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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Harald Wydra is Professor of Politics and Holden Fellow in Politics at St Catharine’s College (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 EHESS in Paris and the Australian National University in Canberra. He was Visiting Professor at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, the Cultural Institute at the University of Wrocław, and LUISS University in Rome. 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, mimetic theory.

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Key publications: 



Handbook of Political Anthropology (co-edited together with Bjørn Thomassen) (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2018) (paperback edition, 2020).

Politics and the Sacred (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, paperback edition 2017).

Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (co-edited with Bjørn Thomassen and Agnes Horvath (New York: Berghahn, 2015, paperback edition 2017).

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 edition, 2009).

Communism and the Emergence of Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007 (paperback edition, 2010).

Continuities in Poland´s Permanent Transition (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2001).


Selected Book Chapters and Journal Articles (since 2012):

‘The Disintegration of Christianity: Catholicism and Protestantism’, Special Issue on Cultural Wars, Araucaria, February 2023 (forthcoming)

Machiavelli, in Andras Wilmes (ed.) René Girard and the Western Philosophical Tradition, East Lansing: Michigan University Press, 2022 (forthcoming)

‘Constituting power: Plato’s weaving of human emotions’, in Agnes Horvath/Manussos Marangudakis/Arpad Szakolczai, Modern Leaders: Between Charisma and Trickery, (London: Routledge, 2021), 75-87.

Generations of Memory- Elements of a Conceptual Framework’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 60, No. 1 (January 2018), 5-34.

‘The Political Anthropology of borders and territory’ (with Thomassen and Hastings Donnan), in Wydra/Thomassen, Handbook of Political Anthropology, 2018, 360-83.

‘Subversion and Conversion: From Revolutionary Communism to Dissidence’, in Agnes Horvath/Camil Roman/Gilbert Germain (eds) Divinization and Technology: The Political Anthropology of Subversion (London: Routledge, 2018), 110-31.

‘Liminality and Belonging: the life and the afterlives of the Berlin Wall’, in: Agnes Horvath/Marius Ion Benta/Joan Davison (eds) Walling, Boundaries and Liminality. (London: Routledge, 2018), 107-121.

‘Introduction: Liminality and the Search for Boundaries’ (together with Agnes Horvath and Bjørn Thomassen), in H. Wydra/A.Horvath/B.Thomassen (eds) Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (New York: Berghahn, 2015), 1-12.

‘Liminality and Democracy‘, in H. Wydra/A.Horvath/B.Thomassen (eds) Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (New York: Berghahn, 2015), 181-202.

‘Spells of the Sacred in a Global Age’, Journal of International Political Theory, Vol.11, No 1 (February 2015), 95-110.

‘Europäische Hintergründe des Vergessens in Ost und West’, Jahrbuch aus Politik und Geschichte, Vol. 5 (2014), 67-84.

‘Les structures mimétiques du politique’: René Girard et Claude Lefort, Cités No. 53 (2013), 67-85.

‘Victims and New Wars’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 26, No.1 (2013), 161-180.

‘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.



Professor of Politics
College Lecturer
Harald Wydra

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