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Quentin Robert Duthie Skinner (born 26 November 1940, Oldham, Lancashire)[1] is the Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University of London and an influential intellectual historian.

Biography[edit]

Quentin Skinner was born the second son of Alexander Skinner, CBE (died 1979), and Winifred Rose Margaret, née Duthie (died 1982). Educated at Bedford School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, he was elected into a Fellowship there in 1962 upon obtaining a double-starred First in History, but immediately gained a teaching Fellowship at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he remained until moving to the University of London in 2008. He is now an Honorary Fellow of both Christ's College and Gonville and Caius College.

In the middle 1970s he spent four formative years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. It was there that he met Raymond Geuss, later a colleague at Cambridge. Together with John Dunn and J. G. A. Pocock Skinner has been said to have founded the "Cambridge School" of the history of political thought. In 1978 he was appointed to the chair of Political Science at the University of Cambridge, and in 1996 he was appointed Regius Professor of History. He was pro-vice-chancellor of Cambridge in 1999. In 1979 he married Susan James, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London; they have a daughter and a son.

Skinner has delivered many prestigious lecture-series, including the Christian Gauss Seminars in Criticism at Princeton (1980), the Carlyle Lectures at Oxford (1980), the Messenger Lectures at Cornell (1983), the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Harvard (1984), the T. S. Eliot Memorial Lectures at Kent (1995), the Ford Lectures at Oxford (2003), the Clarendon Lectures at Oxford (2011) and the Clark Lectures at Cambridge (2012).

Skinner was Distinguished Visiting Professor at Queen Mary, University of London for the 2007–2008 academic year, and has been Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary since October 2008.[2]

Skinner is a Fellow of numerous scholarly associations, including the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Europaea, the American Philosophical Society and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and his scholarship has won him many awards, including the Wolfson History Prize (1979); the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize of the British Political Studies Association (2006); the Benjamin Lippincott Award (2001) and the David Easton Award (2007) of the American Political Science Association; the Bielefelder Wissenschaftspreis (2008); and a Balzan Prize (2006). He holds honorary degrees from many Universities, including Aberdeen, Athens, East Anglia, Chicago, Harvard, Helsinki, Leuven, Oslo, Oxford, Santiago and St Andrews. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Balzan Prize Committee.

Academia[edit]

Skinner's historical writings have been characterised by an interest in recovering the ideas of Early Modern and previous political writers. This has been spread over Renaissance republican authors (see in Principal publications below, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought [1978]), the 'pre-Humanist' dictatores of later medieval Italy, Machiavelli, and more recently (in Liberty before Liberalism [1998]) the English republicans of the mid-seventeenth century (including John Milton, James Harrington, and Algernon Sidney). The work of the 1970s and 1980s was in good part directed towards writing an account of the history of the modern idea of the state. In more recent publications he has preferred the more capacious term 'neo-Roman' to 'republican'.

He is generally regarded as one of the two principal members of the influential 'Cambridge School' of the study of the history of political thought. The other principal member of this school is the historian J.G.A. Pocock, whose The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (1957) was a significant early influence. Another important stimulus came from the work of Peter Laslett, and more particularly from Laslett's decisive edition of John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1960) which Skinner read as an undergraduate in his second year at Cambridge.

The 'Cambridge School' is best known for its attention to the 'languages' of political thought and the contextual focus this gives its distinctive blend of intellectual history and the history of political thought.[3] Skinner's particular contribution was to articulate a theory of interpretation which concentrated on recovering the 'speech acts' embedded in the 'illocutionary' statements of specific individuals in writing works of political theory (Machiavelli, Thomas More, and Thomas Hobbes have been continuing preoccupations). This work was based on Skinner's study of the philosophical preoccupations of J. L. Austin and the later Wittgenstein. One of the consequences of this account of interpretation is an emphasis on the necessity of studying less well-known political writers as a means of shedding light on the classic authors - although it also consciously questions the extent to which it is possible to distinguish 'classic' texts from the contexts, and particularly the arguments, in which they originally occurred and as such it is an attack on the uncritical assumption that political classics are monolithic and free-standing. In its earlier versions this added up to what many have seen as a persuasive critique on the approach of an older generation, particularly on that of Leo Strauss.

