Vossius Center for the History of Humanities and Sciences

Vossius Seminar

23May2017 16:00 - 17:30


Peter Gordon will present his lecture 'Adorno and Disenchantment: the History of a Concept from Weber to the Frankfurt School' at this Vossius Seminar. Commentary by Dr. Christian Skirke (UvA).


What was disenchantment?  The Frankfurt-School critical theorist Theodor Adorno conceived of his own work as the endpoint of a philosophical tradition:  in Negative Dialectik, his late contribution to critical theory, he calls for a "disenchantment of the concept," a provocative phrase that brings with it manifold associations in both sociology and literature.  But what would a disenchantment of the concept entail?  This talk explores Adorno's place in the history of the modern European humanities with reference to themes of disenchantment that emerged in both literature and in sociology.  Charting the history of the concept from Heinrich Heine to Max Weber, Professor Gordon explores the significance of this central category in philosophy, social theory, and the humanities.

About the speaker

Peter E. Gordon is Amabel B. James Professor of History at Harvard University. Peter Gordon specializes in modern European Intellectual History from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century.  He works chiefly on themes in Continental philosophy and social thought in Germany and France in the modern period, with an emphasis on critical theory, Western Marxism, the Frankfurt School, phenomenology, and existentialism.

Primarily a scholar of modern European social theory, he has published major work on Heidegger, the Frankfurt School, J├╝rgen Habermas, and Theodor W. Adorno.  He has also written on Max Weber, Adorno's music criticism, Weimar Intellectuals, Hannah Arendt, political theology, theories of secularization, theories of historical ontology and historical epistemology, social theory after the Holocaust, and modern Jewish thought.

Venue: BG2 room 0.02

Published by  Vossius Center