Summer School on Political Concepts

Call for ApplicationsDeadline April 15th, 2019

Joint summer school co-organized by ECPR StG Political Concepts and CONCEPTA

On 12-23 August 2019 the annual summer school “Introduction to Conceptual History” will be offered by the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of Helsinki. Now in its fourteenth year, the course is organized jointly by Concepta: International Research School in Conceptual History and The Political Concepts Standing Group of the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR). An international team of distinguished scholars and visiting lecturers will engage and encourage course participants in critical discussions around key concepts in politics, the social sciences and the humanities.

The summer school seeks to familiarize younger scholars with the theories and practices of conceptual history and the study of political concepts as a style of political theorizing. The goal of conceptual history is to understand the ways in which concepts and ideas are operationalized in political life through the study of the debates on their formation, migration, translation, reinterpretation and diffusion through time and space (from the local to the global). Conceptual analysis involves the examination of the larger semantic, discursive, ideological and rhetorical settings of conceptual controversies, and requires familiarity with a variety of approaches to discourse, ideology and rhetoric. These concepts are communicated verbally, in print and through other media.

The course will introduce the main aspects of the theory and methodology of conceptual analysis through discussions the work of Reinhart Koselleck and Quentin Skinner, but also J. G. A. Pocock, Michel Foucault, Pierre Rosanvallon and Dipesh Chakrabarty as well as such thinkers as Max Weber and Hannah Arendt. For political science, conceptual history offers a distinct perspective for studying the activity of politics in theorizing, practices and institutions. This includes the study of historical cases as well as contemporary conceptual disputes, for example regarding human rights or the European Union. For history and other fields in the humanities, conceptual history is a means of historicizing key terms and concepts that guide our analysis as well as understanding how past actors used language to frame their existence.

The “Introduction to Conceptual History” courses, organized since 2005, have created an efficient European and global network for young scholars in political science, history and related fields. This network can and has been used by our alumni to spread information on research positions and events, to forge new research projects, as well as to organize scholarly visits abroad.The course will be conducted via lectures, text discussions and work-in-progress sessions.The course welcomes Ph.D. and advanced Master’s degree students from a variety of academic disciplines.

Teach­ers and lec­tur­ers

Professor Martin Burke, The City University of New York
Postdoc Ainur Elmgren, University of Helsinki
Professor Jan Ifversen, University of Aarhus
Professor Niilo Kauppi, University of Jyväskylä and CNRS
Postdoc Anthoula Malkopoulou, Uppsala University
Postdoc Jani Marjanen, University of Helsinki
Associate Professor Niklas Olsen, University of Copenhagen
Professor Kari Palonen, University of Jyväskylä
Professor Margrit Pernau, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Dean Evgeny Roshchin, RANEPA University, St. Petersburg
Associate Professor Johan Strang, University of Helsinki
Postdoc Rieke Trimcev, University of Greifswald
Professor Claudia Wiesner, Fulda University of Applied Sciences

Time, place, dur­a­tion, tu­ition fees, and ECTS

Time: 12–23, August 2019
Place: University of Helsinki, Topelia building (Unioninkatu 38 A)
Duration: 45 contact hours
Tuition fee: The course is free of charge, but students are required to cover their own travel, food and accommodation. Once you have been accepted to the course, we will assist you with options for affordable accommodation.
ECTS: 6–10 (depending on submitting an essay)

Ap­plic­a­tions and ad­mis­sion re­quire­ments

In order to be admitted you must be a PhD-student with a topic that relates to political concepts and/or a conceptual history approach. We are also willing to consider advanced-level MA students that have a strong interest in the topics of the summer school.

Applications to the course must include information about:
– your educational background
– names of your supervisors
– a short description of your PhD project (max 400 words)
– a motivation letter describing how you hope to benefit from the course (max 200 words)

Please send your applications per e-mail to the course coordinator Frederik Braae ( If you have questions about the academic content of the course please contact Jani Marjanen (, and Johan Strang (

Application deadline: April 15, 14:00 (CET), 2019

See also:

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