Peter Gordon (historian)
Peter E. Gordon is the Amabel B. James Professor of History at Harvard University. Gordon is an intellectual historian who focuses on Continental Philosophy and modern German and French thought. Gordon has worked extensively on the philosopher Martin Heidegger, Continental philosophy during the interwar crisis, and most recently, secularization and social thought in the twentieth century.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Gordon received his BA from Reed College (1988) after a stint at the University of Chicago. He studied with Martin Jay at University of California, Berkeley, from which he received his PhD (1997). Gordon spent two years (1998 - 2000) at the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University before joining the faculty at Harvard in 2000. In 2006 he became a member of Harvard's permanent faculty, and in 2005 he received the Phi Beta Kappa Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Gordon's first book, Rosenzweig and Heidegger, Between Judaism and German Philosophy (California, 2003), about Heidegger and the German-Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig, won the Salo W. Baron Prize from the Academy for Jewish Research for Best First Book, the Goldstein-Goren Prize for Best Book in Jewish Philosophy, and the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas for Best Book in Intellectual History. His most recent monograph, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos (Harvard, 2010) reconstructs the famous 1929 debate between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer at Davos, Switzerland, demonstrating its significance as a point of rupture in Continental thought that implicated all the major philosophical movements of the day. Continental Divide was awarded the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society in 2010.
Gordon sits on the editorial boards of Modern Intellectual History, The Journal of the History of Ideas, and New German Critique. He is co-founder and co-chair of the Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History.
- Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos (Harvard University Press, 2010)
- Weimar Thought: A Critical History (co-editor with John McCormick, Princeton University Press, forthcoming, spring 2013)
- “What Hope Remains?” in The New Republic on Jürgen Habermas, An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secularist Age and Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, et al., The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere.
- "The Guilty" in The New Republic on Deborah Lipstadt's The Eichmann Trial (New York: Schocken (Nextbook), 2011)
- "Up from Zerio Hour" in The New Republic on Matthew Spector's Habermas: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
- Gordon's review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews on Emmanuel Faye's Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in 1933. Michael B. Smith, trans. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)
- "Helter Skelter, German Style" in The New Republic on Hans Kundnani's Utopia or Auschwitz: Germany's 1968 Generation and the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2009)
- “The Place of the Sacred in the Absence of God: Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age” Journal of the History of Ideas Volume 69, Number 4 (October, 2008), pp. 647–673.
- “The Artwork Beyond Itself: Adorno, Beethoven, and Late Style” in The Modernist Imagination: Essays in Intellectual History and Critical Theory in Honor of Martin Jay (co-editor with Warren Breckman, et al., Berghahn Books, 2008)
- “Neo-Kantianism and the Politics of Enlightenment” Philosophical Forum (Spring, 2008)
- “The Concept of the Unpolitical: German Jewish Thought and Weimar Political Theology” Social Research. Special Issue on Hannah Arendt's Centenary Volume 74, Number 3 (Fall 2007)
- The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (co-editor with Michael Morgan, Cambridge University Press, 2007)
- “Hammer without a Master: French Phenomenology and the Origins of Deconstruction (or, How Derrida read Heidegger)” in Histories of Postmodernism, Mark Bevir, et al., eds. (Routledge, 2007)
- “Science, Realism, and the Unworlding of the World” in The Blackwell Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism, Mark Wrathall and Hubert Dreyfus, Eds. (Blackwell, 2006)
- "Continental Divide: Heidegger and Cassirer at Davos, 1929—An Allegory of Intellectual History," Modern Intellectual History. Vol. I, N. 2, (August, 2004), pp. 1–30.
- Rosenzweig and Heidegger, Between Judaism and German Philosophy (University of California Press, 2003)
- Peter Gordon's Faculty Page
- Peter Gordon's bio at Harvard's Center for European Studies
- The Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History
- Gordon's brief introduction to intellectual history, "What is Intellectual History?"