Conceptions of Space in the History of Political Thought

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Date / time: 2 June, 9:15 am - 7:30 pm

Old Library, Pembroke College

Conceptions of Space in the History of Political Thought

In recent years, notions of ‘space’ have become increasingly important to the practice of intellectual historians. The relevance of locutions such as the ‘spatial turn’ and ‘global intellectual history’ seems to hint at a broader trend in the discipline. Scholars have argued that ‘space is the final frontier for intellectual history’ (David Armitage), that it is not merely ‘context’ but ‘deserving of interpretation in its own right’ (John Randolph), and that to take space seriously ‘is to read deliberately against the grain’ (Annabel Brett). However, this growing emphasis also raises a number of conceptual issues. How might intellectual historians think space? What implications do spatial readings have for our understanding of the history of political thought? How useful are notions of ‘space’ as interpretive tools in the first place?

The 10th Annual Cambridge Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History aims to explore these questions from a variety of different approaches. The conference will also feature a keynote address by Professor Lauren A. Benton, who is the Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Professor of History as well as Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University.

For the full program and (free) registration, please visit