – Lessons from the Communist Experience’, International Political Anthropology, No.1 (1), 2008, 113-32.
‘The Recurrence of Violence’, Sociology Compass, Vol.2 (1), 2008, 183-94.
‘Emerging Democracies’, The Encyclopedia of Political Science, George Kurian (ed.) (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2011), 496-498.
Kontinuitäten und Wandel politischer Religion: Vom Kommunismus zum politischen Islam’ in Wolfang Palaver and Kristina Stöckl (eds) Religion als Anfrage an die Moderne (Innsbruck: University of Innsbruck Press, 2009), 245-71.
‘Revolution and Democracy – The European Experience’, in Foran, J., Lane, D., Zivkovic, A., eds, Revolution in the Making of the Modern World: Social Identities, Globalisation, and Modernity (London: Routledge, 2008), 27-44.
‘Introduction: Democracy in eastern Europe Myth and Reality’, in Wöll, A. and Wydra, H. Democracy and Myth in Russian and eastern Europe (London: Routledge, 2008), 1-24.
The Power of Second Reality – Communist Myths and Representations of Democracy’, in Alexander Woell and Harald Wydra, eds, Democracy and Myth in Eastern Europe (London: Routledge, 2008), 60-76



College Fellow
Downing College
St Catharine's College
Dr  Harald  Wydra

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