Prof. Jim Schmidt Named Bogliasco Fellow at The Liguria Center for The Arts and Humanities
Professor James Schmidt has been selected as a Bogliasco Fellow and will be in residence at the Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities this coming February. Further information on the Center can be found here: www.bfny.org.
He will use the residency to make the final revisions on a book, tentatively entitled The Question of Enlightenment, that traces the history of debates about the nature, purpose, and implications of the Enlightenment between 1784 (the date of Immanuel Kant’s famous response to the question “What is enlightenment?”) and 1984 (the date of influential reflections on Kant’s answer by Jürgen Habermas and Michel Foucault). This book offers the first comprehensive account of the wide-ranging series of controversies that, originating with an attempt to clarify the meaning of the term “enlightenment” (Aufklärung), evolved into a quarrel about the nature of the practices that constitute “true enlightenment,” and culminated in disputes over the legacy of the historical period that has come to be known as “the Enlightenment.” It traces the the differing ways in which attempts to answer the seemingly innocuous question “What is enlightenment?” have forced a remarkably diverse group of thinkers to wrestle with the conflicting claims of faith and knowledge, to question whether the progress of the arts and sciences undermines the moral foundations on which society rests, and to explore the complex relationship between reason and domination. As a result, the question “What is enlightenment?” casts light not only on the diverse ways in which one significant historical period has been interpreted, but also offers a framework for understanding the ideals, aspirations, and anxieties that have shaped the modern world.
The Center is located in the village of Bogliasco, on the Ligurinan coast.