Past Conferences

Hume and Moral Psychology, Hume and Ancient and Early Modern Dialogues

43rd International Hume Society Conference


Tuesday July 19-Saturday 23 July 2016
Veterinary Science Conference Centre
University of Sydney


Keynote speakers


Conference Program

Connecting with Others: Empathy, Sympathy, and the Imagination Conference

Le ciel c

Erik Pevernagie, Belgian, 1995, Heaven is the other one, Oil on paper, 26 x 34.5 in.

Wednesday 30 March-Friday 1 April 2016
CCANESA Boardroom
Level 4, Madsen Building
University of Sydney

Organiser: Anik Waldow

Full details available here

Nature and the Philosophy of Nature in German Idealism and Romanticism

Frau am Strand von Rügen

Caspar David Friedrich, German, c1818, Oil on canvas, 8.5 x 11.8 in.

15-17 June 2015
CCANESA Boardroom
Level 4, Madsen Building
University of Sydney

Over the last two decades, there has been an immense revival of interest in German romanticism and idealism. Philosophers working in a variety of areas have embraced the ideas of the German romantics and idealists, disentangling them from false or misunderstood legacies, and reexamining them in light of contemporary debates.

In spite of this increase of interest, however, one of the key concerns of romanticism and idealism remains largely overlooked. The idea of nature, the relation between the human being and the natural world, and the notion of a philosophy of nature were, arguably, the most central and definitive concerns of philosophers around 1800. This is evident not only in Kant’s Critique of Judgment, but also in Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, Hegel’s philosophies of nature and history, Goethe’s scientific and methodological writings, Herder’s anthropology and philosophy of science, as well as Friedrich Schlegel’s and Novalis’s theoretical and poetic accounts of the natural world and the human place within it.

This conference aims to shed light on the romantic and idealist concern with nature and the philosophy of nature by posing and responding to the following questions:

  • What is the idea of nature, and what is the relation between nature and culture?
  • What is the meaning of a philosophy of nature?
  • What are the various methodologies by which to approach nature philosophically?
  • How does the philosophy of nature differ from, complement, or develop the accounts of nature offered in the sciences of the time?
  • What is the legacy of the romantic and idealist conceptions of nature?


The conference schedule can be downloaded here.

Rethinking Intellectual History

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and His Wife (Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze, 1758–1836)

Jacques Louis David, French, 1788, Oil on canvas, 102 x 76 in. 1977.10

7-9 April 2015
The University of Sydney
Sydney, Australia

The conference theme focuses on ten topic areas with the aim of stimulating discussion across disciplines about the past and future of intellectual history.

  • History of Economic Thought
  • Women and Intellectual History
  • Biography, Autobiography and the Individual Life
  • History (or Historiography) of Intellectual History and/or the History of Ideas
  • Visual Ideas and the History of Art
  • 'Ancient' and 'Modern' Debates
  • The Project and Process of Enlightenment
  • History of Science and Intellectual History
  • History of Political Thought
  • History of Legal Thought

In addition to sessions devoted to the specific conference themes, there will also be a general section, covering any aspect of intellectual history.

Click here for further details

‘Ideas and Enlightenment’ The Long Eighteenth Century

François Boucher

François Boucher, French, 1748, Oil on canvas, 116 x 133 in. 71.PA.37

10-12 December 2014
The University of Sydney

David Nichol Smith Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Studies XV

The DNS conference is the leading forum for eighteenth-century studies in Australasia. It brings together scholars from across the region and internationally who work on the long eighteenth century (1688-1815) in a range of disciplines, including history, literature, art and architectural history, philosophy, the history of science, musicology, anthropology, archaeology and studies of material culture.

Click here for further details

Sydney University Postgraduate History Conference

Nelson image

27-28 November 2014
University of Sydney

Please visit for full details and to register.

Call for Papers (PDF)

The Annual Sydney University Postgraduate History Conference, a conference run by postgraduates, for postgraduates, across all disciplines, with an historical focus.

For 2014, the committee have elected to further develop the wide scope and university affiliation of the conference in order to promote both cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue. In all, we aim to create a vibrant, collegial atmosphere for intellectual experimentation as we each consider the past, present, and future of historical inquiry.