Skinner's longstanding concern with the speech acts of political writing helps explain his turn at the beginning of the 1990s towards the role of neo-classical rhetoric in early modern political theory, which resulted in his study of Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (1996). Skinner has since returned to what has often been seen as an enduring interest to the Regius Professors of History at the University of Cambridge (not least Lord Acton), the history of liberty and particular developing what he has articulated as a 'third form of liberty'. This can most effectively be described as a form of 'negative' liberty (or neo-Roman) which is characterised however by the active participation in government to remain free from interference and the slavery caused by succumbing to an arbitrary power.[4] Recently (2008) he published an analysis of the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes as a polemical retort to those who, in the English civil war, espoused precisely such a 'neo-Roman' concept of human freedom.[5] Currently he is working on a monograph on Shakespeare and Rhetorical Invention for Oxford University Press to be published in 2014 which develops his lectures of the same name presented at Oxford and Cambridge in 2011 and 2012.[6]

Miscellany[edit]

In an interview with Professor Alan Macfarlane of King's College, Skinner revealed that he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, a secret society of Cambridge University. He also revealed that Amartya Sen was a fellow member at this time. He commented they were both 'outed' some time ago.

On 6 October 1995, Skinner's two-volume The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (1978) appeared on The Times Literary Supplement "100 Most Influential Books Since World War II".[7]

Principal publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Books edited[edit]

  • (Co-editor and contributor), Philosophy, Politics and Society: Fourth Series (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1972) ISBN 978-0-631-14410-6
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Philosophy in History (Cambridge University Press, 1984) ISBN 978-0-521-27330-5
  • (Editor and contributor), The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 1985) ISBN 978-0-521-39833-6
  • (Co-editor and contributor), The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 1988) ISBN 978-0-521-25104-4
  • (Co-editor), Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. Russell Price) (Cambridge University Press, 1988) ISBN 978-0-521-34993-2
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Machiavelli and Republicanism (Cambridge University Press, 1990) ISBN 978-0-521-43589-5
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Political Discourse in Early-modern Britain (Cambridge University Press, 1993) ISBN 978-0-521-39242-6
  • (Co-editor) Milton and Republicanism (Cambridge University Press, 1995) ISBN 978-0-521-64648-2
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Volume I: Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2002) ISBN 978-0-521-67235-1
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Volume II: The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2002) ISBN 978-0-521-67234-4
  • (Co-editor and contributor), States and Citizens: History, Theory, Prospects (Cambridge University Press, 2003) ISBN 978-0-521-53926-5
  • (Co-editor), Thomas Hobbes: Writings on Common Law and Hereditary Right (The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Volume XI) (The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2005) ISBN 978-0-19-923623-7
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Sovereignty in Fragments: The Past, Present and Future of a Contested Concept (Cambridge University Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-107-00004-9
  • (Editor) Families and States in Western Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0-521-12801-8
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Freedom and the Construction of Europe, Volume I: Religious Freedom and Civil Liberty (Cambridge University Press, 2013) ISBN 978-1-107-03306-1
  • (Co-editor and contributor), Freedom and the Construction of Europe, Volume II: Free Persons and Free States (Cambridge University Press, 2013) ISBN 978-1-107-03307-8

Interviews[edit]

