Merle Curti Lecture Series

Merle Curti

The annual Merle Curti Lectures commemorate our late colleague Merle Curti, a pioneer in the practice of American intellectual and cultural history, as well as a beloved member of our department for nearly half a century until his death in 1996. The Curti Lectures constitute the centerpiece of the department’s academic year. For almost thirty years, highly distinguished historians have presented new or ongoing research to large audiences, comprised of faculty, students, and members of the larger Madison community. The series takes the form of three public lectures, presented on consecutive days, under an overarching thematic rubric.

Upcoming Lecture Series

Forty-First Annual Merle Curti Lecture Series

Lorraine Daston
Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin
Visiting Professor at University of Chicago

April 1-3, 2020
Pyle Center

Lorraine Daston has published on a wide range of topics in the history of science, including the history of probability and statistics, wonders in early modern science, the emergence of the scientific fact, scientific models, objects of scientific inquiry, the moral authority of nature, and the history of scientific objectivity. Recent books include Gegen die Natur (2018; English edition Against Nature, 2019) as well as Science in the Archives (2017) and (with Paul Erikson et al.) How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality (2014), the latter two both products of MPIWG Working Groups.

More about Daston can be found on Max Planck Institute’s website.

Past Merle Curti Lectures

  • Frederick Cooper – “Empires and Citizenship”
  • David W. Blight – “Writing the Life of Frederick Douglas: Why and Why Now?”
  • Anthony T. Grafton – “Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Early Modern Europe”
  • Professor Michael Cook – “Religion, Politics, and Geopolitics in the Pre-Modern Middle East”
  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall – “Southern Women On The Left ”
  • Barbara Weinstein – “The Color of Modernity: Racial and Regional Difference in Postcolonial Brazil”
  • Carol Gluck – “Past Obsessions: World War Two in History and Memory
  • Laura Engelstein – “Between Nationalism and Empire: Violence and the Jewish Question in World War I Russia”
  • Thomas Holt – “‘Work, Culture, Liberty’: Contesting Jim Crow at the Turn of the 20th Century”
  • Paul Boyer – “Apocalypse Then, Apocalypse Now: Bible-Prophecy Belief in American Religion, Politics, & Popular Culture”
  • Richard White – “Misunderstanding, Lies, and Deception: An American History”
  • Jonathan Spence – “Courting the End: One Man’s Vision of the Ming Dynasty’s Fall”
  • Lynn Hunt – “The Eighteenth-Century Origins of Human Rights”
  • Francis C. Oakley – “Natural Law, Law of Nature, Natural Rights: Continuity and Discontinuity in the History of Ideas”
  • John Lukacs – “The Way We Live Now: The Profession of History”
  • David A. Hollinger – “Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity”
  • Friedrich Katz – “Nazis and Anti-Nazis in Mexico”
  • Nell Irvin Painter – “Making Beauty”
  • Linda K. Kerber – “The Obligations of Citizenship”
  • Simon Schama – “Landscape and Memory”
  • William Cronon – “Many Wests: The Search for a Common American Past”
  • Bernard Lewis – “The Multiple Anniversaries of 1492”
  • Elizabeth Eisenstein – “Divine Art/Infernal Machine: Western Views of Printing from Gutenberg to McLuhan”
  • Lawrence Levine – “Patterns of American Culture during the Great Depression”
  • Paul Conkin – “Cane Ridge: America’s Pentecost”
  • Keith Thomas – “Distinguished Marks: Visibility and Social Difference in Early Modern England”
  • Peter Brown – “Philosophers and Monks: A Late Antique Option”
  • Lawrence Stone – “Broken Lives: Marital Separation and Divorce in England, 1660-1860”
  • Michael Kammen – “The Spheres of Liberty: Changing Perceptions of Liberty in American Culture”
  • Peter Gay – “Hidden Agendas: On Love and Sex in Three Nineteenth-Century Novels”
  • Bernard Bailyn – “The People of Briti1984 – Bernard Bailyn – “The People of British North America”sh North America”
  • Natalie Z. Davis – “The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France”
  • Gordon A. Craig – “The End of Prussia”
  • James Willard Hurst – “A Legal History of Interest Bargaining in the United States”
  • Benjamin I. Schwartz – “Understanding Other Cultures: Perils and Pitfalls”
  • Carlo M. Cipolla – “Plague, Society and Public Health in the Late Renaissance”
  • John Higham – “Ethnicity in America: A Comparative Approach”
  • Christopher Hill – “Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution”
  • Lawrence A. Cremin – “Traditions of American Education”