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DepositCultural and Intellectual History of Modern Europe, Eighteenth Century

This course investigates the historical roots of modernity through an examination of the cultural and intellectual developments associated with the Enlightenment. This course places 18th-century thinkers in the context of the development of commercial society, the beginnings of globalization, and debates on the outbreak and consequences of the French Revolution.

MemberCourtney Weiss Smith

Courtney Weiss Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Affiliated Faculty in the Science in Society Program at Wesleyan University. Her research and teaching focus on the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of England in the long eighteenth century. Her first book, Empiricist Devotions, was the winner of the Walker Cowen Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarship in eighteenth-century studies. Currently, she is working on an intellectual history of poetic sound (including ideas about rhyme, onomatopoeia, polyptoton, echo, and meter). The project explores how poets but also philosophers and natural philosophers understood the material forms that words took.

MemberTim Lacy

I am an educator, historian, and critic. I possess a doctorate in U.S. history from Loyola University Chicago, with specialties in cultural and intellectual history, as well as the history of education. That work resulted in a book, The Dream of a Democratic Culture: Mortimer J. Adler and the Great Books Idea (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). I co-founded both the U.S. Intellectual History Blog and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. Articles by me have appeared in the Journal of the History of Ideas, American Catholic Studies, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, U.S. Catholic Historian, Public Seminar, and various encyclopedias. I am currently working on two book manuscripts—one on ‘great books cosmopolitanism’ and another on anti-intellectualism and ignorance in post-WWII America. On top of history and education, I also enjoy talking beer, Catholicism, politics, popular culture, and sports. When I’m in an analytical mode, I tend, of course, toward historical thinking and qualitative (non-analytic) philosophy.

MemberJesse Sadler

I am an early modern historian interested in the social and familial basis of politics, religion, and trade. I received a Ph.D. in European History from UCLA in 2015 and have taught courses on cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe and the Atlantic. My research investigates the familial basis of the early modern capitalism through archival research on two mercantile families from Antwerp at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century. I am currently working on a manuscript that argues for the significance of sibling relationships and inheritance in the development of early modern trade. My manuscript places concepts such as patriarchy, emotion, exile, and friendship at the heart of the efficacy of long-distance trade networks and the growth of capitalism.

MemberMatthew F. Wickman

Interdisciplinary literary and cultural studies, including in disciplines outside the humanities (e.g., the sciences, mathematics, law, etc.); Scottish literary and intellectual history, 1707-the present; British literature of the long eighteenth century; Romanticism; modernism; critical and literary theory; the Enlightenment and its intellectual legacy; history and morphology of literary forms; literary and intellectual history; crime fiction