Samstag, 6.7.2024, 11:00h

David A. Bell

The Uses and Abuses of Enlightenment

The Enlightenment has been on trial from the beginning. Arguably, it was first seen as a coherent, cohesive phenomenon by its enemies, who held “philosophy” responsible for corroding faith and tradition and convincing naïve readers that the world could be made entirely anew. But precisely because it was born amidst strife and persecution, from the beginning the Enlightenment has risked falling prey to its own versions of intolerance and dogmatism. In my paper, I will examine how thinkers of the eighteenth century faced this challenge, and show how the original “combats des Lumières” shaped visions of the Enlightenment that have endured, in different forms, down to the present day.

David A. Bell is a professor of history and the director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. His scholarship looks at the political culture of the Enlightenment and revolutionary France. After completing his dissertation at Princeton in 1991, Bell went on to teach at Yale University. He then served as Dean of Faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where he also held the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2010. Bell has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. His writing has been recognized by the Society for French Historical Studies, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the American Historical Association. Bell is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. He is currently writing a history of the Enlightenment.

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache