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Lecture | Global Questions Seminar

Enlightenment, Empire and Fanaticism

Thursday 2 May 2024
Global Questions Seminar 2023-2024
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden


During the enlightenment era serious attempts were made to abolish empire. At the same time what at the time were called free states, which we now call democracies, were in crisis to the point of becoming endangered species. Republics especially were in decline and the alternatives, the free state of Britain, was accused of fostering corrupt forms of empire and fanaticism. What happened at the end of enlightenment surprised everyone and the consequences have significant implications still, especially for what we understand to be global history.

About the speaker

Richard Whatmore is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Co-Director of the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History. He is the author of Republicanism and the French Revolution (Oxford, 2000), Against War and Empire (Yale, 2012), What is Intellectual History? (Polity, 2015), Terrorists, Anarchists and Republicans (Princeton, 2019), The History of Political Thought. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2021) and The End of Enlightenment (Penguin, 2023).

Global Questions Seminar

The motto of the Institute for History’s research programme is ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’. Across all areas and time periods, researchers of the Institute focus on important processes such as migration, colonialism, urbanization, and identity formation.

The ‘Global Questions Seminar’, for which we invite distinguished international colleagues to discuss the interplay between global and local issues from the past, brings all staff members of the Institute for History together.

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