  • 1997: 'An Interview with Quentin Skinner', Cogito 11, pp. 69–78 doi:10.5840/cogito19971122
  • 2000a: 'Intervista a Quentin Skinner: Conseguire la libertà promuovere l'uguaglianza', Il pensiero mazziniano 3, pp. 118–22
  • 2000b: 'Entrevista: Quentin Skinner' in As muitas faces da história, ed. Maria Lúcia Pallares-Burke, Brazilia, pp. 307–39 ISBN 978-85-7139-307-3 [Trans. in The New History: Confessions and Conversations, ed. Maria Lúcia Pallares-Burke, Cambridge, 2003 ISBN 978-0-7456-3021-2]
  • 2001: 'Quentin Skinnerin haastattelu', Niin & Näin 31, pp. 8–23
  • 2002: 'Encountering the Past: An Interview with Quentin Skinner' Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought [Redesciptions Yearbook of Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory] 6, pp. 32–63
  • 2003: 'La Libertà Politica ed il Mestiere dello Storico: Intervista a Quentin Skinner', Teoria Politica 19, pp. 177–85
  • 2006: 'Historia intellectual y acción política: Una entrevista con Quentin Skinner', Historia y Política 16, pp. 237–58
  • 2007a: 'Neither text, nor context: An interview with Quentin Skinner', Groniek: Historisch Tijdschrift 174, pp. 117–33 ISBN 978-90-72918-66-6
  • 2007b: 'La Historia de mi Historia: Una Entrevista con Quentin Skinner', El giro contextual: Cinco ensayos de Quentin Skinner y seis comentarios, ed. Enrique Bocardo Crespo, Madrid, pp. 45–60.
  • 2007c: 'Intellectual History, Liberty and Republicanism: An Interview with Quentin Skinner', Contributions to the History of Concepts 3, pp. 102–23 doi:10.1163/180793207X209093
  • 2008: 'Concepts only have histories', interview with Quentin Skinner by Emmanuelle Tricoire and Jacques Levy, EspacesTemps, document 3692
  • 2009a: 'Making History; The Discipline in Perspective: Interview with Professor Quentin Skinner', Storia e Politica, 1, pp. 113–34.
  • 2009b: 'Wie frei sind wir wirklich?' Fragen an Quentin Skinner', Zeitschrift fűr Ideengeschichte 3, pp. 5–21.
  • 2012a: Prokhovnik, Raia. "Approaching political theory historically: an interview with Quentin Skinner.". In Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia. Dialogues with contemporary political theorists. Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 181–196. ISBN 978-0-230-30305-8 
  • 2012b : 'On Politics and History: A Discussion with Quentin Skinner, Francisco Quijano and Georgios Giannakopoulos, Journal of Intellectual History and Political Thought 1.1, pp. 7–31 ISSN 2051–6959 [Spanish: 'Historia y política en perspectiva: Entrevista a Quentin Skinner', Signos Filosóficos, 15 (29):167-191 ISSN 1665–1324]

Bibliography[edit]

  • 1988: James Tully (Editor), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics (Polity Press and Princeton University Press) ISBN 978-0-691-02301-4
  • 1995: M. Edling and U. Morkenstam, 'Quentin Skinner: From Historian of Ideas to Political Scientist', Scandinavian Political Studies 18, pp. 119–32 doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.1995.tb00158.x
  • 1996: 'Dossier Quentin Skinner', Krisis 64.
  • 2001: 'Quentin Skinner og Intellektuel Historie', Slagmark: Special Number (33) ISSN 1904–8602
  • 2003a: Kari Palonen, Quentin Skinner: History, Politics, Rhetoric (Cambridge: Polity Press) ISBN 978-0-7456-2856-1
  • 2003b: Kari Palonen, Die Entzauberung der Begriffe: Das Umschreiben der politischen Begriffe bei Quentin Skinner und Reinhart Koselleck (Münster) ISBN 978-3-8258-7222-9
  • 2006: Annabel Brett and James Tully (Editors), Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) ISBN 978-0-521-61503-7
  • 2007a: Emile Perreau-Saussine, 'Quentin Skinner in context', Review of Politics, 68, pp. 106–122 doi:10.1017/S0034670507000332
  • 2007b: Enrique Bocardo Crespo (Editor), El giro contextual: Cinco ensayos de Quentin Skinner y seis comentarios (Madrid: Editorial Tecnos) ISBN 978-84-309-4550-4
  • 2007c: Michael Drolet, 'Quentin Skinner and Jacques Derrida on Power and the State', History of European Ideas, 33, pp. 234–55 doi:10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2006.11.003
  • 2008: Ryan Walter, 'Reconciling Foucault and Skinner on the state: the primacy of politics?' History of the Human Sciences, 21, pp. 94–114 doi:10.1177/0952695108093955
  • 2009a: Richard Fisher '"How to do things with books": Quentin Skinner and the dissemination of ideas', History of European Ideas 35, pp. 276–80 doi:10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2008.11.001
  • 2009b: Frank Beck Lassen and Mikkel Thorup (Editors), Quentin Skinner: Politik og historie: En tekstsamling (Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag) ISBN 978-87-412-5267-4
  • 2010: Marco Geuna, 'Quentin Skinner e Machiavelli' in Anglo-American Faces of Machiavelli, ed. A. Arienzo and G. Borrelli, Milano, pp. 577–622 ISBN 978-88-7699-141-7
  • 2012a: Salvatore Muscolino, Linguaggio, storia e politica: Ludwig Wittgenstein eQuentin Skinner (Palmermo: Saladino) ISBN 978-88-95346-17-5
  • 2012b: Journal of the History of Ideas Symposium: On Quentin Skinner, from Method to Politics doi:10.1353/jhi.2012.0000

