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Global Intellectual History

Global Intellectual History

Type of group

Reading/seminar group

Area focus

Transregional research group



Matthijs Lok


Lucia Admiraal
Jacques Bos
Marjet Brolsma
Camille Creyghton
Boyd van Dijk
Hanco Jürgens
Lisa Kattenberg
Joep Leerssen
Matthijs Lok
Erik van Ree
Carlos Reijnen
Marleen Rensen
Jan Rock
Mart Rutjes
Natalie Scholz
Wyger Velema
Marc de Wilde
Michael Wintle
Peter-Wim Zuidhof

External partners

Utrecht University (Prof. Annelien de Dijn, Dr Rene Koekkoek)

Research programme

The Utrecht/Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History is a platform for researchers from different faculties and departments at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University who are working in the field of intellectual history and related disciplines. These include 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. Since its foundation, the Global Intellectual History group has emerged as the main hub for this field in the Netherlands and has received international recognition as an important centre for the study of intellectual history.

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. Junior scholars as well as established experts are in search for new answers – and perhaps more importantly – new questions. The Utrecht/Amsterdam Seminar Global Intellectual History contributes to this development by providing a venue for presenting and discussing ongoing 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.

The Seminar is currently jointly organized by: Camille Creyghton (History and Cultural Studies, UvA / Queen Mary, London), Boyd van Dijk (European Studies, UvA), Annelien De Dijn (Political History, UU), Lisa Kattenberg (History, UvA), René Koekkoek (Political History, UU), Matthijs Lok (European Studies, UvA), Tamara Mercante Thierauf (Student-Assistant, European Studies, UvA)

Achievements 2014-2017

Speakers Global Intellectual History Lecture Series

Speakers 2017-2018: Sophia Rosenfeld ( Pennsylvania), “Human Rights and the Idea of Choice”; Boyd van Dijk (King’s College, European University Institute), “Human Rights in War? The Forgotten Origins of the Geneva Conventions of 1949”; Lisa Kattenberg (UVA), “The Power of Necessity. Reason of State in the Spanish Monarchy, ca. 1590-1650” & Usman Ahmedani (UVA), “Nationalism and Culture in the Late Ottoman Empire”; Camille Creyghton (Amsterdam), “Transfer of ideas among émigré intellectuals in European cities, 1815-1848” & René Koekkoek (Amsterdam), “Repairing historical injustices: an intellectual history”; Sophie Smith (Oxford), “Imagining Politics” / Discussant: dr. Arthur Weststein (Utrecht); Roundtable “The Future of Intellectual History”

Speakers 2016-2017: Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary), “Global intellectual history? A contextualist perspective”; Shruti Kapila (Cambridge), “History as Violence: Hindutva’s War and the Battlefield of India” Hilde de Weerdt (Leiden), “Towards a Global Intellectual History of ‘Mirrors of Princes'”; Jennifer Pitts (Chicago), “Empires and the Law of Nations: A Contribution to the Critical History of International Law”

Speakers 2014-2015: David Armitage (Harvard), “Worlds of Civil War: Globalizing Civil War in the Late Twentieth Century”; Darrin McMahon (Darmouth), “What is an idea?”; Siep Stuurman (Utrecht University), “Concepts in Global History”; Samuel Moyn (Harvard), “On the Non-Globalization of Ideas”

Aims 2018-2021

Global Intellectual History Lecture Series 2018-2019

Rachel Gillet (Utrecht University), "Bitter Fruit: Hip Hop's Intellectual Genealogy"; Anne-Isabel Richard (Leiden University), "Eurafrica: African perspectives, 1917-1970s"; Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins (Yale University), "The Origins of the End of Ideology Debate: An Alternative History"; Joan-Pau Rubiés (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), "A particular kind of gentilism? Buddhism in early modern European thought".

PhD  courses

Huizinga Institute Summer School: "Macro vs. Micro: The Challenges of Global Intellectual History", 3-5 July 2019, Utrecht