Béla Kapossy will be coming to speak at the Seminar in Cultural History on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. His talk is entitled “Rousseau’s and Other Relics: Material Memories in Later Eighteenth-Century Switzerland.”

Béla Kapossy is Professor of Modern History at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He received his PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. Kapossy’s research interests include modern European and Swiss intellectual history, political theory, political economy, and historiography. He is currently working on research projects focusing on Gibbon in Lausanne, commerce and perpetual peace debates in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, and eighteenth-century historiography. Kapossy’s publications include Sismondi – Libéralisme critique et républiques modernes (Geneva: Slatkine, 2013); Genève, lieu d’Angleterre: 1725-1814, co-editors, Valérie Cossy and Richard Whatmore (Geneva: Slatkine, 2009); Richesse et pauvreté dans les républiques suisses au XVIIIe siècle: Actes du colloque de Lausanne des 23-25 novembre 2006, co-editors, André Holenstein, Danièle Tosato-Rigo, and Simone Zurbuchen (Geneva: Slatkine, 2008); and Iselin contra Rousseau: Sociable Patriotism and the History of Mankind (Basel: Schwabe, 2006).

While some relics follow clearly recognizable iconographic patterns, others do not. To the uninitiated, they are mere objects void of any aesthetic or symbolic value. So what makes an object a relic? In his talk, Kapossy will suggest some answers to this question by looking at some recently discovered objects that belonged to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Edward Gibbon, both of whom played a crucial role within the cultural life of eighteenth-century French-speaking Switzerland.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.