The University of Sussex has long been an important national and international centre for research in intellectual history. At its foundation, intellectual history at Sussex brought together faculty from disparate areas in the arts and social sciences (Economics, English, History, Philosophy, Classics, Sociology, Politics, and Theology). Intellectual history has thrived at Sussex because of the University’s traditional focus upon interdisciplinarity, and the Sussex Centre for Intellectual History's task is to maintain this tradition. The Centre continues the tradition of investigation into political, economic, and social thought and its connections with literature from early modern to modern times in Britain and in Europe. While maintaining a focus on the national and international history of social, political and economic thought, the Centre has sought to broaden the agenda to include the history of philosophy and science and their connections with religious thought. We maintain a broad European perspective in these areas through recent and current work on Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Scandinavian, Scottish, and Swiss topics. The transfer of ideas internationally and across continents is also a central concern of the centre.
The Centre promotes intellectual history by being a hub for scholars to pursue research and develop their teaching and by maintaining links to other groups in the UK, across Europe and in North America, Australasia, the Middle East and Far East.
Within Sussex we collaborate with the Department of Philosophy, the Centre for Early Modern Studies, and the Centre for German-Jewish Studies. We have a lively graduate programme with MA, MPhil and DPhil students participating in joint seminars. We host extensive online text resources and are developing discussion fora, both for the academic and the wider community.
Together with The Centre for Dissenting Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, SCIH runs a major project on The Dissenting Academies in the British Isles, 1660-1860, that is funded by The Leverhulme Trust.
As part of the British Academy funded project ‘Calvinism and Enlightenment in the Long Eighteenth Century: Comparative Studies of Scotland and Geneva’ we have begun the transcription of Étienne Dumont's manuscripts and others pertaining to eighteenth-century Geneva.
To add to our 'Papers of Intellectual Historians' series we are digitizing the Sussex intellectual historian Helmut Pappe's unpublished work on the Genevan political economist and historian Simonde de Sismondi.
We are also launching the Thomas Paine Project, a major initiative to establish a permanent visitor centre devoted to Paine, to encourage the study of Paine in schools, and to put online manuscript and published material concerning Paine and his times.
With the University of Lausanne we are launching the Swiss section of a database dedicated to texts and manuscripts on Enlightenment Intellectual History. This will includes texts and manuscripts of major and minor figures in the European enlightenment and will be launched in the Summer of 2013.
Several major research projects are housed at the Centre. The international journal History of European Ideas is edited here.