Intellectual History

Intellectual History at Duke draws on a collaborative graduate program, combining the faculty, student and library resources of Duke, UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU, with a monthly seminar at the National Humanities Center (NHC).  Our intellectual historians emphasize the social, cultural and discursive setting of thought, using biography, intellectual fields and political movements to set the context for intellectual change.  Transnational and interdisciplinary in their interests, they explore Diaspora, intelligentsia, émigrés, and cosmopolitanism, just as happily as ethnicity, nationality and empire, or emotions and the self.  They excel at querying unusual intersections—gender and military strategy, race and commerce, religious and economic discourse, political theory and philosophy of science.  They apply insights from a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, literary and gender studies, and philosophy, but they seek an understanding of thinkers, ideas, texts and discourses that is emphatically contextual and historical.

In the modern European, Russian and Jewish fields, the program offers unparalleled resources.  It collaborates with the Political Theory and German Studies Programs, the Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar, the Center for the History of Political Economy, and the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine.  It has international exchange programs with the University of Vienna and the International Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna.  Faculty serve on the board of the field’s leading journal, Modern Intellectual History. 

Students develop plans of study involving intellectual historians from all three universities.  Thanks to the diversity of faculty, students can explore a wide variety of themes, combining intellectual history with cognate fields in history and other disciplines.  They can apply concepts and insights from economic, literary or political theory, from a range of cultural and religious discourses, from studies of nationality and ethnicity, German, Jewish and Science Studies, philosophy and social theory.  As part of their departmental requirements, all students take the colloquium on the methodology and historiography of intellectual history, offered bi-annually, as well as topical 200-level seminars.  They also take part in the monthly seminar at the NHC, which provides additional intellectual stimulation and opportunities for professional interaction with faculty, distinguished visitors, and NHC fellows.  Students comment on papers by visitors and local faculty, and, at the dissertation stage, present their own work.


James Gregory Chappel, Assistant Professor in the Department of History

Office: 327 Carr Building, Durham, NC 27708-0719

I study the intellectual, political, and religious history of modern Europe. I am currently completing a manuscript entitled "Spiritual Welfare: Catholic Political Economy in Twentieth Century Europe" (forthcoming from Harvard University Press). This work studies Catholic social-economic thought... full profile »

Malachi H. Hacohen, Associate Professor of History

Office: 210 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-6819

MALACHI HAIM HACOHEN (Ph.D., Columbia), Bass Fellow and Associate Professor of History, Political Science and Religion, is Director of the Center for European Studies, and member of the faculty of German and Jewish Studies, as well as the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology &... full profile »

Bruce S. Hall, Associate Professor in the Department of History

Office: 127 Carr Building, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 660-3197

My first book, A history of race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), is about the development of ideas about racial difference along the West African Sahel. The research for this project was focused in and around the Malian town of Timbuktu. My current... full profile »

Martin A. Miller, Professor with Tenure

Office: 337 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-3575

Professor Miller's interests are in Modern Russian history, the history of psychoanalysis in Russia, and comparative and international terrorist movements. full profile »

William M. Reddy, William T. Laprade Professor of History, in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Office: 314 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-2497

New book-- The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012). Awarded the Pinkney Prize for best book in French History, 2012, by the Society for... full profile »

Philip J. Stern, Sally Dalton Robinson Associate Professor of History

Office: Box 90719, History Dept, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 668-1695

My work focuses on the history of Britain and the British Empire, particularly in the early modern period (loosely defined). My first book, The Company-State, is a political and intellectual history of the English East India Company in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I am currently... full profile »