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Video: French and History Major Researches Diderot in Paris

Author: Todd Boruff

“It’s a new challenge. I’ve never done anything remotely like this by myself—living on my own and being in charge of this big project,” said Anne Seul ’15, a history and French major in the College of Arts and Letters.

Seul spent the summer of 2014 conducting research at the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris, the French capital’s historical library. Her research focused on perceptions of Denis Diderot, the 18th-century French philosopher best known as the chief editor of Encyclopédie and a key figure influencing the French Revolution.

“Diderot has such a great spirit, and you get that in his works,” she said. "He’s the one who’s lighthearted and always making jokes, but at the same time, he’s affecting this great social change.

Seul’s research was funded through Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies. In addition to writing a senior thesis, Seul used her research to present at a conference, Émilie Du Châtelet: Philosopher & Encyclopédist at the University of Oxford in May 2015. The Nanovic Institute’s support was instrumental in the completion of her project, she said.

“It was a really incredible experience,” Seul said.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.

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