Introducing Intellectual History News and Events

With the proliferation of online lectures, working groups and all manner of events, we at the JHI Blog thought it would be a good idea to consolidate news and opportunities relevant to our colleagues working in intellectual history. We will publish these roundups of public lectures, conferences, calls for papers, working groups and new journal issues every other Saturday.

We encourage our readers to send us information and updates about any news or events that fits within this scope. You can use this form to let us know about something you’d like us to publicize.

Philosophy of History Reading Group

A standing, open reading group in the philosophy of history with, for now, a German focus. Meets every Thursday, 8 pm GMT+2 online. Discussion in English. Everyone is welcome and we try to keep weekly readings, to be done in advance, rather short. If interested, email


The Hans Blumenberg Seminars

Monday, October 12, 5pm UK time (ongoing series)

This speaker series convened by Audrey Borowski at the University of Oxford marks the centenary of Hans Blumenberg’s (1920–1996) birth and provides an occasion to revisit aspects of his life and thought. The next speaker is Jeffrey Barash on “The Power of Rhetoric: Hans Blumenberg, Ernst Cassirer and the Legacy of Herder.” Future speakers include Jean-Claude Monod, Leif Weatherby, Angus Nicholls, Paul Fleming, Hannes Bajohr, Eva Geulen, Willem Styfhalls, and Pini Ifergan.


New Books in the Arts and Sciences: Critique & Praxis by Bernard Harcourt, With Bernard Harcourt, Martin Saar, Karuna Mantena, Michael Taussig, Lydia Liu

Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Wednesday, October 14, 2020  12:00pm (EST). Registration via Zoom.


Lecture: Apocalypse of the Profane: Reconsidering Political Paranoia in the 20th Century, by Nicolas Guilhot 

European University Institute, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 17.00 – 18.30 (CET). Registration via event website.


Conference: The Return of Hegel. History, Universality and the Dimensions of Weakness

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw; the GSSR PAN and the Goethe-Institut in Warsaw, October 14-16, 2020. Registration for Zoom required, conference also to be streamed via Facebook.


Panel: Marxism in America: From the First International to the Crisis of the New Left.

Society of US Intellectual History Annual Meeting: “Reform and Revolution,” Monday, October 19, 2020 7:00pm (EST). Registration required.


Book Launch: France, by Emile Chabal, with Jackie Clarke (Glasgow), Arthur Asseraf (Cambridge), Andrew Smith (Chichester), Robert Tombs (Cambridge), and Iain Stewart (UCL)

Hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Monday, October 19, 12.30pm (EST). Registration required.


Public Global Book Talk: The Biography of Zygmunt Bauman, with Izabela Wagner (Warzaw), Natalia Aleksiun (Jena/New York) and Peter Beilharz (Melbourne)

Organized by History of Science in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and Thesis Eleven. Tuesday, October 20, 18:00-20:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). Registration required.


Workshop: Duncan Bell, Dreamworlds of Race: Empire and the Utopian Destiny of Anglo-America

Hosted by the Yale Global and International History Workshop. Thursday, October 22, 4:00-5:30 (EST). Registration via


13th Marx Autumn School: The Nature of Capital – Ecology in Marx

Organized by Helle Panke e.V., Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Berliner Verein zur Förderung der MEGA e.V., T.O.P. B3rlin and the …umsGanze! Alliance. The entire Marx Autumn School will be bilingual: All lectures and discussions will be translated simultaneously (German/English), and there will also be a working group in English. Friday-Sunday, October 23-25, 2020. Registration required.


Recently Published Articles at Modern Intellectual History: Lucas G. Pinheiro, “A Factory Afield: Capitalism and Empire in John Locke’s Political Economy” and Ian Hunter, “The Early Jewish Reception of Kantian Philosophy.”


JHI 81.3 Now Available

The new issue of the Journal of the History of Ideas (July 2020, 81.3) is now live on Project MUSE.

Over the coming weeks, we will publish short interviews with some of the authors featured in this issue about the historical and historiographical context of their respective essays. Look out for these conversations under the new rubric Broadly Speaking.


Timothy Twining, The Early Modern Debate over the Age of the Hebrew Vowel Points: Biblical Criticism and Hebrew Scholarship in the Confessional Republic of Letters, 337-358.

Nathaniel K. Gilmore, Montesquieu’s Considerations on the State of Europe, 359-379.

Peter de Bolla, Ewan Jones, Paul Nulty, Gabriel Recchia, John Regan, The Idea of Liberty, 1600–1800: A Distributional Concept Analysis, 381-406.

Joris van Gorkom, Immanuel Kant on Race Mixing: The Gypsies, the Black Portuguese, and the Jews on St. Thomas, 407-427.

