Hall Center For The Humanities

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Joseph Wright, Teaching with an Orrery, c. 1760s
The Enlightenment and Its Discontents Colloquium

Co-sponsored by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and the Hall Center for the Humanities?with Peter Gay, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University; Director (1997-2003) of the Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library
Special Events

Fri., Sep. 5, 2003, 9:30am
Location: Malott Room, Kansas Union
Schedule of Events:
9:45 am
Welcome and Introductions
Victor Bailey, Director, Hall Center for the Humanities

10:00 - 11:30 am
What's Left of Enlightenment? A Modernist Answer
Peter Gay, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University; Director (1997-2003), Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library

11:45 am - Lunch

1:00 - 2:30 pm
Literary Critiques of the Enlightenment: from Cervantes to Dostoevsky
Larry Allums, Director, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Reason, Objectivity and the Law
Randy Gordon, Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Dallas

Critique of Enlightenment: Modern or Postmodern?
Diane Fourny, French & Italian

2:30 pm - Reception

Co-sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Lunch will be provided for participants who pre-register by August 26, 2003. Send an email (hallcenter@ku.edu) or call the Hall Center to pre-register at (785) 864-4798.

The Enlightenment is the term for the major intellectual and cultural movement of the eighteenth century, characterized by a pronounced faith in the power of human knowledge to solve the problems of existence. Enlightenment is an English translation of lumieres, meaning ?lights.? It referred both to an intellectual program and to the people who created it. During the Enlightenment, intellectuals, journalists, and government officials, meeting in coffee-houses and scientific academies, turned a critical eye on the received traditions of Europe. The doctrines and institutions of Christianity were notably subjected to scrutiny. The ?philosophes? sought to deconstruct the old structures, and to rebuild human society and knowledge on foundations drawn from the natural order of things. The standard model of the Enlightenment is of an era ruled by faith in reason, progress, and universal brotherhood. If Paris was the undoubted center of the Enlightenment, the intellectual milieu in that city was mirrored in London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, St. Petersburg, and Philadelphia. The Enlightenment left a political, social, economic, and intellectual legacy within whose boundaries we continue to carry on our modern discussions.
(Reill & Wilson [eds.], Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, 1996)

This colloquium seeks to confront a number of important questions concerning the multi-disciplinary phenomenon known as the European Enlightenment. The questions include:

1. Should we avoid the term ?The Enlightenment,? and think more in terms of ?Enlightenments??

2. Are the principles to which the Western tradition has attributed universal validity still valid?

3. Just how different is postmodernist thought from the Enlightenment?

4. Does 9/11 and global terrorism require a reassessment of the validity of the Enlightenment project and ideals?

5. What is the enduring legacy of the Enlightenment?

September 5, 2003
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Malott Room, Kansas Union


Other related events:
Humanities Lecture Series - "Modernism in Exile"
Wk Su M T W Th F Sa

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