International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Intorduction to Conceptual History

Offered in cooperation with the Dept. of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, The Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen, the Dept. of History, University of Southern Denmark, and the Graduate School of Arts, Aarhus University

In the summer of 2013, Concepta, International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought, and partner institutions will organize the eight Introduction to Conceptual History course (the course have been located at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in the previous years). An international team of distinguished scholars and visiting lecturers will help participants critically examine the chief concepts in the humanities and social sciences from new perspectives. The goal of conceptual history is to illuminate the 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. Conceptual analysis involves looking at larger semantic, discursive, ideological and rhetorical settings in which concepts are given meaning. Doing conceptual history, therefore, demands familiarity with a variety of linguistically oriented approaches to discourse and ideology, as well as to rhetoric. The course has two main objectives. First, it introduces students to the fundamental aspects of the theory and methodology of conceptual history (scholars such as Reinhart Koselleck, Quentin Skinner, John Pocock, and Michel Foucault), which they can then use as tools in their own research. Second, it explores contemporary trends in conceptual history through case studies. The course includes a series of lectures, a seminar and workshops. It is designed for Danish and international PhD and advanced Master’s degree students from various academic fields.



    Professor Martin Burke, CUNY, New York
    Senior Researcher Margrit Pernau, , Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
    Professor Helge Jordheim, University of Oslo
    Postdoc Jani Marjanen, CENS, Helsinki University
    Professor Michael Freeden, University of Nottingham
    Emeritus Senior Research Fellow Hans Erich Bödeker, The Max Planck Institute, Göttingen.
    Professor Joao Feres Junior, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Assistant Professor Niklas Olsen, SAXO, KU
    Associate Professor Jeppe Nevers, History, SDU
    Associate Professor, Dept. of Culture and Global Studies Poul Duedahl, AAU
    Vice-Dean Jan Ifversen, ARTS, AU
    Associate professor Bertel Nygaard, Dept. of Culture and Society, AU
    Associate Professor Christoffer Kølvraa, Dept. of Culture and Society, AU
    Assistant professor Christian Olaf Christensen, Dept. of Culture and Society, AU


Time: 12-23. August 2013

Place: University of Aarhus

Duration: 60 contact hours


Admission requirements:

In order to be admitted you have to document:
- your PhD relation to your home university (educational background)
- the relevance of your course application related to your PhD programme (pre-approval)
- motivation letter (max 200 words) and an overview of current research and interests (max 200 words)

Application deadline: April 15th 2013


Tuition fee (including accommodation) is 350 EUR. Once you have been accepted into the course you receive information on the payment details.


Sunday 11 August
6:00 pm: Get together

Monday 12 August

Opening remarks by Jan Ifversen
Martin J. Burke: The History of Concepts Movement Today Introduction to Conceptual History I: Between hermeneutics, linguistics and history

Tuesday 13 August

Niklas Olsen: an Introduction to the Works of Reinhart Koselleck
Martin J. Burke: The History of Concepts and Intellectual History
Jan Ifversen: Introduction to Conceptual History II: Concepts in Time

Wednesday 14 August

Martin J. Burke: The History of Concepts and the Cambridge School
Niklas Olsen: Case study: What is Liberalism? Definitions, Approaches, Narratives
Jan Ifversen: New challenges to Conceptual History

Thursday 15 August

Jan Ifversen: Good Neighbors: Historical Semantics and Discourse Analysis
Erik Champion: Conceptual History goes digital
Student presentations of work in progress I (chaired by Jeppe Nevers)

Friday 16 August

Jeppe Nevers: Conceptual History and the Study of Politics
Christoffer Kølvraa: Concepts, ideologies and affect
Bertel Nygaard: Case Study: the concept of Revolution

Monday 19 August

Jani Marjanen: Undermining Methodological Nationalism: Concepts in Transnational History
Student presentations of work in progress II (chaired by Jani Marjanen)
Christian Olaf Christensen: Case Study: the Concept of Management

Tuesday 20 August

Michael Freeden: Concept in Ideologies
Martin Burke: Histories of Concepts and Histories of Ideologies
Alumni lecture

Wednesday 21 August

Hans Erich Bödeker: Concepts and Metaphors
Poul Duedahl: Concepts in/on Global History
Student presentations of work in progress III (chaired by Poul Duedahl)

Thursday 22 August

Magrit Pernau: Taking Conceptual History beyond National and Linguistic Borders
Student presentations of work in progress IV (chaired by Jan Ifversen)
Margrit Pernau: Case Study: Concepts of Emotions

Friday 23 August

Helge Jordheim: Temporalities and Asynchronicities in Conceptual History
João Feres Júnior: The History of Asymmetrical Counter concepts: the Case of Latin America
Lecturer to be announced: Concepts in International Relations