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7 July 2022 - 7 July 2022

3:00PM - 5:00PM

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In this Zoom Webinar, hosted by IMEMS, leading intellectual historians discuss the nature and extent of intellectual change in Europe between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century.

About the webinar

Beginning at least with Paul Hazard’s seminal analysis of the crisis of the European mind, scholars have provided different if not complementary approaches to the transformation of western civilization which enabled the still unfolding process of modernity. Some of them have claim webinared that around the 1650s-1680s an intellectual and cultural crisis occurred, ‘which rapidly overthrew theology’s age-old hegemony in the world of study, slowly but surely eradicated magic and belief in the supernatural from Europe’s intellectual culture, and led a few openly to challenge everything inherited from the past.’ (Israel, 2001) Others, instead, have downplayed the extent to which the crise involved a radical rupture with the modes of thought inherited from the late Humanistic past, emphasising the persistent relevance of ancient philosophy, biblical philology, and erudition to Enlightenment debates, or stressing the centrality in eighteenth-century culture of the religious and intellectual problems unleashed by the catholic and protestant Reformations.  

This Zoom Webinar entitled Debating Intellectual Change in early modern Europe (16th – 18th centuries) is intended to place into conversation leading intellectual historians about the nature and extent of intellectual change in Europe between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century. How helpful are notions such as ‘long-Reformation’, secularization or (religious) pluralism to understand the crisis of the European mind from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century? Are the concept of Renaissance and Enlightenment(s) always indispensable to understand the changes in political, religious, intellectual, and social culture occurring simultaneously in distinct areas of early modern Europe? And how does the analysis of the transmission and reception of books and ideas contribute to the debate about the national vs cosmopolitan dimension of such changes? These and other questions will be addressed by the participants to the Webinar during both their presentations and the following round-table discussion. The Webinar will be held on July 7th, 2022 from 3 pm to 5 pm (British Summer Time) and will consist of a 2-hour session, in which all participants will have each around 10-15 minutes at their disposal to make a presentation, followed by a roundtable discussion which will be also enriched by relevant questions asked by the audience via the chat function.  

Participants and titles  

  • Jeffrey Burson: “Transposing Erudition from Late Humanism to the Early Enlightenment” 
  • Robert Ingram: “Sin and Sovereignty” 
  • Dmitri Levitin: “European intellectual change, 1500–1800: two big myths, and how to replace them” 
  • Diego Lucci: “Long Reformation or Religious Enlightenment?” 
  • Luisa Simonutti: “Islamic Influences on Intellectual Change in Seventeenth-Century Europe” 
  • Ann Thomson: “How useful is the notion of “the Enlightenment”?”

Chair/moderator: Marco Barducci (University of Pavia/IMEMS) 

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