Work on the intellectual history of philosophy, rights and politics is a palimpsest of many underlying inscriptions. Such work is written upon and with (or against) the historical legal, political and religious orders characteristic of national settlements and transnational networks. It is also written on top of unresolved intellectual and ideological conflicts that materially affect the flows of scholarship. Also visible just beneath the surface of such writing are the scholarly networks through which reflection on the history of national and transnational legal and political thought is shaped by academic affiliation, disciplinary training, publication outlets, intellectual and ideological commitments, and friendships. The papers collected in this volume are all to some degree tied to a particular, if loose and expansive scholarly network whose two poles were initially formed by Sussex School intellectual history and Cambridge School history of political thought. The book grew out of a symposium dedicated to honouring the work of Knud Haakonssen in the history of natural law, natural rights, human rights, religion and politics from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. That an expatriate Danish scholar should have played a pivotal role in this network might seem surprising at first sight. Nonetheless, the fact that Haakonssen’s orbital career moves through so many mediating points – crossing national, disciplinary, intellectual and ideological borders – holds the key to viewing the present array of chapters, each of which is tethered to the network at a particular point in Haakonssen’s scholarly transit. The collection thus offers an unusually wide and variegated overview of the legal and political contexts in which rights and duties have been formulated, bringing together an array of regional, national and transnational cases. Nonetheless, these cases and contexts remain centred on Knud Haakonssen’s trademark interests in the role of natural law in formulating doctrines of obligation and rights in accordance with the interests of early modern polities and churches. ...
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