Introduction What Do Ideas Do?

JVF Conference Papers

The theme of this year’s Junior Fellows’ Conference, held in December of 2013, was “Reflections on the Role of Ideas and Agency in Europe.”

This is an important time to bring to the fore the interplay between human thought and human action, given the inadequacy of the great ideological systems which have remade (and continue to remake) Central and Eastern Europe over the past century. As the latest events in Ukraine testify, simple prescriptions for or dismissals of the centrality of ideas to historical action caricature the aspirations for which people both live and die.

In this issue of the Proceedings of the Junior Fellows’ Conference, the fellows of the IWM propose fruitful ways of approaching the question of the relationships between our mental constructs and our worlds—and what we choose to do about them.

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Agata Lisiak (Editor),
Natalie Smolenski (Editor)