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Ideas Transmission History


Module description

In this co-taught module we introduce you to key themes, debates and problems in the study of ideas and their transmission in history. A major theme running throughout will be questions of the relationship between ‘mental phenomena’ and ‘collective behaviour in cultural surroundings’.

We will bring together key considerations and themes in the history of ideas, intellectual history, philosophy and interdisciplinarity. The history of ideas began as an offshoot of the history of philosophy, but has recently been transformed by concepts and approaches developed from a number of different academic disciplines. Through seminar discussion we will explore the definition of and disciplinary boundaries between the history of ideas, philosophy, intellectual history and cultural history, as well as the history of political thought.

Indicative syllabus

  • The history of ideas, intellectual history and philosophy
  • The history of political thought and the history of ideas
  • Marx and dialectical materialism
  • Gender and history
  • Women and philosophy
  • Darwin and post-Darwinianism
  • Philosophy of biology and evolution
  • Anthropology and history
  • ‘Orientalism’ and interdisciplinarity
  • Critical theory and history/philosophy

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate critical engagement with broad themes and concepts in the history and philosophy of ideas and their transmission
  • demonstrate awareness of key approaches to the subject matter
  • demonstrate knowledge of key thinkers and ‘schools of thought’
  • examine a broad range of primary source material
  • critically evaluate important secondary works through use of primary evidence.