Research in Progress: dr. Camille Creyghton & dr. René Koekkoek – 12 December 2017

Two new research projects were  presented:

René Koekkoek: “Repairing historical injustices: an intellectual history”

Camille Creyghton: “Transfer of ideas among émigré intellectuals in European cities, 1815-1848”



“Imagining Politics” Public Lecture by dr. Sophie Smith (Oxford) with Discussant: dr. Arthur Weststein (Utrecht University) – 7 November 2017



In her lecture, dr. Sophie Smith will chart the emergence of ideas of political philosophy and political theory in early modern Europe. In particular, she focuses on the association between political theory and the practice of imagining commonwealths and the ensuing debate around norms that should govern such practice. Furthermore, and relatedly, she looks at how writers on politics drew on and developed insights from texts on poetics, and how poetic texts positioned themselves as a contribution to political science. She uses this history as a springboard for reflecting on the relationship between theory and practice in contemporary debates in political philosophy.


Sophie Smith (Ph.D. Cambridge, Trinity College) is an Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow at University College. Her two main areas of research are early modern political ideas and the history of feminist political theory.



“The Future of Intellectual History” Roundtable with Prof.dr. Hilde de Weerdt (Leiden), Prof.dr. Ido de Haan (Utrecht), Prof.dr. Rens Bod (Amsterdam), Prof.dr. Alicia Montoya (Nijmegen), Prof.dr. Arianna Betti (Amsterdam), prof.dr. Marc de Wilde (Amsterdam) and other discussants – 10 October 2017

The Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History was inaugurated with a ‘roundtable conversation’ with specialists from different disciplinary backgrounds. Speakers delivered short statements (ca. 10 minutes) and entered into a discussion with each other and the audience about the state of the field of intellectual history/ history of concepts. These statements were agenda-setting: what are the major methodological challenges for the future? What are the most important questions? Which perspectives and methods can be distinguished? What connections can be drawn between the various strands of intellectual history? What other disciplines should intellectual history engage with?



“Global intellectual history? A contextualist perspective” Masterclass with Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary) –  25 May 2017 

In recent years intellectual history has re-established itself as a distinct and vital field of scholarship which focusses on the social and cultural contexts of thought as well as to language, rhetoric, and meaning. This is to no small extent thanks to Quentin Skinner, who has propagated the so-called ‘contextualist method’ as the gold standard of intellectual history. At the same time, however, contextualism has also been contested from various perspectives. In particular, contextualism has been criticised by scholars embracing ‘big’ or even ‘global’ intellectual history.
Postgraduate students participating in the Masterclass had the unique opportunity to discuss these issues with Quentin Skinner himself. The actual practice of contextualism and the main conceptual challenges to its value as a tool for the practice of intellectual history was discussed, as well as the desirability and feasibility of writing ‘big’ or ‘global’ intellectual history.
This event was organised together with the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (http://acgs.uva.nl).