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Award ceremony: Jörn Leonhard receives Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize

On 13 March 2024, the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize to Freiburg historian Jörn Leonhard

Freiburg, Mar 12, 2024

Award ceremony: Jörn Leonhard receives Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize

Prof. Dr. Jörn Leonhard. Photo: Jürgen Gocke

Prof. Dr Jörn Leonhard, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History of Western Europe at the University of Freiburg, received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation (DFG) on 13 March 2024. The DFG is honouring Leonhard's work in the field of European and transatlantic cultural and political history of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The award is regarded as the most important research funding prize in Germany and is endowed with 2.5 million euros. Leonhard would like to use the prize money to support academics in the early stages of their careers, such as doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers and visiting academics. He also plans to further increase the international nature of his research even more than before. “What interests me at the moment is the global history of the 1920s and 30s, the global crisis of democracy and capitalism.” In a broader sense, it is about the question of what holds societies together or what causes them to erode, says Leonhard in the video interview.

Jörn Leonhard received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in 1998 after studying in Heidelberg and Oxford in Great Britain. After a research fellowship at the University of Oxford between 1998 and 2003, he completed his habilitation in Modern History at the University of Heidelberg in 2004 and initially accepted an appointment at the University of Jena in 2004 before moving to the University of Freiburg in 2006. At the University of Freiburg, Jörn Leonhard is one of the three spokespersons for the Cluster of Excellence initiative “Constitution as Practice in Times of Transformation” (ConTrans). Its aim is to establish international and interdisciplinary constitutional research in the humanities and social sciences.

Leonhard is one of a total of ten award winners who were selected from 150 proposals by the relevant selection committee. To date, a total of 14 academics from the University of Freiburg have received the prestigious prize.

For more information:

About Jörn Leonhard
Portrait on the German Research Foundation webpage
About the Excellence Strategy ConTrans
Press release announcing Leonhard as prize winner
German Research Foundation press release


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