- About Us
The Centre was founded in 2002 when Peter Cryle, who had formerly been head of the Department of Romance Languages, joined forces with Ian Hunter, who until then had held his ARC Professorial Fellowship at Griffith University. Together they developed a model for a research program that turned away from a classical history of ideas in order to develop forms of intellectual history that took careful account of the particular circumstances in which ways of thinking emerged. They found models for this in the work of Michel Foucault and in Cambridge school historians such as Quentin Skinner. Initially, they pursued strands of research in the history of sexuality (led by Cryle) and the history of political thought (led by Hunter). Later, as other colleagues with a commitment to intellectual history joined the centre, the history of religious thought took shape as a major strand.
The Centre presently pursues research into key areas of intellectual, cultural and literary history, with a strong focus on the early modern period. It has a number of permanent members and postdoctoral researchers working on specific projects, and hosts Faculty fellows for short-term research projects. The Centre organises international conferences, themed public seminars, in-house work in progress seminars, and its members are actively involved in national and international research networks.
Centre faculty are engaged in a number of overlapping research programmes. A number of its members work on the intellectual history of the early modern period, pursuing projects that explore the scientific, religious, philosophical, and political thought of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to its early modern focus, the Centre conducts research into British literary history. A third major research focus is the history of sexuality and the history of medicine. The work of the Centre is supported by the Australian Research Council, by independent charitable foundations, and by strategic initiatives funding from the University of Queensland.
The Centre maintains strong links with the Faculty of Humans and Social Sciences and through its Faculty Fellows programme hosts Faculty researchers who spend a period of time in the Centre, typically a semester, pursuing their own research projects. In addition to this scheme, there are a number of Faculty affiliates who contribute in an ongoing way to its programmes. The Centre has a close relationship with the European Philosophy Research Group (EPRG), a group based in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics which promotes research and interest in European philosophy through conferences and workshops.