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Fifty Years of Skinner’s “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas”

  • University of Sussex (map)

This programme takes the opportunity of the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most influential article on intellectual-historical methods, Quentin Skinner’s “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” (1969), to introduce doctoral participants to the methodological commitments within the field, engaging them in cutting-edge critical reflection on method.

Participants will gain a thorough foundation in the available methods in the history of ideas, engage in debates regarding method, and participate in the critical evaluation of such methodologies, considering possible alternatives. Engagement will be through workshops and panel discussions that combine methodological reflection from leading practitioners, including Professor Quentin Skinner, with discussion. Participants will also be given the opportunity to think about how these ideas relate to their own research projects, gaining advice and guidance from practitioners across the disciplines of history, philosophy, political science and literature.

The programme takes place over two days at the University of Sussex. Twenty-five places are open for doctoral students across disciplines related to the history of ideas (history, philosophy, political science, literature, etc).

29 November (10am -530pm, followed by reception)

Masterclasses with Quentin Skinner

Discussion Panel 1: Text and Context

Discussion Panel 2: History of Concepts


30 November (10am -4pm)

Discussion Panel 3: Intellectual Biography

Discussion Panel 4: Future of Method

Roundtable with Participants

Confirmed Discussants:

Quentin Skinner (QMUL)
Adrian Blau (KCL)
Cesare Cuttica (Paris 8)
Gordon Finlayson (Sussex)
Mark Goldie (Cambridge)
Vanessa Lim (Queen Mary, University of London)
Iain McDaniel (Sussex)
Joanne Paul (Sussex)
Anna Plassart (Open University)
Sophie Smith (Oxford)
Gareth Stedman Jones (Cambridge)

Twenty-five places are available. Please indicate if you will require accommodation.