Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania
Co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many optimists claimed that the world was now somehow “after socialism.” There are reasons, however – structural, political, moral, and intellectual – why the collapse of Communism did not entail the end of socialism. This talk will explain why there can be no “after socialism” until the West comes to ultimate terms with the catastrophic legacy of international communism.
Alan Charles Kors is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is author of several books on European intellectual history and American higher education. He was editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (4 volumes, Oxford University Press, 2002), and served for six years, after confirmation by the U.S. Senate, on the National Council for the Humanities. 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.” In 2008, he was awarded the Bradley Prize.