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Ideas and Identities

A Festschrift for Andre Liebich

Edited By Jaci Eisenberg and Davide Rodogno

This volume gathers contributions at the intersection of history and politics. The essays, covering such topics as diverse as Italian identity in the Tientsin concession, international refugee policies in the interwar period and after, and the myths and realities of the Ukrainian-Russian encounter in independent Ukraine, show that history provides better grounding as well as a more suitable paradigm for the study of politics than economics or other hard sciences. All of the contributors have a common link – doctoral work supervised and shaped by Professor Andre Liebich – but have since expanded widely in the world. Hence, the authors of this work at once share a common base and yet benefit from diverse viewpoints.
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Ideas and Concepts in History: Some Historiographic Reflections: Dominic Eggel


Ideas and Concepts in History: Some Historiographic Reflections


Intellectual history, the English equivalent to German Geistesgeschichte, is very difficult to define because of the “multiple parallel universes that go by [the same] name.”1 Characteristically, most intellectual historians have either refrained from defining their discipline2 or, as did John Greville Agard (J.G.A.) Pocock, rejected any affiliation with it.3 Intellectual history, in its broadest sense, can be defined as an all-encompassing approach to the history of phenomena related to the human mind and their contextualization in, and impact on, the cultural, social, economic, and political realms. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, intellectual history pertains to philosophy, history, literary criticism, and political science, which is also reflected in the multitude of methods advocated by its practitioners. Whereas philosophers, for example, characteristically aim to test the solidity, truth, and coherence of ideas across time, historians rather attempt to place them in specific contexts.4

It is the argument of this contribution that despite its broad pedigree and the many convulsions and turns intellectual history has undergone, a series of fundamental issues can be identified that have to be addressed by all its practitioners. The present contribution therefore starts by offering a brief overview of the main schools and traditions in intellectual ← 17 | 18 → history, then introduces ten key questions that intellectual historians face when pursuing their subject and concludes by offering an outlook on recent trends in the discipline.


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