The Enlightenment Video Club is an interdisciplinary online reading group for anyone interested in the ideas, culture, and history of eighteenth-century Europe. We discuss cutting-edge work across the field of Enlightenment studies, broadly construed. The reading group is friendly, casual, and frequently digressive in the best possible sense. As well as discussing the text itself, we use it as a jumping-off point for discussions ranging across all aspects of the eighteenth century – and sometimes beyond.
We invite speakers across all career stages, from doctoral candidates to professors emeriti. Past speakers have had backgrounds in history, philosophy, economics, political science, and language and literature studies. Participation is open to anyone with a scholarly interest in the Enlightenment and we hope that all who do join will take an active role in discussions. Our aim is to foster a convivial and collaborative environment in which the latest work and issues in the field can be discussed from a variety of perspectives.
The Video Club began life as an in-person reading group at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg Institute for Advanced Study in Göttingen. A small, interdisciplinary group of scholars would meet every few weeks to drink coffee and discuss work-in-progress, new publications, and even primary sources. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the reading group moved online.
The benefits of meeting face-to-face are undoubtable, but there are also advantages to online events. Most importantly, they facilitate scholarly communication across geographical and other boundaries. The Video Club offers one way for scholars to stay in touch and engage with current research regardless of where they live. The organizers are based in Oxford (Ingrid Schreiber), Helsinki (Ere Nokkala), Mainz (Morgan Golf-French), and Berlin (Martin Gierl). Regular participants join from as far away as Brazil, Singapore, and the USA and include Dorinda Outram, Anthony La Vopa, and Alexandre Mendes Cunha, among others.
The programme for the current term (Spring 2023) can be found here: http://www.voltaire.ox.ac.uk/news-item/enlightenment-video-club/
Meetings take place via BigBlueButton – a free and easy to use browser-based app. There are two series per year, each consisting of eight sessions taking place on alternate Thursdays at 16:00 (CET). About a week before each session one of the organizers circulates a recent publication or work-in-progress from a guest scholar who also joins the discussion. A typical session has 10-15 participants and lasts between an hour and a half and two hours. Please contact Morgan Golf-French at firstname.lastname@example.org for joining details or with any questions. We hope to hear from you soon!
Morgan Golf-French, Ingrid Schreiber, Martin Gierl, and Ere Nokkala.
I find very interesting to broading the study of the works from the Enlightenment authors.