Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen - "The Ideas That Made America" - Joel Issac

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

"In sparkling prose, Ratner-Rosenhagen surveys the grand sweep of American ideas from the Puritans to Postmodernism, and everything in between. She shows how a whole variety of people have tackled some of the thorniest American questions over the last three hundred years: What is the place we call America? And who are Americans? Anyone interested in the big ideas should reach for this very short-and very illuminating-book."––Caroline Winterer, Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen discusses The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History.  She will be joined in conversation by Joel Issac. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: Long before the United States was a nation, it was a set of ideas, projected onto the New World by European explorers with centuries of belief and thought in tow. From this foundation of expectation and experience, America and American thought grew in turn, enriched by the bounties of the Enlightenment, the philosophies of liberty and individuality, the tenets of religion, and the doctrines of republicanism and democracy. Crucial to this development were the thinkers who nurtured it, from Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. DuBois to Jane Addams, and Betty Friedan to Richard Rorty. The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History traces how Americans have addressed the issues and events of their time and place, whether the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the culture wars of today. Spanning a variety of disciplines, from religion, philosophy, and political thought, to cultural criticism, social theory, and the arts, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen shows how ideas have been major forces in American history, driving movements such as transcendentalism, Social Darwinism, conservatism, and postmodernism. In engaging and accessible prose, this introduction to American thought considers how notions about freedom and belonging, the market and morality -- and even truth -- have commanded generations of Americans and been the cause of fierce debate.

About the author: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches US intellectual and cultural history.

About the interlocutor: Joel Isaac is an associate professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Working Knowledge: Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (Harvard, 2012) and co-editor of States of Exception in American History (Chicago, forthcoming 2020).

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637