Welcome to ISIH Announcements

Society updates and news of relevant publications, conferences, and events in the field of intellectual history will be announced here, as well as on our Facebook page.

Please note that it is possible to limit this news feed by clicking on ‘Select Category’ below.

If you would like to advertise your intellectual history programme, seminar series, upcoming conference or any other related event on the ISIH Announcements page, please use our new Announcement Submission Form. Alternatively, you may download a PDF version of the form and return it by e-mail.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
  • News Categories


By Professor Mark Goldie

Justin Champion, a leading scholar of the intellectual history of early modern Britain, died on 10 June, after facing six years of brain cancer with astonishing resilience. His historical avocations were varied. Early in his career he published on epidemics in London. He was a regular broadcaster on TV and radio, bringing history to wide audiences, as he also did when President of the Historical Association, the national ‘voice for history’. He received the Medlicott Medal for outstanding services to history. And he pioneered the Masters course in Public History at Royal Holloway College London, whose graduates fanned out into the media and heritage sectors.

As an intellectual historian Justin’s domain was the ‘crisis of Christianity’ that occurred in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He reprised Paul Hazard’s La Crise de la conscience Europeenne (1935) but transferred the scene of action from France to England. If the ready label is to call this period the Early Enlightenment, Justin belonged to the movement that insisted that it was no less the Late Reformation. As John Pocock urged, in England ‘enlightenment’ unfolded within Christian theology, ecclesiology, and ‘sacred history’. Justin published two books, three editions, and fifty essays. His doctoral thesis became Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken: The Church of England and its Enemies, 1660-1730 (1992), and his work on John Toland culminated in Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture, 1696-1722 (2002). The people about whom he wrote are a group of English and Irish radicals, connected personally and intellectually, who published voluminously and recklessly against Christian orthodoxy between the 1650s (John Biddle the Socinian) and the 1720s (John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon’s journal The Independent Whig). They include Charles Blount, Anthony Collins, Benjamin Furly, Sir Robert Howard, Robert Molesworth, Walter Moyle, Matthew Tindal, and the third earl of Shaftesbury. But the towering figure is the freethinker, contrarian, and scholar-polemicist Toland.

If Justin was nurtured in the ‘Cambridge School’ (his doctoral thesis title was Pocockian: ‘The Ancient Constitution of the Christian Church’), he soon drew sustenance from a variety of new methodological influences afoot from the 1980s onwards. He was keen reader of Michel de Certeau; he investigated the material conditions of publication and clandestinity; reception and readership; book history; the circulation of manuscripts; the history of scholarship. He explained the character of the Republic of Letters. He accented less the philosophical content of ideas and more the shifting nature of cultural and textual authority. He provided not so much conceptual histories as social and cultural histories of ideas. He was interested in textual hermeneutics, the seventeenth-century development of biblical criticism, which exposed the extent of textual variation and the problem of canonicity. By around 1700 it came to seem to the heterodox that the church was constitutive of the Bible, not the Bible of the church. Yet he saw his radicals not as doctrinaire anti-Christians but as Socratic enablers, releasing people from the authority of priests; continuing the programme of ‘reformation’, purifying the church of the remnants of papistical priestcraft. His radicals were not, he argued, especially innovative in their scholarship, but were novel, and dangerous, in their polemical and demotic redeployment of arcane humanist and Reformation scholarship. Their crime was to make high scholarship, with its hermeneutic sense of the fragility of the textual transmission of sacred texts, available to wider audiences. Elite erudition became public property. Not least of the influences on Justin was Christopher Hill, a now often disregarded historian of popular radicalism. Justin was himself an anticlerical, and his work made for some ambivalence in the face of contemporary scholarship on the Enlightenment. At moments he could look like an unreconstructed historian of the mid-twentieth century, in the manner of Peter Gay – Enlightenment as the end of Christianity and the triumph of secularism; but equally he well understood, and participated, in the present current, which holds that God survived the Enlightenment, not least because the early Enlightenment radicals insisted that they were lay theologians within the Reformed tradition. On this view, the Enlightenment was (to borrow the title of Robert Ingram’s recent book) ‘Reformation without end’.

