Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History: Resisting Neoconservatism: Explaining the Intellectual Evolution of Stanley Hoffmann's Relationship with Raymond Aron


Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, Cambridge, MA

No one did more to promote the thought of Raymond Aron in the United States than his mentee Stanley Hoffmann. Aron, the French Cold War liberal, profoundly influenced Hoffmann's thinking on international relations theory and French political history. In many ways some of Hoffmann's most profound political insights of the 1950s and 1960s were appropriations of Aron's thought that he was the first to introduce in the United States. Yet, by the 1970s, Hoffmann began to distance himself from the conservative turn in Aron's thought. He criticized Aron's views of May 1968, his negative thinking on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, and misjudgments concerning US military decline. This paper will examine the intellectual evolution of Hoffmann and Aron's relationship from the 1952 to 1983. It will argue that Hoffmann's thinking is most faithful to Aron's liberal thought of the 1950s and early-to-mid 1960d, and, therefore must be distanced from the American neoconservative appropriation of Aron's starting in the 1990s. 

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins
Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University

Cheryl Welch
Senior Lecturer on Government and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University; Faculty Associate, CES, Harvard University

Chair & Contact: 


Julian Bourg - julian.bourg@bc.edu
Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Core, Boston College; Local Affiliate, CES, Harvard University; Co-Chair, Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History, CES, Harvard University; Co-Chair, Contemporary Europe, CES, Harvard University