The Image in Question: Interdisciplinary International Conference

Image in Question

Untitled, Merilyn Fairskye/Cherine Fahd. 2014

1-3 August 2014
Sydney College of the Arts
Balmain Road, Rozelle
New South Wales

Please visit for full details and to register.

Even the most ordinary image can appear or become enigmatic. Achieving the state and status of an enigma is one (modernist) view of what makes something or is characteristic of something we call a work of art. Images, be they encountered in ordinary or extraordinary contexts, provoke questions about their meaning and veracity, sometimes by putting themselves in question. Scepticism is part of the life of images, internal to any image, and played out in images in myriad ways. We now live in an image-saturated world, image-proliferating world, and further questions arise about whether images generated and disseminated at previously unheard of speeds and volume can still image meaningfully. In so far as images always project some image of the human, they are also linked up with the fate of the human, raising further questions about the future of the human as an image-making, image-projecting being. In this interdisciplinary conference we want to explore these and other questions of the image as it is encountered in various media from film and photography, to television and the internet, to various and varied forms of contemporary art. The conference will be accompanied by a gallery exhibition entitled The Sceptical Image, with works produced by Sydney College of the Arts The University of Sydney artist-researchers. These works, specifically produced for the exhibition, will respond to the theme of scepticism within the conference’s context of critical inquiry.

Nature and Culture in German Romanticism and Idealism


Click to download (PDF 402 kb)

UNSW Australia and the University of Sydney
12-14 March 2014

The last two decades can be described as witness to a genuine revival of interest in German romantic and idealist philosophy. Philosophers working in a variety of areas have embraced the ideas of the romantics and idealists, disentangling them from false or misunderstood legacies, and reexamining them in light of contemporary debates. This conference aims to advance this significant historical and philosophical research, by investigating the two most central themes in German idealist and romantic philosophy: nature and culture and their interdependence.

Precisely because of the interdisciplinary character of romanticism and idealism, the conference approaches the two movements from a number of related angles. In the first instance, the goal is to consider how various thinkers from the romantic era conceived nature and culture, and sought to harmonize the sphere of the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and the sphere of the humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), which, only some fifty years later, became fully separated. In addition, the conference seeks to investigate the interdisciplinary conception of "Geist" developed during that time, which today can be translated into "mind" as well as its various externalizations as "society", "arts", "institutions", and "culture". In these two ways, the conference will explore the uniqueness of the romantic and idealist views, and consider their potential significance for contemporary debates.

Conference organisers

Heikki Ikäheimo Heikki Ikäheimo (University of New South Wales)
Dalia Nassar (University of Sydney)
Paul Redding (University of Sydney)

Conference sponsored by the Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN) at the University of Sydney and the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW Australia.

The Enlightenment and the Development of Philosophical Anthropology

4-6 November 2013

The conference focuses on the development of various forms of anthropology in the second half of the eighteenth century, with a special focus on philosophical anthropology, as a distinct discipline that competed with metaphysics, both in scope and aim.

The birth of philosophical anthropology in the mid-eighteenth century and its development well into the nineteenth signaled a fundamental shift – not only did it emphasise the historical character of thought, but it also sought to understand the human being in context, whether biological, cultural-historical, literary or psychological. For this reason, Odo Marquard has termed it one of the “three great epochal shifts” (alongside aesthetics and the philosophy of history) in the history of modern Europe.

The main focus will be on the way in which various forms of anthropology, philosophical (Germany) but also medical (France) both contributed to and challenged the notion of “Enlightenment” in Europe. That the European Enlightenment was a contested ground is well known; however, the fact that anthropology played a fundamental role in its orientation remains an understudied topic.

Many of the papers will focus on the role that Johann Gottfried Herder played in the development of philosophical anthropology, and in examining the debate between him and his former teacher, Immanuel Kant, this conference will be one of the first to address the ways in which philosophical anthropology developed in relation to the larger project of Enlightenment in Europe.

Conference Program

Network participants

  • Stephen Gaukroger
  • Ofer Gal
  • Jennifer Milam
  • Dalia Nasar
  • Anik Waldow

Guest participants

  • Stefanie Buchenau (University of Paris VIII)
  • Nigel DeSouza (University of Ottawa)
  • Michael Forster (University of Bonn)
  • Kristin Gjesdal (Temple University)
  • Narion Heinz (University of Siegen)
  • Charles Wolfe (University of Ghent)
  • John Zammito (Rice University)

By invitation