Was the American Enlightenment nothing more than a Cold War invention? In her provocative new work, Stanford historian Caroline Winterer reassesses the concept of an American golden age of European-born reason and intellectual curiosity in the years following the Revolutionary War. She follows the threads of eighteenth century utopian philosophies and the influence of intellectual salons as they radiated outward to the New World. What she finds is a path to nationhood vastly more complex than the story of enlightenment told in classrooms around the country.
Winterer, director of the Stanford Humanities Center and Professor of History at Stanford University, will discuss her new book with the Stanford historian James J. Sheehan. Her book will appeal to anyone interested in the Enlightenment and the grand stories Americans tell about their national destiny.