International Summerschool 2007, Utrecht, The Netherlands. ‘Dilemmas of Modernity. Science, scholars and society, 1880-1945’. 9-20 July 2007

Utrecht University Organisation: Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and Humanities, in cooperation with Utrecht University Museum

Course code: L19

Introduction The 19th-century is often depicted as the triumph of modernity. In science, social science and even and in the humanities positivism tried to combine science, technology, sociology, liberalism, arts, humanities, and even theology in one catch-all concept of human improvement. Science and scholarship became the main carriers of this triumphalist idea of modernity. But that is not the whole picture. This uncritical admiration of modernity has bred its own opposition. Many Romanticists resented modernity. Notions of The world we have lost and of Disenchantment of the world, Max Weber’s famous phrase, sprang up. Modernity seems from its inception to have been on endless trial. Especially in the 1890s doubts and debates proliferated over a broad array of disciplines. Combined with the shock of World War I and its cultural and political aftermath in the interwar years this cultural and political turn is rightly seen as a deep crisis of the European mind. It brought to the surface the dilemmas of modernity, which still are with us. In this sense the theme of this summer course is highly relevant to our actual problems.

See for the preliminary program and details on application on:


Barbara Allart Curator Natural Sciences Collection, Utrecht University Museum