Alan Charles Kors Named the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History

February 22, 2010

Alan Charles Kors has been named the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Kors specializes in European intellectual history of the 17th and 18th centuries, with a special teaching interest in the deep intellectual transformation of European thought and a special research interest in the relationships between orthodox and heterodox thought in France after 1650. He has published several books and many articles on early-modern French intellectual history, and was editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (4 volumes, Oxford University Press, 2002).

He served for six years, after confirmation by the U.S. Senate, on the National Council for the Humanities, and he has received fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. He has won the University Lindback Award and the School of Arts and Sciences Ira Abrams Memorial Award for distinguished teaching and several national awards for the defense of academic freedom. In 2005, at the White House, he received the National Humanities Medal, for, according to the citation, "his study of European intellectual thought and his dedication to the study of the humanities. A widely respected teacher, he is the champion of academic freedom." Kors also has served on the Board of Governors of the Historical Society and on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and in 2008, he was awarded the Bradley Prize.

The Henry Charles Lea Professorship in History was established through the estate of Nina Lea in memory of her father. Henry Charles Lea (1825-1909) was a noted Philadelphia historian, publisher, activist and civic reformer. His career as a historian spanned over half a century, during which time he published ten books and many articles on subjects including church history in the later Middle Ages; institutional, legal and ecclesiastical history; magic and witchcraft; and the history of the Italian city-states.