Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Annual Johannes Sløk Lecture

About the Sløk Lecture

Johannes Sløk (1916-2001) founded the Department for the History of Ideas at Aarhus University in 1967, and served as professor at that department until 1974. His intellectual horizon and research interests were wide ranging, but much of his work is dedicated to Kierkegaard, existentialism, absurdity, ancient philosophy, the renaissance, and Christianity. In honour of Sløk’s significance for Danish research in intellectual history, The Annual Johannes Sløk Lecture was inaugurated in 2006.

The honour of giving the Annual Johannes Sløk Lecture is given to an internationally recognized and distinguished researcher, who has made outstanding contributions in history of ideas within an area that, in a broad sense, was or would have been of interest to Johannes Sløk.

Past Sløk Lecturers

  • 2006: Manfred Frank, Universität Tübingen
  • 2007: Quintin Skinner, Cambridge University
  • 2010: Jonathan Israel, Princeton University
  • 2011: Martin Jay, UC Berkeley
  • 2012: Trond Berg Eriksen, Oslo University
  • 2014: Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
  • 2015: Anthony Pagden, UCLA
  • 2018: Hans-Jørgen Schanz, Aarhus University

Sløk Lecture 2022

THE BIG MYTH: HOW AMERICAN BUSINESS TAUGHT US TO LOATHE GOVERNMENT AND LOVE THE FREE MARKET
By Naomi Oreskes, Professor, Harvard University

  • Time: 27 June 2022 at14.00-15.30.
  • Venue: 1482-105 (Nobelauditoriet)

Abstract: 

Throughout the 19th century, the U.S. government played a major role in economic life, promoting economic development through infrastructure and education and regulating many markets. In the late century, Americans realized that an even larger hand was needed to address the failures of laissez-faire capitalism, from slavery and child labor to anti-union violence and monopolistic practices. But then something changed. Americans started to reject “big government” and to believe in the “magic of the marketplace.” Why? How did so many Americans come to have so much faith in markets and so little faith in government? The short answer: a long-durée propaganda campaign, organized by American business leaders.

Download programme here.