A phrase Justin once used of the scholar Richard Popkin, ‘erudite, witty, and wicked’, applies equally to Toland – and to Justin himself. Justin was a libertarian and a gadfly iconoclast. (Literally so: one of his last public lectures was an exuberant illustrated history of statue toppling and statue defacing.) He was a high-spirited and generous colleague, mentor, and friend. His final project, an edition of Thomas Hobbes’s late writings on religion, heresy, and church history will appear posthumously.

Mark Goldie, Churchill College, Cambridge, 1 July 2020, mag1010@cam.ac.uk

Posted in Other, Society Updates | Comments closed

2019 Charles Schmitt Prize Winner

2019 Charles Schmitt Prize Winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Charles Schmitt prize for 2019 is Jon Cooper of Stanford University, for his essay, ‘A Science of Concord: The Politics of Commercial Knowledge in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain’. The winning essay was recently published in Intellectual History Review.

The quality of top submissions was particularly high this year. So the panel of judges also wish to commend the runners up. They are Michelle Pfeffer for her essay, ‘Paganism, Natural Reason, and Immortality: Charles Blount and John Toland’s Histories of the Soul’; Hugo Bonin for his essay, ‘Between Panacea and Poison: “Democracy” in British Socialist Thought, 1881–1891’; and Paige Donaghy for her essay ‘False Conceptions and Wind Eggs’.

The prize is awarded on an annual basis in honour of the contribution of Charles B. Schmitt (1933-1986) to intellectual history. The recipient receives £250, plus £50 worth of Routledge books, and a year’s free membership of the ISIH with a subscription to the Society’s quarterly journal Intellectual History Review.

For more info, please see the Charles Schmitt Prize.

Posted in IHR, Prizes, Society Updates | Comments closed

PhD Studentship at Newcastle: ‘Intellectual Life at the Lit & Phil’

PhD Studentship at Newcastle: ‘Intellectual Life at the Lit & Phil’

Applications due: 23 February 2020

Newcastle University is pleased to advertise an AHRC-funded PhD studentship on ‘Intellectual Life at Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society, 1793-1825’, to be held at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology of Newcastle University, in partnership with the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, from October 2020. The project is funded by a Collaborative Doctoral Award granted by the Northern Bridge Consortium – Doctoral Training Partnership. A summary is pasted below; more detail is available at here, and a person specification here.

Applicants must submit a CV and a cover letter summarising their research interests and expertise to Professor Federico Santangelo (federico.santangelo@ncl.ac.uk) by 4pm on Monday 23 February 2020.

Suitable candidates will be interviewed by a selection panel consisting of the prospective supervisory team. Informal queries are welcome. Thank you.

About the project:

Intellectual Life at Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society, 1793-1825

This project focuses on a major, unique primary resource that has so far been largely overlooked: a body of archival material located in the collections of Newcastle upon Tyne’s Literary and Philosophical Society, dating from the years immediately following the Society’s foundation, 1793 to 1825. The aims of this project are, firstly, to catalogue the fully material so that it may become an accessible resource for scholars and other interested parties, and secondly, to bring out the significance of this archive’s contents to the intellectual culture and heritage of Newcastle, and beyond.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

CfP: The Devil 20/20

CfP: The Devil 20/20

12-14 November 2020, University of King’s College, Halifax

“The Devil 20/20” explores the nature, significance, and operation of demonism and demonization at all points in the western tradition. This conference will bring together scholars interested in the social construction of the devil and the impact of demonism across different chronological periods and from diverse methodological perspectives. It aims to foster interdisciplinary dialogue that addresses challenging questions about how notions of the demonic are shaped by cultural priorities and anxieties, by professional discerners and the media, and by discourses of fear and safety. “The Devil 20/20” will investigate why these images repeat throughout the ages and why they continue to have resonance in the modern world.

