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The Waltz, the Cotillon, and the Hazards of Choice

Sophia Rosenfeld, University of Pennsylvania

October 14, 2019 · 4:30 pm · 010 East Pyne

European Cultural Studies; Eberhard L. Faber 1915 Memorial Fund in the Humanities Council

Having and making choices has come to stand for freedom in the modern world.  How has this happened?  This talk will consider the 19th-century ballroom, and especially two French dances particular to it, the waltz and the cotillon, to understand how European men and women learned to navigate one area of growing choice: sexual partnerships and marriage.

Sophia Rosenfeld is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches European intellectual and cultural history with a special emphasis on the Enlightenment, the trans-Atlantic Age of Revolutions, and the legacy of the eighteenth century for modern democracy. She is the author of Revolution in Language: The Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001); Common Sense: A Political History (Harvard, 2011), which won the Mark Lynton History Prize and the Society for the History of the Early American Republic Book Prize and has been translated into French and Korean; and Democracy and Truth: A Short History (Penn Press, 2019).  Her articles and essays have appeared in leading scholarly journals, including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Modern HistoryFrench Historical Studies, and the William and Mary Quarterly, as well as The New York TimesThe Washington PostDissent, and The Nation. From 2013-17, she co-edited the journal Modern Intellectual History.

This event is free and open to the public.



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