I am a fourth year DPhil student and member of Magdalen College. My doctoral project tests the notion that the Enlightenment was a unitary phenomenon. The research question asks how it achieved a unity of purpose beyond the ‘core’, represented in historiography by Western Europe. As such, it argues that the Enlightenment achieved unity of purpose, i.e. the betterment of society, through communication and transnational networks of knowledge across the continent, east to west and vice versa. On a primary level, it aims to achieve this by demonstrating the contributing role of Central-Eastern European intellectual culture in the Enlightenment. On a wider level, it will provide a better understanding of the nature and influences of enlightened ideas in the second half of the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment’s most mature phase. To achieve this, the project considers a peripatetic Transylvanian philosopher, József Fogarasi Pap (1744-1784), who won various academic prizes across the Netherlands and Germany, most notably the Berlin Academy prize, but whose works have been considered lost until now. Furthermore, it considers the intellectual environment of the academies and prize contests in which Fogarasi Pap was involved to demonstrate their institutional role in advancing the Enlightenment project. I am supported by an AHRC-CEELBAS award for my DPhil.
My interests broadly concern Enlightenment studies, history of metaphysics and natural religion and early modern Central European history. I have previously researched the Maria Theresa’s educational drive in Transylvania, as well as the development of enlightened historiography in the region.