Peter Paret, Professor Emeritus, School of Historical Studies. From 1933 to 1945, a culture war was waged between National-Socialism and modernism in the arts. In this lecture, given in conjunction with a performance by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra featuring works by Mendelssohn, Schulhoff, and von Webern, Peter Paret explains that although their compositions were stylistically different, they were attacked for the same underlying reason: Hitler’s concept of the arts as an arena of ideological, racial, and political conflict over Germany’s present and future.
Jonathan Israel, Professor, School of Historical Studies. In the 1660s and onward, the Radical Enlightenment pushed for full freedom of thought, religious freedom, and personal liberty together with democracy and the principle of equality.
Nicola Di Cosmo, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies, School of Historical Studies. This lecture will provide an overview of the production and characteristics of alien history in early China, while acknowledging and attempting to gauge the cultural influence of these accounts among the alien people themselves, as "consumers" of histories they did not produce, but were used politically and in other ways.
The hundred and fifty years before the Protestant Reformation used to be seen as a period of religious decadence. More recently, they have been understood as an era of rather anxious piety, in which the faithful purchased indulgences, went on pilgrimage, and engaged in a variety of superstitious practices to ward off the ills of a violent society. Yet the prominence of blood in the cult, prayers, art, and theological disputes characteristic of the period has been ignored.
Yve-Alain Bois, Professor, School of Historical Studies. The lecture examines how, rather than always leading to the myth of the death of painting (or sculpture), as Alexandr Rodchenko had it, the idea that the artist should erase all traces of him- or herself was a dictum that helped sustain many different artistic practices during the past century, from Kasimir Malevich's Black Square of 1915, Jean Arp's collages "according to the laws of chance" of 1916-18, and Piet Mondrian's modular grids of 1918-19, to Pop Art, Minimalism, Process art, Conceptual art, and beyond.