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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Isabelle Deflers

Dr. Isabelle Deflers
University of Freiburg

Les Lumières militaires, ou de nouvelles formes de transfert de savoirs au XVIIIe siècle [The “Military Enlightenment” in Europe]
When Jul 09, 2018
from 11:15 AM to 12:30 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, seminar room
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Les Lumières militaires, ou de nouvelles formes de transfert de savoirs au XVIIIe siècle - The “Military Enlightenment” in Europe

The “New Military History” has been flourishing for the past few decades. Unlike the older histories of battles and wars, it treats the military from the perspective of social history and the history of mentalities, leading to completely new questions. In the eighteenth century alone, war with German participation prevailed for some sixty years, meaning that the public and in particular the representatives of the Enlightenment were per force confronted with the machinery of war, battles, war propaganda, and the political consequences of military violence. In accordance to one of the characteristic features of the “Enlightenment”, they reacted by attempting to improve the conditions of their own day and age through “critical thinking in practical intention”. The sense of responsibility towards mankind and the commonwealth was stressed, which presupposes that the Enlightenment philosophers were convinced of their potential for organization and improvement. As members of a trained elite, the officers and military experts were also affected by the newly emerging sciences and the new understanding of humankind. Also representatives of the Enlightenment were intensely involved in this debate. That is the reason why both of these groups are at the centre of my new research project, which goal is to examine the places of encounter, the means of communication and the influences between the civil society and the members of the military.