Conventional wisdom suggests that there were multiple enlightenments, each of which was distinctive and national in nature. Yet did the "Scottish Enlightenment," for instance, truly develop apart from the "German Enlightenment"? At the end of April, Stanford University hosted the "Networks of European Enlightenment" conference, which brought together leading scholars studying the role of transnational networks and communication in spreading knowledge throughout the enlightenment. The works presented at this conference suggest an alternative to the conventional wisdom: there was significant communication between enlightenment thinkers, resulting in a diffusion of knowledge throughout Europe.
Over the course of the conference, participants presented work ranging from theoretical and empirical approaches to studying historical networks, to the role of particular individuals and locales in the diffusion of enlightenment thought, to the ways in which religious and epistemic communities facilitated this diffusion of knowledge. The participants in this conference included scholars from Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Helsinki, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, the University of Oxford, the University of Vienna, and Yale University.
The Networks of European Enlightenment conference was convened by Dan Edelstein, who is the William H. Bonsall Professor of French and Chair of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages and a TEC faculty affiliate. Dan earned his Ph.D. in French from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and joined the faculty at Stanford in that same year. His research interests lie at the nexus of literature, history, political theory, and digital humanities and his work typically focuses on eighteenth-century France.
The Networks of European Enlightenment conference was co-sponsored by The Europe Center, Stanford Humanities Center, the French Culture Workshop, the France-Stanford Center, and the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.
We would like to introduce you to some of The Europe Center’s faculty affiliates and the projects on which they are working. Our featured faculty member this month is Amir Eshel, who is the Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, and former Director of The Europe Center.
Amir earned his Ph.D. in German Literature from Hamburg University in 1998 and joined the faculty at Stanford that same year. In his research, Amir is interested in how literary and cultural portrayals of modernity are used as commentary on contemporary philosophical, political, and ethical questions. In his current project, The Contemporary, which is supported in part by The Europe Center, Amir and his colleagues examine the cultural and political portrayals and uses of defining moments of the twentieth century, such as 1945, 1973, 1989, and 2001. This project is both interdisciplinary and global in scope and seeks to not only understand how these pivotal moments are portrayed and used, but also why and how some moments become important cultural reference points, while others do not. Throughout this academic year, The Contemporary has hosted numerous events engaging scholars from across the United States and Europe, including speakers from Uppsala University in Sweden, Goethe University in Germany, and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, among others. For more information about The Contemporary, please visit the project's website.
We would like to introduce you to some of the graduate students that we support and the projects on which they are working. Our featured graduate student this month is Suddhaseel Sen (Musicology). Suddhaseel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Music at Stanford University. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies at Stanford, Suddhaseel arranged Indian music for Western ensembles in India and Canada, in addition to doing academic research in English literature.
Suddhaseel is a musicologist who is interested in Indian music and the orchestral, chamber, and operatic repertoires of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Supported in part by The Europe Center, Suddhaseel spent summer 2015 conducting fieldwork for his dissertation, Intimate Strangers: Cross-Cultural Exchanges between Indian and Western Musicians 1880-1940. During his fieldwork, Suddhaseel spent time in the archives of the French National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France), examining letters and writings by French composers known to have visited India and incorporated Indian themes and musical elements in their compositions. From this research, he discovered that French composers came into greater direct contact with the music of the Maghreb, on the one hand, and the music of Southeast Asia, on the other, as a result of which the musical traditions from these non-Western regions were more influential than Indian or South Asian music in France at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since completing his fieldwork in France, Suddhaseel has conducted further research in London and is currently located at Presidency University in Kolkata, India. Suddhaseel is continuing to work on his dissertation, which he hopes to defend in the 2016-2017 academic year.
For more information about The Europe Center's Graduate Student Grant program, please visit our website.
Please join us in congratulating the winners of The Europe Center Spring 2016 Graduate Student Grant Competition:
Please visit our website for more information about our Graduate Student Grant program.
Over the past month, The Europe Center has welcomed our first two visitors from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) as part of an exchange program agreement set last year. Both visitors are senior policy advisors - one focused on trade and the other on the budget. While at Stanford, they interacted with faculty and students to discuss the critical issues facing Europe and examine solutions for them. The other part of the exchange agreement, the Summer Internship Program with the ALDE Group, was implemented last June. Selected Stanford undergraduate interns work on policy related research projects while also learning about the legislative work of the European Parliament.
For more information about The Europe Center's Undergraduate Internship Program in Europe, please visit our website.