International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Helsinki Summer School 2008
Introduction to Conceptual History

Date: 5-21 August, 2008
Place: University of Helsinki, Finland

Course Description
The presumption that concepts are timeless has in recent decades been replaced by an awareness of their unavoidable historicity and temporality. Based on methods proposed by scholars such as Reinhart Koselleck and Quentin Skinner that focus on the usage of language in historical context, conceptual history provides an inventive and rigorous approach to the analysis of key social and political concepts. The goal of conceptual history is to illuminate concepts and ideas that are central to the operation of political and social life through the study of their migration, reception, translation and diffusion through time and space.

In the summer of 2008 Concepta, International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought, will organise together with its partner institutions the fourth Introduction to Conceptual History summer school. An international team of distinguished scholars and visiting lecturers will provide the participants with the means to critically examine the chief concepts in the humanities and social sciences from new perspectives. The summer school has two main objectives. First, it introduces the students to the fundamental aspects of the theory and methodology of conceptual history, thereby enabling them to use these tools in their own research. Second, it explores contemporary trends in conceptual history through case studies.

The course is composed of a series of lectures, a seminar and workshops and is designed for Finnish and international Ph.D. and advanced Master’s degree students from various academic backgrounds. Interests in the humanities and/or political thought would be an asset.

In order to complete the summer school successfully and to receive ECTS credits participants will be required to attend the lectures, the seminar and workshops, and to turn in a written assignment. In order to receive 6 ECTS credits the student must actively participate in the course and write a 10 to 15 pages essay. For 10 ECTS active participation and a 20 to 25 pages essay is required. The essays need to be returned to the organisers approximately a month after the end of the summer school. Participants are encouraged to contact the organisers if they would like to present their own work-in-progress in conceptual history and related fields in the workshops.

Download the course programme
Download the seminar programme

Concepta, International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought
Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki
Danish Research School in History
POLITU, Finnish Political Science Doctoral School
Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change, University of Jyväskylä
NordWel, The Nordic Centre of Excellence: The Nordic Welfare State – Historical Foundations and Future Challenges
Helsinki Summer School

Teachers and Visiting Lecturers

Martin J. Burke, Associate Professor of History and American Studies, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Jan Ifversen, Head of Institute, Associate Professor, Institute of History and Area Studies, Aarhus University
Pim den Boer, Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Amsterdam
João Feres Júnior, Professor of Political Science, Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ)
Kari Palonen, Professor, Department of Political Science and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä
Bo Stråth, Professor in Nordic, European and Global History, Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki
Henrik Stenius, Research Director, Docent, Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki
Pia Letto-Vanamo, Director, Docent, Institute of International Economic Law, University of Helsinki
Irène Herrmann, Professor, Department of Contemporary History, Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg
José María Rosales, Associate Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Málaga
Hagen Schulz-Forberg, Assistant Professor in International History, Institute of History and Area Studies, Aarhus University
Miriikka Laakkonen, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä
Jani Marjanen, Researcher, Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki
Jukka Mattila, Project Researcher, Organisations and Management, Helsinki School of Economics
Diana Van Vugt, Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki

Course Fee
The course fee is 450 EUR (100/150 EUR registration fee + 300 EUR course fee). For more information, please check the Helsinki Summer School website.

How to Apply
Application and registration to the course are made at the Helsinki Summer School website where prospective participants will find more details concerning the application process. Please note that the participants are chosen on the basis of their applications.

Please direct any questions concerning the content of this course to the coordinator Ms. Sanna Joutsijoki at

Any questions concerning the general arrangements like accommodation etc. should be addressed to the Helsinki Summer School office at