About the Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History

The Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History is a platform for researchers from different faculties and departments at the University of Amsterdam who are working in the field of intellectual history and related disciplines. These include, among others, the history of historical, legal and political thought, conceptual history, the social and cultural history of ideas, as well as research at the intersection between intellectual history, institutions, politics, and practices.

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 Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History contributes to this development by providing a venue for presenting and discussing frontline research.

We understand global intellectual history (1) in the basic sense that we do not exclude or privilege any geographical region or historical period; (2) to imply a self-reflexive and critical orientation to the historical rootedness of conceptual categories and intellectual traditions; and we believe (3) that global intellectual history should be concerned not only with connections, exchange, comparison, integration, interdependence and transfer, but also with conflict, disintegration, separation, resistance, boundaries and locality.

Global intellectual history? A contextualist perspective – Masterclass with Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary)

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 will have 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 will be discussed, as well as the desirability and feasibility of writing ‘big’ or ‘global’ intellectual history.

Date & time: 25 May 2017, 14.00 hrs. – 17.00 hrs.
Location: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Registration: open for postgraduate students in history or a related field.
Students participating in the Masterclass will also come together on Friday 19 May, 16.00 hrs. at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to discuss Skinner’s work on historical method.

Please contact Thijs Bogers in order to register: t.j.bogers@vu.nl

This event is organised together with the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (http://acgs.uva.nl).