DATES: 3-19 August 2010
COORDINATOR: Mr. Sami Syrjämäki, sami.syrjamaki (at)


The presumption that concepts, arguments, and ideas are timeless has been replaced in recent decades by an awareness of their unavoidable historicity and temporality. Based on methods proposed by such scholars as Reinhart  Koselleck, Quentin Skinner, John Pocock, and Michel Foucault which focus on the use of language in a historical context, conceptual history serves as an innovative and  rigorous approach to the analysis of key social and political  concepts, arguments and ideas. The goal of conceptual history is to illuminate the concepts and ideas that are central to the operation of political and social life through the study of their migration, reception, translation, and diffusion through time and space. Conceptual analysis involves looking at larger semantic, discursive, ideological and rhetorical settings in which concepts are given meaning. Doing conceptual history therefore demands familiarity with a variety of linguistically oriented approaches to discourse, ideology as well as rhetoric.

In the summer of 2010, Concepta, International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought, and its partner institutions will organise the sixth Introduction to Conceptual History summer school. An international team of distinguished scholars and visiting lecturers will help participants critically examine the chief concepts in the humanities and social sciences from new perspectives. The summer school has two main objectives. First, it introduces students to the fundamental aspects of the theory and methodology of conceptual history, which they can then use as tools in their own research. Second, it explores contemporary trends in conceptual history through case studies.

The course includes a series of lectures, a seminar and workshops. It is designed for Finnish and international PhD and advanced Master’s degree students from various academic fields. Interest in the humanities and/or political thought is an asset.

The successful completion of the Summer School will require attending the lectures, seminar and workshops as well as the completion of a written assignment. To receive the six ECTS credits, students must actively participate in the course and write a 10-15 page essay. Students who wish to receive 10 ECTS credits must submit a 20-25 page essay in addition to active participation. Students should submit all essays to the organisers approximately one month after the conclusion of the Summer School. Participants are encouraged to contact the organisers if they would like to present their own work in progress in conceptual history and related fields in the workshops.


University of Helsinki

Concepta, International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki

POLITU, Finnish Political Science Doctoral School

Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change, University of Jyväskylä
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