Submissions due: 15 April 2020 to: devil2020conference@gmail.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

CfP: Arendt Studies (Vol. 4)

CfP: Arendt Studies (Volume 4)

The 2019 issue of Arendt Studies is now out, including a special section (with contributions by Barbara Hahn, James McFarland, Thomas Wild, and Jana Schmidt) on the Critical Edition of Arendt’s Complete Works; original articles by Katy Fulfer and Rita A. Gardiner, Adi Armon, Jonathan Graubart, Edgar Straehle, Bulent Diken and Carsten Bagge Laustsen, Stefania Fantauzzi, Beltrán Undurraga, James Sias, and Hugo Strandberg; a review essay by Michelle-Irène Brudny; and book reviews by Katie B. Howard and Maša Mrovlje.

To read Arendt Studies online visit https://www.pdcnet.org/arendtstudies under “Current Issue + Archive”.

We are currently accepting submissions for the 2020 issue. If you would like to submit a paper for consideration please consult https://www.pdcnet.org/arendtstudies/Calls-for-Submissions.

All correspondence and inquiries may be sent to arendtst@ius.edu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Conference: Early Modern Antitrinitarianism and Italian Culture

Conference: Early Modern Antitrinitarianism and Italian Culture / Antitrinitarismo della prima età moderna e cultura italiana

30 March 2020, German Historical Institute in Rome

The theme of the workshop is the influence of Italian culture on the Antitrinitarian movements that spread through Europe in a more or less clandestine fashion during the Early Modern period. One of the objectives is to go back to the period preceding the activity of the Sozzini and of Servet. We will consider the influences on later Antitrinitarianism of humanist philology, prophetism and other trends in the Italian thought of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that made a crucial contribution to shaping the ideas of the Antitrinitarians about Biblical exegesis, spirituality, baptism and the Trinity. We will also discuss the mutual exchanges between different groups, in touch with one another despite the ongoing persecutions by both Catholics and Protestants. 

Participants: Riccarda Suitner (GHI Rome), Emese Balint (Columbia University, New York), Anne Overell (Durham University), Alexander Koller (GHI Rome), Sven Grosse (Universität Basel), Stefano Brogi (Università di Siena), Giorgio Caravale (Università di Roma Tre), Pasquale Terracciano (Firenze, Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento), Ann Thomson (European University Institute), Girolamo Imbruglia (Università L’Orientale, Napoli).

Contact: Dr. Riccarda Suitner (suitner@dhi-roma.it).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Job: Chair in Intellectual History (Renaissance to the present)

The Department of History and Civilization welcomes applications from candidates with an expertise in intellectual history, broadly understood, both European and global. The contract is for five years, renewable for a further three years. The European University Institute is an equal-opportunity employer. The successful candidate will be expected to provide major input in research, teaching, supervision and management, as follows:


  • To develop and lead research in the fields mentioned in the profile;
  • To promote the integration of his/her research with other research interests within the Department of History and Civilization as well as interdisciplinary research withthe other Departments and Centres of the EUI;
  • To maintain a high international profile of publications in books and in internationally recognised journals;
  • To attract research income on an individual basis and in collaboration with others.

Teaching and supervision:

  • To provide high quality doctoral supervision and attract research students to the EUI;
  • To teach effectively postgraduate students in introductory and research seminars;
  • To act as mentor for Max Weber postdoctoral fellows.


  • To make a significant contribution to the promotion of the EUI in the academic community of EUI member countries and beyond, and to contribute to the insertion of EUI alumni in professional life, especially in academic careers;
  • To make the best use of his/her research budget and try to complement it with outside funding;
  • To provide support for the Head of Department, amongst others by serving on appropriate Committees, and to contribute fully to the general life of the Department and the Institute;
  • To contribute to the promotion of cultural diversity in the Department and the EUI.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 27 February 2020.

Interested applicants should consult www.eui.eu/vacancies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Conference: Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Seventeenth-Century England

Conference: Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Seventeenth-Century England

28 March 2020, American University in Bulgaria (AUBG)

Attendance is welcome and free of charge, but those attending the event will need to cover their meals, travel, and accommodation expenses on their own. Participation certificates will be issued upon request. Those interested in attending this event are kindly invited to inform Prof. Diego Lucci in advance, and are welcome to ask for additional information at any time, via email at dlucci@aubg.edu.


