His­tor­ical, Philo­soph­ical and Theo­lo­gical Per­spect­ives on Polit­ical Vi­ol­ence

March 31, 2022 - April 2, 2022
University of Helsinki


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Samuel Moyn
Yale University


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The conference provides a multidisciplinary venue for critical appraisal of the central questions concerning political violence and aggression. The conference’s aim is to scrutinize and delineate the current discussion (academic and non-academic) on political violence by discussing its contemporary forms, character and modes justification, especially within context of development of the idea of Europe and modern European identity. What is meant by political violence and aggression? When and under which conditions is it justified? Who has the right to exercise it and against whom?

The answers to these questions vary and depend on various factors such as pre-established goals and ends, available resources and possibilities of action, historical and socio-economic context, the ideological, political and religious-theological background of the actors. Thus, this timely topic will be approached from diverse perspectives: political sciences, history of ideas, philosophy and theology. In addition to focusing on particular forms of political violence, the conference will pay special attention to (a) how the above questions have been addressed and answered in modern political, philosophical and theological thought, and (b) what kind of ideological currents and historical events lay at the background of such considerations. One important issue is the question of the influence of the experiences and of the political and philosophical and moral ideas arising from the aftermath of the two World Wars in the 20th Century to the shaping of modern European political identity and conception of political violence and of its limits. The post-War era is in important ways characterized, for instance, by an ongoing intellectual and political negotiation between the practice of political violence and the liberal human rights based morality; the proper understanding and scrutinizing of which requires multiple perspectives.

The Historical, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives on Political Violence conference will be organized on March 31 – April 2 2022 by the Academy of Finland Center of Excellence EuroStorie (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki) in cooperation with the Faculty of Theology (University of Helsinki) and the Religion, Conflict and Dialogue Research Center (Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki).

The keynote address will be given by professor Samuel Moyn (Yale University). Professor Moyn is a leading scholar of the intellectual history of human rights and European intellectual history.

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