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The History of Human Freedom and Dignity in Western Civilization

  • From antiquity to modernity

About the Project

The ITN “The History of Human Freedom and Dignity in Western Civilization” is a research collaboration between 6 universities and 9 non-academic partner organizations across Europe. The project will trace the historical roots and transformations of the modern conception of humans as dignified and free beings, especially as met with in theological and philosophical traditions.

These values are dominant in modern western societies, but are and have always been under attack by different societal developments and groups with a much more negative view on humans. By studying the reception and battles that these values have already gone through, we can use these as a hermeneutical key to understand later, modern debates of human freedom, free will and dignity.

Thereby, the project will raise awareness of how ancient philosophical and religious tenets still shape political, moral, and anthropological categories and modes of thinking as well as principles of human conduct.

Follow the link to read more about the project and the individual PhD positions: 

Read the full project description

Project Partners and Participants

The ITN is a collaboration between Aarhus University, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Univerzita Karlova v Praze, and University of Kent. 14 ESRs will conduct their research at these universities and will, in addition, be seconded at one of the other universities in order to be exposed to different research environments and to receive supervision by a second supervisor.

In addition to these six universities, the ITN cooperates closely with nine non-academic partner organizations that have been selected because of their relevant competences and qualifications for the ITN. These are Mohr Siebeck Verlag GmbH & Co, Franckesche Stiftungen zu Halle, Verlag Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Lutheran Church of Middle Germany, Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, Aschendorff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Dar al-Kalima College of Arts and Culture, The Diocese of Pécs, Christian Heritage Institute, and Etikos Aps. The role of the non-academic sector in the training program is to provide individual internships and thus to offer the ESRs a wide variety of training possibilities. These training activities will equip the ESRs with a variety of transferable skills which will enable them to transfer their academic capacities to the non-academic sector and thus to undertake central functions in modern non-academic companies and organizations.

Read more about the partners and participants


Program: H2020 ITN-HHFDWC-676258
Participants: 14 PhDs, 6 universities and 9 non-academic partner organizations
Period: 48 months
Grant: EUR 3,651,149
Starting date: January 1, 2016
Countries: DK, DE, IT, CZ, GB, IL, HU
Coordinator: Aarhus University, Denmark

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


Network Coordinator

Anders-Christian Jacobsen

Professor with Special Responsibilities


Birgitte Bøgh (administrative coordinator), or +45 50 56 54 66

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Revised 2016.05.20