ISIH2014, 25-27 June 2014, Victoria College, University of Toronto

Keynotes: Sarah Hutton (Aberystwyth), Alan Charles Kors (UPenn) & Martin E. Jay (Berkeley)

Over the past few decades, intellectual history has undergone significant changes as it has adapted to advances in cultural history, the social sciences, the history of the book and the letter, material culture, learned practices, the fine arts, and the history and philosophy of science, among others. Due to its inherently interdisciplinary nature, the adoption of new methods from outside disciplines could be said to be one of its greatest strengths. Yet, at the same time, the speed with which intellectual history has been able to adjust to changes in the outside world has meant that its identity has become fluid; lacking firm definition. What methods today define the practice of the intellectual historian? Is intellectual history a discipline still circumscribed by the “great book” and by “great thinkers,” its focus on canonical authors and their texts a help or a hindrance? Is a canon indispensible for connecting to students and broader readerships? Or should we emancipate ourselves from it entirely? Intellectual Hinterlands proposes to investigate the increasingly expansive historical, contextual, and methodological spaces in which intellectual history is now practiced, and to question whether, as intellectual historians, our unique perspective enables us to address the problems now facing liberal education, the humanities, and society at large.

Intellectual Hinterlands has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Victoria University, the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, the Centre for Jewish Studies, the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, the Department of Classics, the Department of French, the Department of Historical Studies, the Department of History, the Department for the Study of Religion, the Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies, the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, whose sponsorship we gratefully acknowledge.

Conference Committee: James DiCenso and James A.T. Lancaster.