No photo of Liisi Keedus

Liisi Keedus

Ms, Dr

Former affiliation

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research interests

Liisi’s research is primarily in the fields of modern intellectual history and political philosophy.

Her topics of particular interest include:

  • 20th century political thought, especially in its interdisciplinary scope
  • European interwar period intellectual history, especially as emerging in intellectual circles (such as Freies jüdisches Lehrhaus, dialectical theology, “third humanism” in classicism, the early Frankfurt School, the Prague Linguistic Circle, Criterion in Romania, early existentialism and sociology of law in France)
  • historicism and its aftermaths
  • history of American political science after World War II
  • European émigre thinkers in the U.S.
  • normative political philosophy, especially theories of liberalism and their critics
  • civil society in Central and Eastern Europe
  • ethnicity and minority policies in Central and Eastern Europe


Liisi Keedus is a historian of modern political thought, with a particular interest in the political imagination of inter-war Europe. She has worked on twentieth century German-Jewish political thinkers, Weimar social, legal and humanist thought, historicism, as well as on the making of the “new political science” in post-World War II America. She recently published her first monograph: The Crisis of German Historicism: The Early Political Thought of Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss (2015, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Liisi’s current research focuses on the interdisciplinary roots, connections and implications of inter-war political thought, as well as on the emergence of shared political concerns and ideas across different national contexts in Europe. She studies these topics by inquiring into the novel concepts of time and historicity after the Great War. This new project explores intersections between varieties of anti-progressivisms and anti-historicisms in European political thought, as well as their legacies for creating a myriad of novel understandings of the human world.

She earned her PhD at the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence. She has been a research fellow at the Institute of Politics and Government at Tartu University and a Marie Curie fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute for International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki. Liisi has a further interest in the re-emergence of civil societies in post-communist Eastern and Central Europe, particularly in its comparative aspects. She has also conducted research on ethnic minority policies in the Baltic states, working on these topics at the Open Society Institute in Budapest and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC.