Dedication in Kontler's Latest Book Highlights Significance of CEU

November 10, 2017

CEU History Professor Laszlo Kontler co-edited "Trust and Happiness in the History of European Political Thought," the latest volume in scholarly publisher Brill's prestigious series "Studies in the History of Political Thought." In the book's preface, authored by Kontler and co-editor Mark Somos (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg), the historians note the struggle CEU has undergone since the inception of "Lex CEU." 

"Since its foundation over a quarter century ago, Central European University as an American and Hungarian institution with dual accreditation has been a loyal and law-abiding citizen of Hungary, Europe, and the world, contributing to the academic reputation of the country and bringing it other benefits," they wrote. "The current assault [against CEU by the Hungarian government] is an infringement of academic freedom, and an undermining of the rule of law. It is a breach of the political trust that is vital for collective happiness, and a painful demonstration of the continuing relevance of the themes of this volume, born from the conference we held there."

The book explores the notions of happiness and trust as cements of the social fabric and political legitimacy, which have a long history in Western political thought. However, despite the great contemporary relevance of both subjects, and burgeoning literatures in the social sciences around them, historians and historians of thought have, with some exceptions, unduly neglected them.

The volume brings together 20 scholars from different generations and academic backgrounds who analyze the notions of happiness and trust from geographically diverse regions from Greece to Soviet Russia.