In recent years intellectual history has reestablished itself as a distinct and vital field of scholarship, with a new attention to the social and cultural contexts of thought as well as to language, rhetoric, and meaning. Even as the field has applied insights from a broad range of other disciplines, and especially from literary studies and philosophy, its practitioners have sought an understanding of thinkers, ideas, and texts that is emphatically historical.
The next meeting of the 2014-2015 Triangle Intellectual History Seminar is Sunday, February 2, 2015. Camille Robcis, Assistant Professor of History at Cornell University will be leading a discussion on, “Catholics, and the ‘Theory of Gender,’ and the Turn to the Human in France: A New Dreyfus Affair?”
This paper explores how the concept of gender has been received by the Catholic Church over the last three decades. Starting with the recent debates around gay marriage in France, Professor Robcis tries to understand why many Catholic thinkers and activists have invoked a ‘theory of gender’ as both the origin and the outcome of gay marriage and why they have turned to the concept of the human (in humanism and in anthropology) as an alternative model for organizing both the social and the sexual.
The next meeting of the 2014-2015 Triangle Intellectual History Seminar is Sunday, March 22, 2015. Kris Manjapra, Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University will be leading a discussion on “Twin Cities of Modernism: The Tangled Intellectual History of Berlin and Calcutta in the Age of Empire.”
Kris Manjapra explores a multi-sited approach to the study of transnational intellectual history. This paper studies the interrelation, friction, and entanglement that developed between two major, distant centers of twentieth century intellectual modernism. The paper argues that the apparent strangeness and peculiarity of German and Indian engagements from the 1880s-1950s actually serves to reveal deeper characteristics of modernist knowledge production, cutting across the colonial divide.
Kris Manjapra is associate professor of History, and program director of Colonialism Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Age of Entanglement: German and Indian Intellectuals across Empire (2014); M.N. Roy: Marxism and Colonial Cosmopolitanism (2010) and co-editor of Cosmopolitan Thought Zones: South Asia and the Global Circulation of Ideas (2010).
The next meeting of the 2014-2015 Triangle Intellectual History Seminar is Sunday, April 12, 2015. Eric Oberle, Assistant Professor of History in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communications at Arizona State University will be leading a discussion on “Negative Identity and the Twentieth Century: Adorno, Dubois, Heidegger, Arendt.”
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The history departments at three Triangle Area universities – Duke University in Durham, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill – have established a Program in Intellectual History for students pursuing the MA and Ph.D. in Modern European, Russian, or American History. Within easy access of each other, these universities now form a major national center for graduate teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. The Program is designed to take advantage of their unique concentration of resources:
The uniqueness of our program lies in both its thematic inclusiveness and its methodological orientation. The faculty is committed to a contextual approach to intellectual history. Context is broadly defined, but we believe that intellectual historians make their distinctive contribution to knowledge when they study texts to recover the historical meanings of ideas. To that end we seek to understand how ideas were formed, reformulated, argued, and received in specific historical contexts. We also wish to develop a closer relationship between European and American intellectual history – one that will enrich both areas. Hence we encourage research that draws comparative conclusions about thinkers and ideas on both sides of the Atlantic, and that explores transactions and mediations between American and European intellectual discourses.
Students develop plans of study involving intellectual historians from all three universities. Thanks to the diversity of faculty, students can explore a wide variety of themes, combining intellectual history with cognate fields in history and other disciplines. They can apply concepts and insights from feminist theory, literary and cultural theory, psychoanalytic theory, studies of the construction of national and ethnic identity, the history of science, the history of philosophy, political theory, and social theory.