Intellectual History & History of Ideas

Intellectual history is a genre of inquiry that focuses on the role that explicitly-articulated concepts and theories, whether legal, political, religious, artistic, philosophical, or scientific, play in the thinking and action of human beings. Inside the discipline of history, the focus of attention is most often on how these concepts and theories interacted with and influenced economic, social, cultural, and political developments.  Closely related to intellectual history is the interdisciplinary subgenre of the history of ideas.  The focus of attention there is most often on investigating the formation and structure of past concepts and theories with an eye both to understanding better the ideas themselves and to illuminating unresolved issues in the present connected with those ideas.

Many members of the Corcoran Department of History work in these interrelated fields in an effort to understand what was and is most often overlooked in everyday life, namely, the hidden roots of people’s most deeply adhered to ideas and practices.


Associate Professor of German and History, Director, European Studies Program, Director, Center for German Studies
Nau 255
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:00am-11:00pm, and by appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Environmental History, Genocide & Violence, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Jewish History, Political History, Race & Ethnicity, Transnational and Diplomatic History
Professor, Associate Chair, Co-Director, UVa Early American Seminar at Monticello, Co-Director, MapScholar
431 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Mondays, 2-4 pm, and by appointment
Themes: Digital Humanities, Economic History & History of Capitalism, Empire & Colonialism, Environmental History, History of Slavery, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Spatial History, Frontiers, & Migration
Allan Megill photo
434 Nau Hall
Office Hours: NORMAL OFFICE HOURS IN TEACHING SEMESTERS (on leave Spring 2021): Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:40-4:40 pm & by appointment. My e-mail is, My regular office hours often need to be cancelled because of meetings. Mondays and Fridays I don't teach, and so sometimes these days are good for longer conversations. Wednesdays are generally NOT good for appointments, long or short. During the advising period for the subsequent semester it is best to propose a range of times on Mondays/Fridays to "see" me. Until Covid-19 has been brought under proper control in this country, I will be "seeing" students online, via ZOOM, or Skype (allan.megill), or Facetime (434-249-9886). or WeChat (allanmegill). In general, I prefer ZOOM, but sometimes the other options may be more convenient. Office phone is 434-924-6414, which is good for determining whether I am in my office at that moment. (I do not always notice email messages right away.)
Themes: Intellectual History & History of Ideas
Commonwealth Professor of History and Mathematics
Nau 456 and Kerchof 226
Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Science, Medicine, & Technology
Associate Professor of German
New Cabell Hall, Room 223
Office Hours: Wednesdays 3:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and by appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Intellectual History & History of Ideas
John B. Minor Professor of Law and Professor of History
361 Law
Office Hours: N/A
Themes: Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Legal History

Graduate Student