International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Summer School

September 22nd – 27th, 2014
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

The summer school will explore new approaches in the field of conceptual history. PhD students in History and related disciplines are invited to discuss with renowned scholars in the field and also have the opportunity to present their own research related to the topic.

The five-day program will include lectures, discussions of texts and case studies, presentations by the participants, as well as an excursion. All texts and discussions are in English.


International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies in cooperation with CONCEPTA (International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought)

Core Faculty

Prof. Dr. Jan Ifversen - Aarhus University, Vice Dean for Knowledge Exchange at the Faculty of Health Sciences
Prof. Dr. Helge Jordheim – University of Oslo, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages
Prof. Dr. Rochona Majumdar – University of Chicago, Departments of Cinema and Media Studies, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Prof. Dr. Margrit Pernau – Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin, Center for the History of Emotions

Concepts, language and beyond

The History of Concepts traditionally aims at investigating the relation between material reality and its interpretation through language. We believe that the use of non-verbal and multi-sensorial sources can be an important way to further the scope of conceptual history. The history of emotions and morals, with their emphasis on the body, on practices, but also on knowledge, are ideal inroads to explore new questions. The intensive reading and discussion sessions approach the topic from three interrelated perspectives: 

a.    How can we expand the domain of conceptual history beyond language, taking into account the multisensoriality of experience and the multimediality of its expression? Can there be a conceptual history which integrates the visual and the sonic?

b.    How have emotions, values and the senses been conceptualized in different languages and cultures? How can we investigate this field as a transnational and translational one?

c.    How can we bring back this original interest in materiality, which has been sidelined under the influence of the linguistic turn?

Costs, Accommodation, Certificate for Participants

•    There is no participation fee for the summer school. Participants take care of their own accommodation and travel arrangements. The organizers can help by suggesting inexpensive accommodation options.

•    A limited number of stipends for participation in the summer school are offered. Applicants who need financial assistance with their travel and accommodation expenses should indicate the reasons in their application.

•    A certificate of participation is issued at the end of the course.

Eligibility and How to Apply

•    The summer school is open to PhD students in history and related fields. Participants should be familiar with the key theoretical approaches of conceptual history before the start of the summer school (a suggested reading list will be provided on demand).

•    Applicants are requested to send in a letter of motivation, their CV and an abstract of their research interests relating to the topic of the summer school (200-300 words).

•    Students wishing to present and discuss their own research should indicate so in their application and send in a (preliminary) title for their presentation.

•    Deadline for applications: June 1st, 2014. Please send your applications to in one single PDF file to Monika Freier (Coordinator IMPRS Moral Economies) at

For more information on the IMPRS Moral Economies and the summer school program, please see and contact us if you have further questions.