Most narratives of Western history have long argued that Europeans and Americans achieved unprecedented human progress by creating the key institutions and values of modernity: global trading systems, democratic national states, advanced science and technology, religious tolerance and the legal equality of citizens. These themes shaped the meaning of “modernization” after 1945, yet recent events suggest that modern people are unhappy and that modern institutions are now mired in a transitional crisis. Professors John Jeffries Martin and Lloyd Kramer will offer historical analysis of how European people and cultures interacted with the wider world, created the identities and systems of modernity and then responded to anxieties about Europe’s declining global influence in the 2oth century. Do the transitions in Europe’s global power suggest similar or different trajectories for modern America? They will draw upon European and global events to address this much-debated historical question.
This seminar is presented by the Program in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For more information and to register, visit the event website.