Programs & Events

Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightenment, June 16–22, 2019


Frank Cogliano, Professor of American History, University of Edinburgh


This seminar examines Thomas Jefferson’s understanding of the world through his engagement with the Enlightenment—a transatlantic intellectual and social movement committed to improving the world through reason. We will examine Jefferson’s life and times by considering his efforts to apply the principles of reason to the major challenges he confronted as a revolutionary, diplomat, politician, and elder statesman. Building on Edinburgh’s tradition of Enlightened discourse, we will explore Jefferson’s views of republicanism, slavery and race, gender, education, religion, and international relations through the rich canon of his writings.

Travel & Accommodations

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements; the Institute will provide a travel stipend of $500 for participants traveling internationally. Read the policy here.

Edinburgh International Airport is located approximately 20 minutes from the university. Airport shuttles are available. Airlink provides shuttle service from the airport to campus.

Train service is also available from London’s Kings Cross Station.

For more travel information, click here.

Workshop participants will stay in an on-campus dormitory in single bedrooms and with bathrooms, but will share common space with other participants. Internet service will be provided. Participants should plan to bring laptops as computer access on campus will be limited.

The university provides pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, and shower shoes.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


Please be sure to review the Institute’s policies on independent school teacher participation and travel reimbursement before applying.

Course Reviews from Past Participants

“What a fabulous experience! Professor Cogliano was a wonderful teacher. He lives and breathes Thomas Jefferson. He gave us a rich and deep understanding of Jefferson and the Scottish Enlightenment.”

“The seminar was an excellent experience. Frank Cogliano was amazing! He is incredibly knowledgeable, engaging, and funny. I came away with a totally new perspective on Jefferson and major characteristics of the Scottish Enlightenment.”


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

Seminar Year: 2018-2019