Conspiracies and Common Sense: From Founding to the Trump Era

Sunday, 5 November 2017 - 12:00pm1:00pm

International House, 1414 E 59th St., Chicago, IL

Conspiracies and Common Sense: From Founding to the Trump Era

The Baskes Lecture in History

Sophia Rosenfeld

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

Wolf Humanities Center joins the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2017 for its wide-ranging exploration of Belief. Full festival details: chicagohumanities.org/belief

Sophia Rosenfeld studies the history of civic beliefs—the convictions that ground our political lives. A specialist in European intellectual history, particularly Enlightenment thought’s legacy in modern democracy, she is best known for Common Sense, an exploration of the history of that concept as a political ideal. Currently studying how “choice” became central to our political lives, Rosenfeld will discuss the powerful modern enigma of our readiness to believe in “conspiracy theories.”

This annual lecture recognizes a generous multiyear contribution to the Chicago Humanities Festival by Julie and Roger Baskes and is presented in partnership with the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania.


Sophia Rosenfeld is the author of A Revolution in Language: the Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France and Common Sense: A Political History, which won the Society for the History of the Early American Republic book prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize. She also writes frequently on contemporary issues in historical perspective for publications including The Nation, Dissent, and the Washington Post. She is currently co-editing a cultural history of ideas from antiquity to the present and at work on The Choices We Make: The Roots of Modern Freedom.

For more information and tickets: chicagohumanities.org