Cambridge Political Thought & Intellectual History Graduate Conference

March 31, 2021

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Cambridge University

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The pedagogical intentions of political thinkers throughout the ages have shaped the forms, languages and possibilities of political thought. Some forms of political knowledge were produced didactically, with an eye to educational praxis: the pamphlet, the dialogue, the textbook, the lecture. Others were purposefully esoteric, intended to be consumed within the community in which they were created, in discussion with other elite thinkers. The discourse of political thought has always been conditional on its audience: who is it intending to educate? The discourse of the history of political thought is equally bound to its instructive potential.

This conference seeks to explore how the act of education and the figure of the educator permeate the history of political thought and intellectual history. Is political education the purpose of political thought? Should political theory be taught to rulers or to citizens? Is intellectual history justified by ‘real-world application’? Are political events preferable as a form of practical political education as opposed to academic reflection?

It will also ask where this educational space begins and ends: who is being educated and who is being excluded in the history of political thought? How does the political thought of those historically excluded from educational spaces differ to those who are included? What does it take for a collection of works to found a discipline and a disciplinary community? How does knowledge form the boundaries and initiation processes of such communities?

In thinking through this theme, participants are welcome to draw on political thought, intellectual history, political theory, history and theories of gender and post-colonialism, cultural history, the history of economic thought, and the history of science. We encourage submissions from all time periods. Submissions are welcome on the aforementioned topics and questions and those related, but not limited to:

    • The relationship between audience and genre

    • Theory and educational praxis

    • Inclusion and exclusion from educational spaces

    • Language, discourse and narrative as educational


    • The concept of political education

    • The intellectual ideas of the educationally excluded

    • Worker’s colleges and alternative forms of education

    • The founding of new disciplines

    • Communities of scholars, educators and students

    • Education and agency

    • Education as a revolutionary tool

    • Education and citizenship

Interested doctoral students should send proposals, comprised of a short abstract (max. 500 words) and a brief CV (max. 2 pages), to with the subject “PTIH Conference Submission”. The deadline for proposals is Friday 12th February 2021.

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#Cambridge, #Political Thought, #Intellectual History, #Political Theory