John Locke through the Centuries:
Assessing the Lockean Legacy, 1704-2004




In October 1932, an exhibition of first editions of the works of John Locke was mounted at the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. The exhibit marked the tercentenary of Locke’s birth in 1632, an occasion which presented the opportunity to commemorate Locke’s many intellectual achievements—in political thought, philosophy, religion, economics, education and science—and celebrate Yale’s rich holdings of early Lockeana. Nearly three quarters of a century later, those research holdings have grown considerably, and now include books from Locke’s personal library, autograph letters and books annotated by Locke, and other related materials documenting his many contributions to the history of ideas. In this same spirit of celebrating and commemorating seminal thinkers such as Locke, the Beinecke Library will open an exhibition and host a three-day international conference, “John Locke through the Centuries: Assessing the Lockean Legacy, 1704-2004”. These events will mark precisely the tercentenary of Locke’s death in October 1704.

Where the Yale exhibition of 1932 focused on Lockean “firsts” printed during the author’s lifetime, this conference and exhibition will address the history and the posthumous legacy of each of Locke's major works, in Europe, the Americas, and around the globe over the past three hundred years. The exhibition will also trace Locke’s career, his intellectual circle, and literary legacy in dozens of printed and annotated books, manuscripts, and historical artifacts.

The conference keynote address, “John Locke and the Intellectual Legacy of the Early Enlightenment,” will be delivered by Dr. Jonathan Israel of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, followed by the opening of the exhibition Lockeana at Yale: John Locke and the Early Enlightenment Republic of Letters (Curators, Earle Havens and Stephen Parks).

Invited conference speakers will include:

  • Mark Goldie, Faculty of History, Churchill College, Cambridge University
  • J. R. Milton, Department of Philosophy, King’s College, London
  • John Marshall, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University
  • Justin Champion, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Ian Harris, School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester
  • G. A. J. Rogers, Department of Philosophy, Keele University
  • Paul Schuurman, Department of Philosophy, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
  • Barbara Arneil, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia
  • Ian Shapiro, Department of Political Science, Yale University

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