Was the American Enlightenment nothing more than a Cold War invention? Stanford historian Caroline Winterer turns a critical eye to one of Americas most coveted origin-stories.
In her provocative new work, Winterer 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, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason, 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.