11.30: Conference opening and welcome by AUBG President David R. Evans

11.40-12.20: Daniel Schwartz (AUBG): “Francis Bacon on the Certainty and Deceptiveness of Sense-Perception”

12.20-13.00: Bogdan Deznan (University of Bucharest): “The Metaphysics of Difference and the Issue of the Eternal Truths in the Cambridge Platonists”

13.00-14.00: Lunch break

14.00-14.40: Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest): “The Practice of Meditation in the Early Boyle”

14.40-15.20: Vassil Vidinsky (Sofia University): “Isaac Newton’s Experimental Philosophy and Its Methodological Influence”

15.20-16.00:Diego Lucci (AUBG): “Locke and the Socinians on the Natural and Revealed Law”

16.00-16.30: Coffee break

16.30-17.10: Iordan Avramov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences): “Richard Kemp’s Voyages of Discovery: An Early Modern Student of Natural Philosophy and His Journey to Mexico as Reflected in His Correspondence with the Royal Society of London”

17.10-17.50: Benjamin I. Goldberg (University of South Florida): “Conceptions of Experience and Experiment in Early Modern English Recipe Collections”

17.50-18.30: Pierangelo Castagneto (AUBG): “Algernon Sidney and the Republican Tradition in Jeffersonian America”

Organizers: Benjamin I. Goldberg and Diego Lucci

For more details, please see the conference website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

9th LECTIO International Conference: True Warriors? Negotiating Dissent in the Intellectual Debate (c. 1100-1700)

9th LECTIO International Conference: True Warriors? Negotiating Dissent in the Intellectual Debate (c. 1100-1700)

11-13 December 2019, Leuven

From 11 to 13 December, 2019, LECTIO, Leuven Centre for the Study of the Transmission of Texts and Ideas in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is organizing its 9th international conference “True Warriors? Negotiating Dissent in the Intellectual Debate (c. 1100-1700).”

Dissent, polemics and rivalry have always been at the centre of intellectual development. The scholarly Streitkultur was given a fresh impetus by the newly founded universities in the High Middle Ages and later turned into a quintessential part of early modern intellectual life. It was not only mirrored in various well-known intellectual debates and controversies – e.g. between Aristotelians and Augustinians, scholastics and humanists – but also embodied in numerous literary genres and non-literary modes of expression – e.g. disputationes, invectives, images, etc. – and discursive or political strategies – patronage, networks and alliances. Moreover, the harsh debates notwithstanding, consensus was also actively searched for, both within particular disciplines and within society as a whole.

The aim of this 3-day conference is to study the polemical strategies and the modes of rivalry and alliance in scholarly debate from the 12th through the 17th centuries. This conference follows upon the successful LECTIO conference of last year, which dealt with the same topic in Antiquity. 

Keynote speakers are prof. Leen Spruit (Nijmegen), prof. Anita Traninger (Berlijn) and prof. Laura Beck Varela (Madrid).

Registrations Due: 27 November 2019

Please see the website for further conference information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

CfP: Telling a Different Story: Non-Linear Narratives in Early Modern History

CfP: Telling a Different Story: Non-Linear Narratives in Early Modern History

19-20 March 2020, ICUB – University of Bucharest

The workshop at the ICUB – University of Bucharest is intended for scholars from different fields of early modern studies, who want to explore alternative paths in the narration of early modern culture. Rather than proceeding along well-trodden paths, non-linear narratives aim to shed new focus on the less well-known corners, and move in the more ‘secluded’ regions of the past. When applied to the writing of history, the idea of non-linear narratives invites, on the one hand, to deliberate the theoretical nature of narrative structures and temporalities; on the other hand, it raises practical questions on how to employ non-linear narratives in historical writings and find alternatives to ‘genealogical’ writings that track the lineages of new, ideas, practices, and institutions.

Invited Speakers: Francesco Barreca (Museo Galileo), Dominique Brancher (Basel University), Sabrina Ebbersmeyer (Copenhagen University), Christiane Frey (Humboldt University Berlin), Christia Mercer (Columbia University), Iolanda Ventura (University of Bologna).

Submission Deadline: 15 December 2019

Organisers: Fabrizio Baldassarri & Matthias Roick

For more info, please see the workshop website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed
  • #ISIH2020 Conference

    #ISIH2020 Conference

    #ISIH2020 (27-29 May, European University Institute), has been cancelled.