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Skinner — Please support Wikipedia.
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76780 videos foundNext > 

A Genealogy of the State: Quentin Skinner

Quentin Skinner of Queen Mary College, University of London, presents the second lecture of a two-lecture series.

Quentin Skinner. On the Liberty of Republics.

http://www.eu.spb.ru/index/news-archive/2012/9021-en-res-publica-center-workshop.

How Machiavellian was Machiavelli? Public lecture by Quentin Skinner

Professor Quentin Skinner delivered a public lecture at the University of York, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the composition of Niccolò Machia...

Quentin Skinner: "A Genealogy of Liberty"

Quentin Skinner presented his lecture as the 2008-2009 Una's Lecturer at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley. Skinner is Barber Beaumon Chair...

Interview of Professor Quentin Skinner - part 2

nterview with the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University on his life and work in 2008. For a downloadable version and textual summary, please se...

Interview of Professor Quentin Skinner - part 1

Interview with the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University on his life and work in 2008. For a downloadable version and textual summary, please s...

How Should We Think About Freedom? | Quentin Skinner

Quentin Skinner Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University of London November 8, 2013 In this lecture, Quentin Skinner, Barber Beau...

Professor Quentin Skinner: So, what does freedom mean to us?

So What? lecture delivered on Thursday 30th August 2012.

A Genealogy of Freedom: Quentin Skinner

Quentin Skinner of Queen Mary College, University of London, presents the first lecture of a two-lecture series.

Quentin Skinner: Word and image in the philosophy of Hobbes

Lecture delivered at the Warburg Institute on 21 November 2012 Best watched in HD.

76780 videos foundNext > 

4 news items

Telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph.co.uk
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:00:00 -0700

... have bent the traditional modus operandi of leaving this to the Speaker, in order to protect the well-established workings of the House of Commons. Quentin Skinner Warminster, Wiltshire. SIR – Thank goodness for Baroness Boothroyd, the former ...
 
SCOTUSblog (blog)
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:47:17 -0700

Since 1976, notables such as Michel Foucault, Amy Gutman, Martha Nussbaum, Karl Popper, Richard Posner, John Rawls, Richard Rorty, Salmon Rushdie, Judith Shklar, Quentin Skinner, and Laurence Tribe, among others, have delivered these prestigious ...
 
Canada Free Press
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 04:57:40 -0700

The St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, on August 24, 1572, put the French Calvinists, or Huguenots of France, in a precarious position, according to Quentin Skinner in The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. 2: The Age of Reformation. Up to the ...
 
Il Sole 24 Ore
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 23:20:42 -0700

In tempi successivi a Rubinstein, Quentin Skinner ha suggerito di cercare le fonti di letteratura politica dell'affresco non tanto nel pensiero aristotelico-tomista, ma in quello di Cicerone e della vasta letteratura comunale sulle libertà repubblicane ...
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