Upcoming events

The Origins of the End of Ideology Debate: An Alternative History – Public lecture by Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins

Discussiant: Merijn Oudenampsen

WHEN Tuesday 12 March, 16.00-17.30

WHERE Utrecht, Drift 25, room 005


Proponents of the end of ideology thesis of the 1950s, such as Daniel Bell, Seymour M. Lipset and Raymond Aron, argued that the successes of post-War European welfare states proved that parliamentary forms of democracy made obsolete the need for workers to put their trust in revolutionary ideologies such as Marxism. As a consequence, the standard historical account of the end of ideology debate almost always sees it growing out of a critique of radical social thought. This paper argues that such a rendering obscures a much more complicated history of the end of ideology thesis. Its defenders also viewed it as an alternative to the neoliberal thought of the Mont Pelerin Sociey whose free market ideas stood as a threat to fledgling European welfare states and as such could undermine the very economical and political system that allowed for end of ideology.  The end of ideology thus was also directed at neoliberalism, and like with neoliberalism its concerns were also global in scope. Yet the liberalism it promoted was less centered on establishing global institutions for free trade, and instead focused on articulating theories of development and industrialization that would make revolutionary ideologies obsolete in the third world.


Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is a lecturer at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. He is a global historian of 20th century intellectual and political thought and is currently working on two book projects: The first is titled, “The Neoconservative Moment in France: Raymond Aron and the United States” (Columbia University Press) and looks at the larger transatlantic intellectual origins of the neoconservative movement. The second one focuses on the rise and fall of global secularism since the Cold War. Previously he has published scholarly articles in The Journal of the History of Ideas, Modern Intellectual History, Global Intellectual History and elsewhere. He is currently coediting two books: Michel Foucault, Neoliberalism and Beyond (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019) with Stephen Sawyer; and Christianity and the New Historiography of Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2020) with Sarah Shortall.

A particular kind of gentilism? Buddhism in early modern European thought – Public lecture by Joan-Pau Rubiés

WHEN Tuesday 30 April, 16.00-17.30

WHERE Amsterdam, UB, Singel 425, Potgieterzaal




Joan-Pau Rubiés (PhD Cambridge) is the coordinator of the Research Group on Ethnographies, Cultural Encounters and Religious Missions (ECERM) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which has received funding from the ERC (Marie Curie Program), AGAUR (SGR) and MINECO. His research is focused on the study of cross-cultural encounters in the early modern world, from a perspective combining the contextual analysis of ethnographic sources with the intellectual history of early modern Europe. He is currently developing various lines of research including: travel writing and ethnography, religious dialogue and cultural mediation, the intellectual impact of travel writing and the origins of the Enlightenment, diplomacy and cultural encounters and the comparative history of early modern empires and globalisation.

Macro vs. Micro: The Challenges of Global Intellectual History – Summer School organised with the Huizinga Institute for Cultural History

With key note lectures by dominic sachsenmaier (Georg-August university Göttingen) and andrew fitzmaurice (University of sidney)

WHEN 5 June, 3-5 July

WHERE Utrecht University

Open to: RMa-students and PhD researchers from the Huizinga Institute and other national research schools. Register before 15 April with the Huizinga Instute

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.huizingainstituut.nl/summer-school-2019/


Worldwide, intellectual history is moving into new, exciting directions. Tapping into new source materials, covering longer stretches of time, dealing with broader geographical spaces, making comparisons and drawing connections on a global scale, as well as combining established and new (digital) methods, both young and up-coming as well as established experts are in search for new answers – and perhaps more importantly – new questions. The aim of the Huizinga Summer school is to discuss the methods and insights of Global Intellectual History with RMa students and PhD researchers.

Since a decade or so, intellectual historians are self-consciously treading the paths of ‘big’ and ‘global’ intellectual history. Established intellectual history methods such as the ‘history of concepts’ (Koselleck) and the ‘history of political languages’ (Pocock) have from their inception pursued long-term chronological and broad geographical enquiries. Yet only recently more self-reflective endeavours have been made to explicate and articulate both the potentialities and challenges of doing intellectual history ‘on a large scale’. In response to criticisms that ‘big intellectual history’ runs the risk of neglecting the specific (cultural, linguistic, political, intellectual, social) contexts in which ideas are embedded, David Armitage has suggested ‘serial contextualism’ as a way to trace ideas through a number of epochs and places. Others have made a case for ‘global comparative history’ to enable comparisons of epoch and places that are not necessarily connected; and yet others stress the need for examining the circulation, transfer, intermeshing, and adaptation of ideas.

Although these are promising and suggestive approaches to intellectual history on a ‘macro level’, they raise the question what role there is left for intellectual history on the ‘micro level’. Is it possible to somehow bring into dialogue the ‘macro’ and the ‘micro’, and if so, how? Furthermore, by focusing on ‘big’ and ‘global’ – and stressing interconnectedness, exchange, and integration – who and what is included and excluded? Surely resistance, conflict, separation, and isolation are also part of big and global intellectual history. Such considerations, finally, raise questions about the use, value, lessons and challenges of big and global intellectual history. Why should we do it? What is its societal value?