This blog is about the Enlightenment, considered both as a historical period and as an ongoing project.  It is concerned with eighteenth-century questions and their implications for the present. New readers of the blog might find it easier to begin by looking at the topics page, which organizes a few of the earlier posts by subject matter.  Alternatively, the tag cloud to the right also offers a way of navigating the site.

Bogliasco Lion

Not Exactly Leontine

I divide my time between the departments of History, Philosophy, and Political Science at Boston University and my research has focused on how the eighteenth century thought about the concept of “enlightenment” and what has happened to it since, particularly at the hands of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, and the Oxford English Dictionary.  Much of the writing that I’ve done on these questions is now available on OpenBU (along with a book that, in another lifetime, I wrote on Maurice-Merleau Ponty, of all people).  This material can be access either by clicking on the “Publications” tab in the header of this page or by visiting my Boston University homepage.

My other interests include the adventures of Horkheimer, Adorno, and their friends in Los Angeles during the 1940s, the invention of the misguided notion that there is much to be gained by invoking something called the “counter-Enlightenment,” and the way in which musical compositions have been used in the process of memorialization.

It should go without saying (but, nevertheless, it has become the custom to point out) that the views expressed here are my own and —  for those who are under the impression that it makes sense to attribute views to corporate entities —  may not necessarily be shared by Boston University.

James Schmidt
Professor of History, Philosophy, and Political Science
Boston University