Study Centre

The Centre for the History of Renaissance Knowledge is a unit of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) and its establishment was envisaged in the programme of the ERC project “From East to West, and Back Again: Student Travel and Transcultural Knowledge Production in Renaissance Europe (c. 1470-c. 1620)” led by Professor Valentina Lepri.

Housed in the Staszic Palace, the Centre aims at supporting a long-lasting collaboration among scholars; disseminating knowledge and Renaissance Studies; preparing the next generation of scholars by providing educational opportunities and financial and other support.


The research ground of the Centre is the history of knowledge in the Renaissance period, where the term knowledge brings together ideas and a wide range of human experiences. Scholars based at the Centre are going to explore the transformation processes of philosophical, political, religious, and artistic doctrines and ideas, depending on the various cultural environments in which they circulated. A crucial purpose is also to challenge a crystallised historical view that has divided Renaissance Europe between regions of intense intellectual flourishing and others mainly subject to external influences. Research has begun to call this vision into question in the last decades and the Centre is going to make a key contribution to pointing out a more complex narrative of the epoch, where all European intellectual milieus are acknowledged in their own right and for their specific role in the shaping of modernity.

The Centre intends to carry out its activities in an international context, taking as reference and potential partners institutions of established prestige in the field of the Early Modern intellectual history.

The Centre recovers, in its essence, the consolidated tradition of studies of the Warsaw School of History of Ideas, a unique intellectual experience which flourished within the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the PAS in the post-war period. This intellectual experience has evolved over the decades, delivering to a constellation of brilliant scholars of Renaissance studies an approach that applies a range of methodological tools. Remarkable fruits of such an approach came from, among others, the work of Juliusz Domański, Zbigniew Ogonowski, and Lech Szczucki, which also fostered the publication of critical editions, monographs, and lectures pivoting on the history of philosophy, as well as Renaissance and Reformation history.

The main goal of the Centre is to enhance this research experience by making it grow through a new and international generation of scholars. In order to achieve this goal, three paths are currently followed:
1. Supporting research by hosting scholars at the Centre;
2. Sponsoring a program of open access publications on Renaissance studies and on the history of knowledge;
3. Developing a multi-level educational plan.


On September 12, 2021, the Statute of the Centre for the History of Renaissance Knowledge was officially approved and signed by the Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Its content in English can be found here, and the Polish version here.