Misinformation and the Public Sphere in Napoleonic France
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Eighteenth-century Paris is at the center of Jürgen Habermas’s famous account of the rise of the bourgeois public sphere in Europe. Habermas saw in this sphere the possibility of a discourse characterized by reason, inclusion, and truth. This lecture examines some of the ways in which the arts in Napoleonic France defied Habermas’s expectations, offering misinformation, exclusion, and distraction, and speculates on some of the lessons to be learned.
Professor of Art History