Updated: Aug 18, 2020
The final OxNet Languages seminar was led by Dr Josie Dyster, from the Voltaire Foundation. This session synthesised many of the ideas and concepts that have been considered over the last few weeks through considering Europe during the period of the Enlightenment. Dr Dyster encouraged participants to think about the crucial notions which emerged from this period, and how far they can be connected to Europe. The idea of 'tolerance' was particularly central to this: as a supposed cornerstone of Enlightenment thought, questions were posed as to how far this could be used to accurately explain modern western European culture and identity. Set readings by seminal writers such as Voltaire and Thomas Paine served to contextualise this consideration, and provide a final sense of the history in which notions of 'European identity' have been cultivated.