Changing Conceptions of the Enlightenment, 1900 to Present

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Over the last century 'the Enlightenment' has become recognized as a distinct period in intellectual history. Its nature, extent, purpose, and value have been under constant discussion. Was it mainly located in France around Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists, and in Scotland around David Hume and Adam Smith, or was it a wider movement stretching from St Petersburg to Philadelphia? Did it put forward a narrowly rational conception of humanity, or was it an attempt to understand the human being as a whole?

At this event, the second in a series, speakers associated with the TORCH Enlightenment network and the Voltaire Foundation will discuss the approaches to the Enlightenment of six eminent scholars working in five different languages from the turn of the last century to the present day. Professor Paul Cheney (Chicago) will then give a public lecture relating the scope of the Enlightenment to the current concept of globalization.

Click here to register. Please note that you must register for this event by 1st September.



10.30: Arrival and welcome

11.00-1.00: First session, chaired by Ritchie Robertson (University of Oxford)

11.00: Nicholas Cronk (Oxford), ‘Gustave Lanson

11.40: John Robertson (University of Cambridge), ‘Franco Venturi

12.20: Greg Brown (Las Vegas/Voltaire Foundation), ‘Robert Darnton

1.00-1.40: Buffet lunch

1.40-4.00: Second session, chaired by Greg Brown

1.40: Andrew Kahn (University of Oxford), ‘Yuri Lotman

2.20: William Outhwaite (Newcastle/University of Oxford), ‘Jürgen Habermas

3.00: Brian Young (University of Oxford), ‘John Pocock

3.40: Closing comments by Laurence Brockliss (University of Oxford)

4.00: Tea

5.00: Public lecture chaired by Karen O’Brien (Head of Oxford Humanities Division). 

5.00: Public lecture by Paul Cheney (Chicago): ‘The Enlightenment’s Spatial Turn: Globalization, Politics, Prosperity’



Contact name: Naomi Hope
Contact email:
Audience: Open to all