Political thought is undoubtedly one of the most original products generated by European culture – perhaps the most ‘European’ of all. The historical study of this great heritage – its contents, values and teaching, both as evolving from, and an inspiration for our political institutions – is crucial for developing critical appraisals of politics and society in Europe at the outset of the twenty-first century.
Over the past few decades, the history of political thought has established itself as an important field of scholarship in most European countries. At the same time, it is often studied in a national perspective, or integrated into other disciplines, such as political science, law, philosophy, or history (especially modern and contemporary). We believe that for both academic and other reasons it is desirable to further and expand the transformations that are already under way in these two respects. The ESHPT encourages, and provides both a platform and incentives for, the increasing autonomy of the study of the history of political thought, and the growth of comparative and transnational approaches in it through a structured international, inter-regional and inter-generational dialogue. We are convinced that this agenda is not only indispensable for preserving the dynamism of the academic study of the field, but also for the political future of our continent.