The Radical Eighteenth-Century in Honor of Ruth Perry

Monday, May 08, 2023 at 1:00pm to 5:30pm

12 Quincy St Cambridge MA 02138 Barker Center - (110) Thompson Room

The Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University & the Literature Section at MIT’s School for Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences announce a symposium organized in honor of MIT’s Professor Ruth Perry’s retirement, centering on “The Radical Eighteenth Century.”

Harvard University is situated on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Massachusett people. As scholars of the eighteenth century, the period that saw the intensification of European colonization culminating in genocide and territorial dispossession, we recognize our responsibility to understand the legacies of this history, and to continue to make our field a site where Indigenous scholars and knowledges can thrive.

The idea of this symposium on “The Radical Eighteenth Century” is to retrieve and coax back to life the radical ideas of the eighteenth century. Can we bring to light the dimensions of the radical eighteenth century? What are the Enlightenment ideas that would improve our present-day world? What do we need to excavate and re-learn from the century that we all have been studying for years?

There will be two roundtables. The first is “Critiques of Capitalism” and the second “Thinking Through the Community.” Each scholar will speak briefly and then we have some back-and-forth among the roundtable speakers and plenty of time for the audience to make comments or to ask questions of the speakers. This is envisioned as a collaborative event in which we think together about these radical ideas.

Critiques of Capitalism:
Roundtable 1 (1:00 – 3:00PM)

Manushag Powell  (Purdue University)
Susan Carlile (California State University)
Ros Ballaster (Oxford University)
Kristina Straub (Carnegie Mellon University)
Mona Narain (Texas Christian University)
Sue Lanser (Brandeis University)

3:00 – 3:30 Coffee Break

Thinking Through the Community:
Roundtable 2 (3:30 – 5:30PM)

Nicole Aljoe (Northeastern University)
Melissa Bailes (Tulane University)
Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent)
Tita Chico (University of Maryland)
Betty Schellenberg (Simon Fraser University)
Regulus Allen (California Polytechnic State University)

Moderated by Ruth Perry (MIT). This symposium is free and open to the public. All are welcome!
For more info:

Event Type


Events By Interest

Academic, Arts/Music/Film

Events By Audience

Public, MIT Community, Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff

Events By School

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS)


history, literature, 18th Century


School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences


Contact Email

Add to my calendar

Recent Activity