The course outlines, discusses, and evaluates the methods for studying intellectual history transnationally. It focuses on the inter-relationship between political, cultural, and intellectual history, and the transference and re-signification of ideas. We ask how best to study the circulation of knowledge, and the reasons for integration, rejection – or ignorance of – certain lines of thought transnationally. We also look at how disciplines like philosophy, semiotics, politics, literary studies, translation studies, etc. can provide tools for intellectual historians. The course addresses general methodological issues and compares the insights of different approaches, yet is also strongly based on historical case studies and tailored to students’ on-going research.
The course gives the students the opportunity to present their own study projects and problems, and to receive feedback in seminars, one-to-one tutorials, and through essay evaluation. The course also strongly promotes and encourages informal communication and exploration of ideas among the participants.
The course is organised in cooperation with the project “Between the Times – Embattled Temporalities and Political Imagination in Inter-War Europe,” based at the School of Humanities: https://betweenthetimes.tlu.ee/en/home/
Course instructors are intellectual historians, cultural historians, literary theorists and philosophers, whose research specializes in conceptual history (e.g. history of concepts of “sovereignty”, “progress”, “revolution”, “violence”, “West”), history of 20th-century political thought (e.g. in Central and Eastern Europe, Germany, France, Jewish thought, liberalism and its critics), the study of processes of intellectual transfer (e.g. reception and translation studies, emigre studies), political ideologies in European modernisms and avant-gardes, and comparative European intellectual history, among other themes.