Master Class Pasi Ihalainen: Reflections on the Comparative and Transnational History of Political Concepts and Discourse

University of Leiden, Huizingagebouw, Doelensteeg 16, kr. 023c. ,
15 February 2019, 14.00-17.00

Are you interested in political history from the point of view of the use of language, concepts and discourse? Would you like to proceed beyond one nation state or one forum of political debate in your research? Are you looking for methodological approaches to apply in your master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation or postdoctoral research, would you like to reflect on methods with others or just broaden your methodological arsenal?

Welcome to this one-day course on the methods for the history of political concepts and discourse which discusses the field in comparative and transnational perspectives. Instead of teaching some ‘right’ methods, this course encourages methodological reflections and discussion with others in search for a combination of research strategies that might work in the analysis of each participant’s research topics. The discussed perspectives include the relationship between historical research and social theory, intellectual history, varieties of conceptual history, history of discourse, comparative history, transnational history and the application of computer-assisted methods to the history of political concepts and discourse.

The participants should read Willibald Steinmetz & Michael Freeden, Introduction: Conceptual History: Challenges, Conundrums, Complexities, in Conceptual History in the European Space, edited by Willibald Steinmetz, Michael Freeden, and Javier Fernández-Sebastián (Berghahn: Oxford & New York, 2017), before the course.

Reading and participation in the lecture and discussion gives you 1 ECTS. Furthermore, participants are invited to introduce their current methodological approach in a paper of 2-5 pages which should be circulated among the other participants on 12 February at the latest. The presentation gives you another 1 ECTS. Contact to register by 8 February 2019.

Pasi Ihalainen is Professor of Comparative European History at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and is a guest at Leiden University in January-February 2019. For publications etc. see

Programme on 15 February 2019

14.00-15.15 Pasi Ihalainen, Reflections on the Comparative and Transnational History of Political Concepts and Discourse

15.15-15.45 Questions and Answers

15.45-16.00 Coffee break                                                                                                     

16.00-17.00 Discussion on the methodological approaches of the participants

17.00 Drinks