About us

The Ideas & Universities project explores the way in which ideas have found institutional expression in universities from the emergence of the earliest European universities in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries until today. The project considers ideas about how the mind works, how people learn, how people generate new knowledge, how we divide knowledge into different subjects or disciplines, how the lifestyle of intellectuals shapes their thinking, and what relationship intellectuals should have with the societies in which they live.

It also looks at the governance of universities (their constitutional structures and where the power to make decisions is located), their internal structures (departments, schools, faculties, etc.), curriculum, teaching methods, and the relationship between teaching and research. Crucially the project explores the relationship between these ideas and these institutional aspects of universities in different places at different times.

The project is interdisciplinary, with the changing relationship between the sciences and the humanities, a key theme. The opportunity to compare the intellectual cultures of European, North American, Australian and Chinese universities, through the WUN membership is very exciting.


Mr Ian Wei
Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of Historical Studies
University of Bristol
13 Woodland Road
Bristol, BS8 1TB, UK
Email: Ian.P.Wei@bristol.ac.uk

Professor Adam Nelson
Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies and History
University of Wisconsin-Madison
WI 52706, USA
Email: anelson@education.wisc.edu

Dr Conny Lippert
IAS/WUN Research Development Officer
University of Bristol
Royal Fort House
Bristol BS8 1UJ, UK
Email: ias-admin@bristol.ac.uk