Legacies of the Enlightenment: Humanity, Nature, and Science in a Changing Climate

Legacies of the Enlightenment responds to the question of how the Enlightenment has come to inform our current concept of humanity and the interrelation of human and non-human. The period of the Enlightenment was a time when the boundaries separating organic and inorganic materials were beginning to crumble, but it was also a time in which the categories that define what constitutes a “normal” human were solidifying.

The interrelation of human and non-human and the definitions of these two concepts that we examine in this project define how we comprehend, for example, environmental pollution, social injustice, racism, sexual orientation, and how a monolithic definition of humanity is challenged by natural catastrophes and epidemics. In order to address these issues efficiently, we have assembled a team of scholars that cuts across disciplines, time periods, and institutions. This interdisciplinary configuration opens up space for a dialogue on these topics.

Legacies of the Enlightenment believes that scholarship should be available to all people regardless of race, gender, economic status, sexuality, or level of dis/ability. We are currently taking steps to make sure that all work shared through the Legacies of the Enlightenment Project is as accessible as possible. To that end, we are generating image descriptions for all images and photos used in posts and bios, embedding these image descriptions into the HTML code, and reformatting .pdf documents in the Teaching Materials to be accessible to screen readers.

Learn about the history of the project

Discover who is involved and find out more about the project team

Get information on creating accessible .pdf files

Access information on image description practices

This project is possible thanks to the support of the Mellon Foundation's Humanities Without Walls initiative.

 A green Spartan helmet on a white background over the words Michigan State University     A series of interconnected polygons in different shades of blue over the words Humanity Without Walls a white Nittany Lion on a field of blue next to the words Penn State