Freethinkers in Europe. National and Transnational Secularities, 1789−1920s

Freethinkers in Europe. National and Transnational Secularities, 1789−1920s
Edited by: Carolin Kosuch
De Gruyter (Series: Religion and Society, 86) | 2020

This volume brings together for the first time case studies on secularists of the 19th and early 20th centuries in national and transnational perspectives including examples from all over Europe. Its focus is on freethinkers taken as secular avant-gardes and early promoters of secularity. The authors of this book deal with multiple historical, religious, social, and cultural backgrounds and, in these contexts, analyze freethinkers’ organizations, projects, networks, and contributions to forming a secular worldview, in particular, the promotion of concrete undertakings such as civil baptism or initiatives to leave church. Next to this secularist agenda, the contributions also take into account ambivalences and difficulties freethinkers were faced with, namely, the tensions between a national self-image and the transnational direction the movement has taken; the regional base of many projects and their transregional horizon; freethinkers’ cultural programs and their immanent political mission; and the dialogue with respectively the conceptual distinction from other secularist groups. Readers interested in the history of secularity will learn that it was a heterogeneous enterprise already in its beginnings. This set the course for later European and global developments.

Table of Contents

Carolin Kosuch– Freethinkers in Modern Europe’s Secularities: Introduction 13
Daniela Haarmann– Freidenkerei, Libre-pensée, Szabadgondolkodás – Concepts of Freethinking during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 35

I Secularities: National Perspectives
Laura Fournier-Finocchiaro– Garibaldi and Mazzini: Anticlericalism, Laicism, and the Concept of a National Religion 87
Costanza D’Elia– Group Portrait with Freethinker: Jacob Moleschott, Risorgimento Culture, and the Italian Nation-Building Process 109
Barbara Wagner– Secularity in the New State: The Case of Poland 131
Anton Jansson- Friends and Foes: Two Secularisms in late Nineteenth-Century Sweden 155

II Organized Freethought in National, International, and Transnational Entanglements
Christoffer Leber– Integration through Science? Nationalism and Internationalism in the German Monist Movement (1906–1918) 181
Daniel Laqua- “The Most Advanced Nation on the Path of Liberty”: Universalism and National Difference in International Freethought 203
Johannes Gleixner– Socialist Secularism between Nation, State, and the Transnational Movement: The International of Proletarian Freethinkers in Central and Eastern Europe 235

III Freethinkers’ Networks and Projects Critically Revised
Claus Spenninger– A Movement That Never Materialized: The Perception of Scientific Materialism as a Secular Movement in Nineteenth-Century Germany 273
Katharina Neef– Politicizing a (Non)Religious Act: The Secularist Church Exit Propaganda of the Komitee Konfessionslos (1908–1914) 297
Antoine Mandret-Degeilh– A Secular Avant-Garde? About the Unknown Freethinker Roots of Today’s French Civil Baptism 331

Citer ce billet
Laura Fournier-Finocchiaro (2020, 31 août). Freethinkers in Europe. National and Transnational Secularities, 1789−1920s. Carnets de la SEFRI. Consulté le 22 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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