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The Invention of Celebrity: A Conversation with Historian Antoine Lilti

Antoine Lilti, Professor of History, EHESS; visiting professor, NYU; author of The Invention of Celebrity (Polity, 2017)
Joanna Stalnaker, Columbia University
Larry Wolff, NYU
Edward Berenson, NYU
Stéphane Gerson, NYU, moderator

Though our world is infatuated with celebrities, the notion has much older roots. In The Invention of Celebrity, Antoine Lilti argues that the mechanisms of celebrity were developed in Europe during the Enlightenment, well before films, yellow journalism, and television, and then flourished during the Romantic period on both sides of the Atlantic. Published in France in 2014, this book has been praised for establishing “celebrity as an object of analysis” (Colin Jones, Queen Mary University of London) and “providing “a new perspective on the transformations of Western culture in the age of revolutions, and on the genesis of modern notions of selfhood and personal authenticity” (David Bell, Princeton).

To mark the book’s translation into English, NYU’s Institute of French Studies has organized a conversation around its arguments between Lilti and three scholars. Antoine Lilti is Professor of History at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Visiting Professor at the Institute of French Studies (fall 2017), and former editor of the Annales. Joining him in conversation: Joanna Stalnaker, Associate Professor of French at Columbia, Larry Wolff, Director of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU, and Edward Berenson, Professor of History and French Studies at NYU. Stéphane Gerson, Director of the Institute of French Studies, will moderate.