JHI Blog

The Journal of the History of Ideas Blog



The Origins of Autonomy: Not as Lonesome as You Might Expect

By Contributing Writer Molly Wilder Autonomous man is–and should be–self-sufficient, independent, and self-reliant, a self-realizing individual who directs his efforts towards maximizing his personal gains. His independence is under constant threat from other (equally self-serving) individuals: hence he devises rules… Continue Reading →

What We’re Reading: Week of 22nd January.

Here are a few pieces that have caught the attention of our editorial team this week: Sarah: Andy Beckett, “Post-Work: The Radical Idea of a World Without Jobs,” (Guardian) Alison Croggan, “Now The Sky is Empty,” (overland) Richard Eldridge, “What… Continue Reading →

The Historical Origins of Human Rights: A Conversation with Samuel Moyn

By guest contributor Pranav Kumar Jain Since the publication of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Professor Samuel Moyn has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in the field of human rights studies and modern intellectual history…. Continue Reading →

Firebrand Infrastructures: Insights from the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry Postgraduate Workshop

by guest contributor Alison McManus  For less populated fields of history, a conference designed for intellectual exchange can occasionally double as an existence proof. The workshop for the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry must have appeared to… Continue Reading →

What We’re Reading: Week of 15th January.

Here are a few pieces that have caught the attention of our editorial team this week: Derek Brandon M. Terry, “MLK Now” (Boston Review) Teresa Kroeger et al., “The state of graduate student employee unions” (Economic Policy Institute) Lewis Lapham,… Continue Reading →

Life and Likeness at the Portland Museum of Art

By Editor Derek O’Leary, in conversation with curator Diana Greenwold It can be easy to imagine the early American republic as rushing headlong into the future during its first half-century—westward with the suppression of Indian society, seaborne to new markets… Continue Reading →

An “Extreme Turn”? Some Thoughts on Material Culture, Exploration, and Interdisciplinary Directions

By Contributing Writer Sarah Pickman In 1848 Peter Halkett, a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy, published his designs for a most curious invention. Halkett was interested in the numerous exploratory expeditions the Navy had sent to the Canadian Arctic… Continue Reading →

What We’re Reading: Week of January 8.

  Here are a few of the pieces the team at the JHI blog have been reading over the last week: Derek “The World in Time”: Interview with Eric Foner (Lapham’s Quarterly) Anton Jaeger, “The Myth of Populism” (Jacobin) Richard… Continue Reading →


by contributing writer Jonathon Catlin This post is adapted from the author’s contribution to a panel discussion entitled “The Frankfurt School Knew Trump Was Coming” hosted by the Leo Baeck Institute, New York City on October 25, 2017, featuring co-panelists… Continue Reading →

Nazi Punching, or, Simone Weil on Resistance and the Organized Left

by contributing writer Agatha A. Slupek Simone Weil (1909-1943) occupies a liminal position in the history of ideas. While Weil’s thought is an established concern for scholars of religion and mysticism, she is neglected in the Anglophone study of the… Continue Reading →

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