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The Idea of Toleration and its Fate in Modernity

Event Date & Time: 25th January, 2011 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Speakers: Simon Schama, University Professor of Art History and History, Columbia University
Tags: Anne Frank, John Locke, John Milton, Voltaire
Theme: National Socialism/ Nazism
Region / Country: Europe, Netherlands
Historical Period: 17th century, 18th century, 20th century


In this panoramic lecture, Simon Schama begins by considering the appeal and significance of Anne Frank and her diary for successive generations. He relates Anne’s experiences in hiding, as well as the choices and dilemmas facing the Dutch population in the face of Nazi occupation and murderous antisemitism, to the long and chequered history of toleration in Europe. In particular, he traces the idea and practice of toleration to the writings of figures such as Milton, Locke and Voltaire as well as to the politics of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. Schama goes on to consider the challenges to toleration both in modern European history and in the present. He asks what the limits to toleration are and whether we are required to show forbearance towards those who are themselves intolerant.

Professor David Feldman, Director – 4

Our work shows how antisemitism has often been intertwined with anti-Muslim, anti-migrant, anti-black and anti-Irish bigotries. Antisemitism and other racisms should not be considered in isolation and still less in competition.

Professor David Feldman, Director

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