José M. Menudo, Nicolas Rieucau, The Rural Economics of René de Girardin: Landscapes at the Service of L’Idéologie Nobiliaire, 429-449.

Pedro Martins, History, Nation, and Modernity: The Idea of “Decadência” in Portuguese Medievalist Discourses (1842–1940), 451-471.

Carlotta Santini, Searching for Orientation in the History of Culture: Aby Warburg and Leo Frobenius on the Morphological Study of the Ifa-Board, 473-497.


Information about subscribing or submitting to the Journal of the History of Ideas can be found on the Penn Press website.


Announcing the JHI’s 2019 Morris D. Forkosch Book Prize Winner

Every year, the Journal of the History of Ideas awards the Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history. 

The winner of the JHI‘s 2019 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history is Lydia Barnett, for After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe (Johns Hopkins University Press). The judging committee writes:

Lydia Barnett’s After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) makes a powerful and erudite argument to the effect that learned Europeans were thinking of the Earth’s environment in ways that were both global and involved human agency long before the age of the “Anthropocene” as it is now commonly understood. Crucial to these discussions was the Biblical account of the Universal Flood. Like Creation itself, the Flood was difficult to reconcile with Aristotelian natural philosophy, while its possible effects in the distant past, along with the possibility of a recurrence, prompted often startling speculation concerning the origins of human races, the differences among climactic zones, the separation of the continents, the causes of disease and the future of both mankind and the planet. Attempts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to create what has been called a Mosaic natural science coincided with Europe’s two centuries of religious struggle. Where other modern scholars have tended to assume in the denizens of the Republic of Letters a tolerant, cosmopolitan outlook that bridged competing versions of Christianity, Barnett shows that placing and accounting for the Universal Deluge in geohistory resulted in controversies along confessional lines. Barnett pushes scholars to take more seriously the premodern roots of environmentalist thinking and demonstrates persuasively that theology was not an obstacle to, but a vehicle for an emerging awareness of humanity’s capacity to alter nature on a global scale.

Statement from/by the judging committee.

Lydia Barnett (Ph.D., Stanford University, 2011) is a historian of early modern Europe with a focus on Italy, Britain, and the Atlantic world and thematic interests in science, religion, gender, and the environment. She is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University. After the Flood has also been short-listed for the 2020 Kenshur Prize for the best book in eighteenth-century studies. She is currently working on a new book project about labor and gender in the eighteenth-century earth and environmental sciences. 

The JHI Blog extends its deepest congratulations to Professor Barnett and looks forward to reading more of her work.


Announcing the JHI’s 2019 Selma V. Forkosch Prize Winner

The winner of the JHI‘s Selma V. Forkosch Prize for the best article published in Volume 80 (2019) is Sophie Smith for “The Language of ‘Political Science’ in Early Modern Europe” (volume 80, no. 2, p. 203–26). The judging committee writes:

The Selma V. Forkosch Prize committee has unanimously agreed to award the prize for the best essay published in the Journal of the History of Ideas in 2019 to Sophie Smith for her article “The Language of ‘Political Science’ in Early Modern Europe.” The author lucidly explores what it meant to speak of ‘political science’ in Aristotle’s key writings on politics and ethics, in medieval Latin commentaries on them, in early modern works on the theme, and in the views that Hobbes constructed in response. She examines with deep learning and great subtlety how ideas of the “political” and of “science,” which separately evolved in this long period, came to be understood in combination as an intelligible object of its own. Her essay, a model of clarity in exposition, examines the role of the texts she studies in raising new questions about the status of “politics” as something that could be investigated and taught and of “political science” itself as field of knowing having a distinctive language of its own.

Sophie Smith is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford. She is currently working on a project on poetry and the origins of “political theory,” and a book about feminism and political philosophy in the late twentieth century.

The JHI Blog extends its deepest congratulations to Professor Smith and looks forward to reading more of her work.


Editorial Changes at the Journal and the Blog

This spring, JHI is excited to announce some editorial staffing changes at both the Journal and JHIBlog.

At the May 6, 2017 meeting of the Journal’s Board of Editors, Stefanos Geroulanos was elected as Executive Editor of the Journal. He succeeds Warren Breckman, who stepped down as an Executive Editor last year.

After three years of dedicated service as founding editors of JHIBlog, John Raimo and Emily Rutherford are moving on in order to focus on researching and writing their dissertations. Succeeding them will be Sarah Claire Dunstan and Spencer J. Weinreich, who have worked with the blog as Contributing Editors since 2016.

Thank you to all the departing editors for their service to JHI. We wish them well in their new endeavors!