The Age of Questions

Monday, 3 October 2016, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, IWM library
In the first half of the 19th century, a new kind of question came into being. The Eastern, Jewish, woman, labour (worker), and Polish questions were born, along with many others. Over the course of the next century, these would be conglomerated into still bigger ones—the European, nationality, social, and agrarian questions—even as they fractured into countless smaller ones, like the Macedonian and Schleswig-Holstein questions, and made their way into various fields of human endeavor (there was a cotton, oyster, and even a sugar question).

The most prominent figures of the century put their pens to them: Thomas Robert Malthus, Alexis de Tocqueville, Giuseppe Mazzini, Carl von Clausewitz, Karl Marx, Karl May, Karl Kraus, Otto von Bismarck, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leopold von Ranke, Leo Tolstoy, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and Joseph Conrad, to name a few. The literature on questions is mammoth. Yet for all that, somehow we have not wondered: What did this new age of questions bring?

Holly Case is Associate Professor of History at the Brown University. Currently she is a Visiting Fellow at the IMW.

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