Global Histories of Ideas
This research hub promotes scholarship which explores the global history of ideas.
In recent years, intellectual history and the history of political thought have increasingly taken a global turn.
Concepts, ideas and ideologies which were once approached as part of the history of the West are increasingly explored from a global perspective.
A growing body of research explores the movement of ideas across the world, and the ways in which ideas were reconfigured as they travelled. As ideas travelled, they offered new resources for those seeking to build a better future. But the movement of ideas also represents the dark side of globalisation, forging new forms of racism, practices of torture and recipes to subdue, oppress and exploit entire populations.
We are interested in the individuals who, through their work and/or biographies, contributed to build, frame, transport and translate ideas which connected (or confronted) ideas between different civilisations. We are interested in the institutions through which ideas were transmitted, such as the League of Nations. And in the transformative events such as revolutions, wars or economic catastrophes which radically reconfigured what was thinkable. Finally, we are interested in the technologies - such as print, photography, film or the internet - which made some transfers possible and impeded others.
Members of the Centre are involved in a range of projects that relate to the histories of ideas in global contexts.
Once approached primarily as part of the history of the West, liberalism has recently begun to receive attention from a global perspective. Yet the history of liberalism in twentieth-century Africa remains little studied. This is perhaps not surprising. As others have argued, there is an urgent need to revisit the history of liberalism in Africa and to recognise that much of this thought takes places in vernacular languages, in unexpected idioms and in unexpected places.
- Emma Hunter, Daniel Branch, Gerard McCann, Ismay Milford, Anna Adima and Daniel Heathcote, Another World? East Africa and the Global 1960s
This is a collaborative Leverhulme Trust-funded project involving researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, York and Warwick which seeks to understand and explain how East Africa’s global connections systematically broke down after independence, opening up a set of new and unpredictable paths forward. The project will run from 2018 to 2022.