Quentin Skinner

2006 Balzan Prize for Political Thought: History and Theory

For his formulation of a distinctive methodology for the study of the history of ideas, his major contribution to the history of political thought, and his acute reflections on the nature of liberty.

Quentin Skinner, born in Oldham on 26 November 1940, is a British citizen.

At present, he is Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University of London.

He received his B.A. (1962) and his M.A. (1965) from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Lecturer in History (from 1967 to 1974), Professor of Political Science (from 1979 to 1996) and Regius Professor of Modern History from 1996 to 2008. Between 1974 and 1979 he was a Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Quentin Skinner’s activity in learned societies is extensive: Member of the Research Council of the European University Institute, Florence (since 2003), Trustee of the Isaac Newton Trust of Trinity College, Cambridge (since 2004), Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society and Honorary Fellow of both Christ’s College and Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, he was President of the Cambridge Historical Society from1996 to 2008. His scholarly contributions have been recognized by numerous Honorary Degrees and Fellowships from universities all over the world. He has lectured at Universities in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Editor of the series, Ideas in Context (Cambridge University Press) and Co-editor of the series Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought (Cambridge University Press), Quentin Skinner is also Member of the Editorial Boards of the Clarendon Edition of the Complete Works of Thomas Hobbes and of the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Francis Bacon.

A prolific author, his bibliography includes over one hundred articles and books on the history of political and philosophical thought. His scholarship is available in twenty languages (Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish). A selection of his most important publications follows: 

– The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. I: The Renaissance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1978. Translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish

– The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. II: The Age of Reformation, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1978. Translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

– Machiavelli, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1981. Translated into Chinese, Czech, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish

– Philosophy in History (ed. with Richard Rorty and Jerome B. Schneewind), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984

– The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985. Translated into Greek, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish

– The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy (ed. with Charles B. Schmitt), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988

– Machiavelli, The Prince (ed., translation by Russell Price), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988

– Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics (ed. by James Tully), Cambridge, Polity Press, 1988; Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1989. Translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean

– Machiavelli and Republicanism (ed. with Gisela Bocks and Maurizio Viroli), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990

– Political Discourse in Early-modern Britain (ed. with Nicholas Phillipson), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993

– Milton and Republicanism (ed. with David Armitage and Armand Himy), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995

– Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996. Translated into Chinese, Portuguese

– Liberty before Liberalism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998. Translated into Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

– Visions of Politics, Vol. IRegarding Method, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002. Translated into Greek, Italian, Portuguese

– Visions of Politics, Vol. II: Renaissance Virtues, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002

– Visions of Politics, Vol. III: Hobbes and Civil Science, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002

– Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Vol. I: Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe (ed. with Martin Van Gelderen), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002

– Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Vol. II: The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe (ed. with Martin Van Gelderen), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002

– “A Third Concept of Liberty”, Proceedings of the British Academy, 117 (2002), pp. 237-268. Translated into Chinese, Finnish, French, Spanish

– States and Citizens: History, Theory, Prospects (ed. with Bo Stråth), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003

– Thomas Hobbes: Writings on Common Law and Hereditary Right (The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Volume XI, ed. with Alan Cromartie), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2005 

(October 2008)

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