Concepta Summer School: Introduction to Conceptual History

The course ‘Introduction to Conceptual History’ has been the backbone of Concepta activities since 2005. Targeted to international PhD and advanced Master’s degree students from various academic fields, the course has been arranged in Helsinki, Aarhus and Copenhagen. In 2016 and 2017 a parallel course has been arranged in Mexico City. The course has been organized as a collaboration between Concepta and local partners, most often the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Over the years, more than 300 young scholars have participated in the course forming a unique network of international scholars in the field. Participants of the Introduction to Conceptual History often return to the thematic workshops hosted by Concepta.


The course aims at providing tools for analysing how concepts and ideas are operationalized in political life through the study of the debates on their 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. To do this the course introduces the main aspects of the theory and methodology of conceptual analysis through discussing the works of scholars such as Reinhart Koselleck, Quentin Skinner, and J. G. A. Pocock. The course provides thematic lectures and workshops on transnational conceptual history, the rhetorical use of concepts in parliamentary debates, case studies of central concepts in politics and culture, and methods in quantitative conceptual history. The course also hosts work-in progress sessions to examine and further the respective projects of course participants. Lectures and workshops are held by an international team of distinguished scholars.