Dr. Alan Charles Kors
Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Alan Charles Kors (B.A., Princeton; M.A. and Ph.D., Harvard) specializes in European intellectual history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a special teaching interest in the deep intellectual transformation of European thought, and a special research interest in the relationships between orthodox and heterodox thought in France after 1650.
Dr. Kors has published several books and many articles on early-modern French intellectual history. He is the author of D'Holbach's Coterie: An Enlightenment (1976); Atheism in France, 1650–1729: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief (1990);and with Harvey A. Silverglate The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses (1999). With Edward Peters he was the editor of Witchcraft in Europe, 400–1700: A Documentary History. Dr. Kors was also editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (4 volumes, Oxford University Press, 2002).
He served for six years, after confirmation by the U.S. Senate, on the National Council for the Humanities, and he has received fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. In 2003–2004, he was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, lecturing around the country on early-modern intellectual history and on academic freedom. He has won the Lindback Award and the Ira Abrams Memorial Award for distinguished college teaching and several national awards for the defense of academic freedom. In 2005, at the White House, he received the National Humanities Medal, for, according to the citation, "his study of European intellectual thought and his dedication to the study of the humanities.
A widely respected teacher, he is the champion of academic freedom." He has taught seminars at the École Pratique des Hautes Études of the University of Paris and at the University of Leiden, and he gave the T.B. Davie Lecture on Academic Freedom at the University of Cape Town. He has served on the Board of Governors of The Historical Society and on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. In 2008, he was awarded the Bradley Prize.
Dr. Kors' interview was held at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, on March 5, 2013.