Alan Charles Kors

Alan Charles Kors

Bradley Prize recipient Alan Charles Kors teaches European intellectual history at theUniversity of Pennsylvania, where he holds the George H. Walker Endowed Term Chair.  He co-founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, of which he is now chairman emeritus.  He is also a senior fellow of both the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Goldwater Institute.

Kors has published extensively on the conceptual revolutions of the 17th and 18th Centuries.  He was editor-in-chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment and served on the executive committee of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Kors has been elected four times by his colleagues to the University and School Committees on Academic Freedom and Responsibility.  He has received several awards for distinguished college teaching and served on the National Council on the Humanities from 1992 to 1998.  In 2005, he was presented a National Humanities Medal for his contributions to scholarship in the humanities and his defense of freedom of expression and conscience on campus.  In 2008, The American Conservative Union honored him with its Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award.

Since the early 1980s, Kors has been writing and lecturing widely on the absence of tolerance and intellectual diversity in academic life.  His courageous defense of a student charged with racism in the infamous 1993 “water-buffalo” case focused national attention on the limitations on free speech in higher education.  He is co-author of the landmark 1998 book The Shadow University:  The Betrayal of Liberty on American Campuses.

Kors received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

“Our founders had it right,” he said during his acceptance remarks, “even if parts of their own truth themselves took long to bear full fruit:  free individuals accomplish the great things, if government is restrained from interfering with their rights; legal equality is the great hope of mankind; freedom of conscience is a sine qua non of a decent society; and when liberty and learning at last go hand in hand, a republic can flourish.  Let us all pick up the privilege of fighting — as confidently, tolerantly, rationally, and effectively as we can — for those cherished things that make us free.”