John Toews chaired the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID) from 1982-2010. Through his pioneering efforts the program has become one of the leading interdisciplinary undergraduate majors in the country.
In addition to building up the Comparative History of Ideas Program, Toews's own scholarly work was recognized with a fellowship prize in 1984 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation--one of the famed "genius grants."
His book, Hegelianism: The Path Toward Dialectical Humanism, concerns the reconstruction of the historical contexts and trajectories of nineteenth century German thought in the tradition that evolves from Kant and Hegel to Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche. His work placed the transformation and differentiation of this stream of thought within the historical context of early nineteenth century academic intellectuals adapting to the pressures of secularization and social modernization.
His most recent book is Becoming Historical: Cultural Reformation and Public Memory in Early Nineteenth-Century Berlin (Cambridge University Press, 2004). Toews studies the historical consciousness that emerged from early nineteenth-century breaks with tradition and shaped the development of new forms of personal and collective identity. This book examines the stages and conflicts involved in “becoming historical" through the works of prominent Prussian artists and intellectuals who attached their personal visions to the reformist agenda of the Prussian regime that took power in 1840.
- Toews, John E. "Thinking Historically When the Margins Become the Center: Intellectual History As Historical Critique in Martin Jay's Essays from the Edge." History & Theory. 51.3 (2012).
- Toews, John E. "Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme." American Historical Review. 111.1 (2006).
- Toews, John E. Becoming Historical: Cultural Reformation and Public Memory in Early Nineteenth-Century Berlin. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
- Toews, John E., Ed. The Communist Manifesto: With Related Documents, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999.
- Toews, John E. "Refashioning the Masculine Subject in Early Modernism: Narratives of Self-Dissolution and Self-Construction in Psychoanalysis and Literature, 1900-1914." Modernism/modernity. 4.1 (1997): 31-67.
- Toews, John E. "Intellectual History After the Linguistic Turn: the Autonomy of Meaning and the Irreducibility of Experience." American Historical Review. 92.4 (1987).
- Toews, John E. Hegelianism: The Path Toward Dialectical Humanism, 1805-1841. Cambridge [Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1980.
Research Advised: Undergraduate Senior Theses
- DiStefano, Anna. Wasted, High and Horny: A Look into Stereotypical College Life and Why it Happens. 2010.
- O'Connor, Scott. Film and Theory: The Present Colonial Identity. 2009.
- Martinez, Michael. The Value of Philosophy. 2006.
- Rosen, Lindsay Michel. A Mindful Approach To Depression. 2006.
- Avery, Raven. Reforming The Educational Environment Inequality and possibility in contemporary public schools. 2006.
- CHID 390 A: Colloquium In The History Of Ideas Corporate U: Rethinking the University in the Context of the Neoliberal Assault on Public Higher Education (Course Website)
- CHID 498 C: Special Colloquia Corporate U: Rethinking the University in the Context of the Neoliberal Assault on Public Higher Education (Course Website)
- CHID 314 A: The Psychoanalytic Revolution In Historical Perspective Freud and the Psychoanalytic Revolution in Historical Perspective (Course Website)
Study Abroad Programs
Berlin the City as Media: Space Memory and the Urban Landscape
- “…you can’t build something new with just anger... but it gets you moving” - November 2, 2018
- Letter from the Director - April 29, 2016
- A Brief History of John Toews - April 12, 2016
- John Toews is retiring. Come help CHID celebrate him! - January 14, 2016
- Letter from the Director - November 22, 2015
- Toews' Lecture on "Cultural Death and Radical Hope" Now Online - January 7, 2015