Historian Alan S. Kahan, who has held the position this year, to continue in fall
Alan S. Kahan has been appointed as the fall 2022 visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization has announced.
Kahan served in this role this academic year. Kahan, a historian, political theorist and author, is professor of British civilization at the Université de Paris-Saclay. He will teach two courses for the fall semester, “The European Union” and “History of Liberalism.”
He will also initiate a speaker series for fall semester on the theme of why the Western tradition is worth studying. This series is aimed at a general audience from the campus and community.
Kahan said he’s “delighted” to be reappointed: “I've much enjoyed teaching at CU Boulder this past year and look forward to doing it again next fall.”
In the past year, he’s completed a book manuscript titled Liberalism: An Incomplete History, which will be published soon by Princeton University Press.
Kahan said he’s enjoyed speaking to groups like the Boulder Rotary Club and the Boulder Freedom Group, and he’ll also be speaking during Constitution Week next September in Grand Lake, Colorado. He added that he’s been grateful for the opportunity to run a “very successful speaker series this year on capitalism and ethics.”
Benson Center Director Daniel Jacobson said he is delighted to have Kahan continue his work in the center.
“Professor Kahan has been a great addition to the Benson Center and ambassador for it. His scholarship and teaching, as well as the events he’s organized, have added to the richness of the intellectual atmosphere at CU,” Jacobson said, adding:
“Kahan’s work on the liberal tradition is especially exciting because, like Tocqueville, he brings an outsider’s understanding to bear on his examination of American democracy.”
Kahan is the author of Aristocratic Liberalism: The Social and Political Thought of Jacob Burckhardt, John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville; Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: the Political Culture of Limited Suffrage; Alexis de Tocqueville; Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism; and Tocqueville, Democracy and Religion.
He is also the translator of Alexis de Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution and Benjamin Constant’s Commentary on Filangieri's Works.
Kahan has lived in France since 2007. Previously, he taught at Florida International University in Miami. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1987.
The Benson Center promotes study of the intellectual, artistic and political traditions that characterize Western civilization.
Professor Kahan’s scholarship and teaching, as well as the events he’s organized, have added to the richness of the intellectual atmosphere at CU.”
“Central to this mission is our commitment to fostering dialogue about fundamental values and controversial questions,” the center states, adding:
“The center provides a forum for free inquiry and open debate, and it promotes academic freedom and intellectual diversity on campus in a time of increasing political polarization and homogeneity.”
The conservative thought and policy search committee includes five voting members, which comprise four tenured CU Boulder faculty representing political science, economics, philosophy and history and one additional faculty member. The committee also includes five external, nonvoting advisory members.