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The Futures of Atlantic Intellectual History: Themes, Methods, Disciplines

19th & 20th July 2013

Location: CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

The purpose of this conference was to explore the changing contours and future trajectory of intellectual history on both sides of the Atlantic.  The organisers  brought together junior and senior scholars to examine the questions of transnational and interdisciplinary study, the role of critical theory in historical scholarship, and the relation between intellectual and cultural history.


Joel Isaac (Faculty of History / Christ's College)
Michael O'Brien
(Faculty of History / Jesus College)
James T Kloppenberg
(History, Harvard University)
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen
(History, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Conference Programme

Friday 19 July


9.00 - 9.30


9.30 - 10.40

Understanding Enlightenments

  • Caroline Winterer: What is Enlightened about the American Enlightenment?
  • Sophia Rosenfeld: Hannah Arendt for Intellectual Historians

10.40 - 11.10

Coffee break

11.10 - 13.00

Ideas in Motion

  • Angus Burgin: "New Direction", Then and Now
  • Daniel Rodgers: What Happened to the Social History of Ideas
  • Samuel Moyn: The Political Origins of Global Justice

13.00 - 14.30 

Lunch break (on your own)

14.30 - 15.40 

Intellectual History and Cultural History

  • Sarah E. Igo: Popular Knowledge as Intellectual History
  • Jennifer Ratner–Rosenhagen: The Longing for Wisdom and Wonder in Twentieth–Century American History

15.40 - 16.10

Coffee break

16.10 - 17.20


Normative Inquiry in Academic Discourse

  • Andrew Jewett: Intellectual History and Political Narratives
  • Joel Isaac: Pains, Persons, and Analytical Philosophy



Saturday 20 July


9.00 - 10.10

Race in Transnational Frameworks

  • Nico Slate: ‘We People of Color’: Colored Cosmopolitanism and the Global Idea
  • Jonathan Holloway: The Making of Black Atlantic Intellectual Traditions

10.10 - 10.40

Coffee Break

10.40 - 12.30

Transatlantic Political Discourses

  • Charles Capper: The Anti–Slave: Emerson, Race, and the Trials of Transcendental Liberalism
  • Leslie Butler: The ‘Woman Question’ in the Age of Mass Democracy: from ‘Movement History’ to ‘Problem History’
  • Duncan Kelly: Cosmopolitanism and the Nation State: Reasons of State and the Birth of American Political Science

12.30 - 14.00 

Lunch break (on your own)

14.00 - 14.50


Religion and Secularization
  • David Hollinger: Christianity and Its American Fate: Where History Interrogates Secularization Theory

14.50 - 15.20 

Coffee break

15.20 - 17.00

Concluding Discussion