Political Thought is undoubtedly one of the most peculiar ‘productions’ generated by European culture - perhaps the most ‘European’ of all. The historical study of this great heritage - its contents, values and teaching, both as elaboration from, and inspiration for our political institutions - constitutes one of the great challenges for the development of European culture in the 21st century.
History of Political Thought has established itself as an important academic discipline in Italy and has been cultivated in most European countries, though sometimes in a national perspective, or as part of other subjects, such as Political Science or Modern and Contemporary History. A European Society for the History of Political Thought could provide a great incentive to its further development as an autonomous academic discipline, particularly in Eastern European countries.
The fundamental aim of this Society, however, should be that of providing a European perspective for the History of Political Thought and a historical approach to the study of this fundamental cultural deposit, whose knowledge cannot be avoided by any ‘decently European’ proposal for the political future of our continent.
For these reasons the project of setting up a European Society for the History of Political Thought was promptly and generously supported by Yves Meny, The President of the European University Institute in Florence, and has taken shape in discussions among a small group of scholars from all parts of the continent.
The Founding Committee of the Society held its first meeting at the European University Institute on the 8th September 2008, to define the Society’s aims, activities and statute, which were then publicly registered at a Florentine notary, and a second meeting which also took place at the Institute on the 13th March 2009.
The first activity of the society will be its opening Conference and convening assembly. The Inaugural Conference will take place at the European University Institute in Florence and is scheduled for Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 July 2009.
Its leading motto will be
Towards a European Political Thought: in theFootsteps of Herodotus.
The Conference Programme will consist of a set of four keynote speakers, who will be asked to reflect on and elucidate their way of doing the study of European political thought, followed by five panels, discussing work-in-progress in what are seen as key debates in the historical study of European political thought.
The General Assembly will take place at the end of the Conference, on the 7th July 2009, and will proceed to the election of the President, the Executive Committee and the Audit Commission of the European Society for the History of Political Thought.
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