It aims to bring together researchers in events related to various projects in the field of intellectual history, and help them reach international audiences. The Helsinki Centre for Intellectual History offers a communication platform for researchers from a wide array of disciplines, studying ideas from antiquity to the present day.
There had been vague plans for some time to establish a Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Helsinki. The reasons for its establishment – connected to the aims mentioned above - are quite simply: to create a platform through which people in Helsinki are better informed about one another’s research and events, and to signal to the outside world the research strength that Helsinki (and Finland in general) represents in various areas related to intellectual history.
While the University is going through major structural changes through department mergers and reorganisations, we believe a more fluid organization like this may help to promote research collaboration and discussion.
The idea of the Centre is that it is open to all researchers in the field of intellectual history (broadly speaking) so across disciplines (different departments and faculties). To start, the Centre will have around 40 members, but in the near future up to circa 60, we anticipate.
The Centre will act as a platform for other publications, conferences and workshops in the field of intellectual history. While the Centre will organise some of its own events – public Intellectual History Seminars, e.g. twice a year – all members of the Helsinki research community are warmly invited to use the Centre to broaden the audience of their research and ‘make it their own’, so to say. Preliminary results from affiliated projects and research groups can be reviewed and published on the ‘Intellectual History Archive’, a working paper series to be set-up through the Centre. In 2017, the journal Contributions to the History of Concepts (published by Berghahn journals) will be co-edited from Helsinki and will be affiliated to the Centre.
At the launch event our invited guest speaker, Prof. Richard Whatmore, the Director of the St. Andrews Institute of Intellectual History, will lecture about “The Politics of Intellectual History” and explain why the current state of domestic and international politics and the way the academic world responds to it make intellectual history especially relevant today as a way to understand relations between practice and theory, between institutions and ideas and help bridge approaches that currently separate research in different fields.