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
Office Hours: On Leave
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 Dean for the Social Sciences
483 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesday, 1-2PM and by appointment
Themes: Empire & Colonialism, Environmental History, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Race & Ethnicity, Science, Medicine, & Technology, Transnational and Diplomatic History
434 Nau Hall
Office Hours: NORMAL OFFICE HOURS in Spring 2023 are Mondays 1-2 pm and Thursdays 3-4 pm AND BY ARRANGEMENT (email, or phone). My regular office hours often need to be cancelled because of meetings. Thursdays and Fridays I don't teach, and afternoons on Thursday and Friday are especially good for longer conversations. ADVISEES: During the advising period it is best to propose times on THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS, preferably in the afternoons. Be sure to propose a variety of possible times, to avoid email tag.
Themes: Intellectual History & History of Ideas
Commonwealth Professor of History and Mathematics
Nau 456 and Kerchof 226
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:30-4:00 (in Kerchof 226) Thursdays, 9:30-11:00 (in Nau 456)
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