World History of Liberalism

World History of Liberalism

The IHS is pleased to announce our brand new open-ended series of online Discussion Colloquia for “The World History of Liberalism!” In this program, students will be given the opportunity to apply for the entire series or just those topics which interest them the most, and every month we will gather together online to discuss an important book or short series of articles.

World history is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from across the humanities; and liberalism has been integral—fundamental, even—to world history. Here we will shift endlessly across time and space, discovering kernels of liberalism everywhere from ancient China to the English Civil Wars, challenging ourselves to think much more richly, deeply, and widely about what exactly liberalism is, what is has been, where it’s gone, and where it’s heading.

Sessions will take place as close to the final Monday of each month as possible from 3:00pm-5:00pm (ET) unless otherwise noted or updated.

  1. “What is World History?” (July 27, 2020)
    E.H. Gombrich, A Little History of the World, Yale University Press, 2005.

  2. “Capitalism’s Ancient Origins” (August 24, 2020)
    Nima Sanandaji, The Birthplace of Capitalism: The Middle East, Timbro, 2018.

  3. “Comparative Disasters” (Sept. 28, 2020)
    Walter Scheidel, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, Princeton University Press, 2017.

  4. “Ancient China’s Debates on Salt and Iron” (Oct. 26, 2020)
    Comegna (ed.) “Monopoly & Empire: Ancient China’s Debate on Salt and Iron,” Libertarianism.org: https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/monopoly-empire-ancient-chinas-debate-salt-iron
    Roderick Long, Rituals of Freedom: Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism, Molinari Institute, 2016.

  5. “World History Today: Surveying the Field” (Nov. 16, 2020)
    Dunn, Mitchell, and Ward (eds.) Dunn, Mitchell, and Ward (eds.) The New World History: A Field Guide for Teachers and Researchers, University of California Press, 2016. Please read each chapter “Introduction,” and whatever other essays interest you.

  6. “Liberty, Responsibility, and the Putney Debates” (Dec. 28, 2020)
    Comegna (ed.), “The Putney Debates” (in five parts), Libertarianism.org: https://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/putney-debates-day-one Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution, Penguin, 1984.

  7. “The Golden Age of Atlantic Piracy” (Jan. 25, 2021)
    Marcus Rediker, Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, Beacon Press, 2011.

  8. “Liberalism and the Spiritualist Movement” (Feb. 22, 2021)
    Sarah O’Dowd, A Rhode Island Original: Frances Harriet Whipple Green McDougall, University Press of New England, 2004.

  9. “Liberty and Slavery on the Creole Island” (March 29, 2021)
    Megan Vaughan, Creating the Creole Island: Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Mauritius, Duke University Press, 2005.

  10. “Comparative Slavery” (April 26, 2021)
    Peter Kolchin, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom, Belknap Press, 1990.

Learn more about how IHS Discussion Colloquia are designed for advancing graduate students and faculty members seeking in-depth discussions about specialized topics in the classical liberal tradition.


Thank you for your interest. This program is now filled.

Please see some of our other Discussion Colloquia that may be of interest to you.