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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Turning Away from the Light: Why Reject the Enlightenment

4th March 2014, 17:30 to 18:30, Dowrick Suite, Trevelyan College, Lesley Chamberlain, Writer


The Enlightenment has become a hot topic for discussion in recent years. Does it represent standards of rationality and secularity that are bound up with the identity of the West, and to which the West needs to return with renewed confidence? Or is it to blame for all sorts of ills? Critics say that an excessive belief in reason underpinned the enormities of Stalin's and Hitler's ambitions, and that reason inherently does violence to 'life'. Moreover an enlightenment emphasis on universality created norms that relegated many people, peoples and cultures to a second-class position, despite the Enlightenment's proposed desire to uphold equality. 'The Enlightenment' has in short become a minefield. Lesley Chamberlain’s interest in this topic is both as an historian of ideas and as a writer. She will try to pick her way through a small corner of the territory by looking at some of the thinkers, and life-stories, involved on either side.

Directions to Trevelyan College

Map - Trevelyan College is denoted as building No: 9

This lecture is free to attend and open to all.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.