Crossing Boundaries: Rethinking the Humanities across Disciplines
Online event (hybrid format), 2-3 December 2022
Deadline for proposals: 26 November 2022
Continually being transformed, the humanities have expanded into a discursive field of trends, movements, and methodologies that have appropriated the thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints from social and other sciences by transgressing and crossing traditional boundaries, limitations, and demarcations. The humanities which traditionally include the study of disciplines such as language, literature, arts, history, culture, and philosophy rarely prove to be “disciplined” as each one often tends to encroach upon prescribed and reserved territories of other disciplines not traditionally humanities labeled. “Classical humanistic disciplines,” Claus Emmeche, David Budtz Pedersen, and Frederik Stjernfelt point out, “are increasingly interacting with societal fields and investigating socio-economic challenges, such as globalization, multiculturalism, equality, democracy, security and health” (Mapping Frontier Research in the Humanities, 3). This crossing over cannot be limited to the related fields in the humanities. Mikhail Epstein claims that all the fields in the sciences, such as “mathematics, cybernetics, informatics, cognitive science, semiotics, neuropsychology, and the theory and practice of artificial intelligence … depend upon the humanities’ focus on the self-reflexivity of any consciousness—be it that of God, human, or machine” (Transformative Humanities 10). The humanities, in other words, appear to dwell in a continually expanding field of borderless interaction with all disciplines which inform our knowledge of the world and determine the perspectives employed in considering the subject and the object of studies that overlap in the humanities. Epstein also proposes an interpretation of how the humanities need to be viewed when he introduced a term made of the meaning of boundaries. The term “infinition” blends “definition and infinity (both from Latin finis, meaning ‘a boundary’)” to denote “indefinite definition.” Infinition, he asserts, is “for the humanities what the transcendental number … is for mathematics: an endless approximation to, and escape from, discrete definition” (Epstein 112). Yet, borderlines and limits, Frank Furedi reminds us, “serve as an invitation for their transcendence [and] we need borders both for the realisation of existential security as well as for providing a starting point for acts of transcendence (Why Borders Matter, 11).
The aim of the conference is to provide space for discussion focusing on the significance of boundaries, real and symbolic, and how they reinforce our knowledge and understanding of the meaning of and the practice in the humanities – from crossing the borders on the political map to the problematization of literary and theoretical canons to theorizing the enunciations of intertextuality to the discussion of the linguistic and social parameters of polyglossia and transculturalism, and to practical approaches to teaching culture, literature, language, and media literacy in the digital world.
We are looking for answers to the following questions:
- How do boundaries affect the meaning and interpretation of any cultural production since the object and the subject of study coincide in the humanities?
- How do culture, media, language, and literature make sense of boundaries and limitations? Are boundaries and border zones ontologically essential in the humanities?
- Does the meaning and perception of the humanities change in the context of dialogue between the disciplines and how?
- Are the humanities originally a product of mutually exclusive or complementary disciplines?
- Do overcoming and crossing boundaries create new boundaries?
- If the humanities form a field of discussion with broken borders or borderless terrains/liminal spaces, can humanity live without them? How far do the borders of the borders go?
- How do postmodern critiques, such as deconstruction, postcoloniality, and the variety of posthuman ideas disrupt/subvert existing interpretations of texts and cultural phenomena?
- How do specific works and authors, media narratives, philosophical texts, and linguistic phenomena discuss/make use of boundaries, limitations, and borders as part of the discussion on the interdisciplinarity of the humanities? How do these cross the boundaries, borderlines, and borders of existing and established disciplines?
We invite submissions of abstracts for papers discussing various aspects of Humanities – Society – Sciences and their enunciations of boundaries, including, but not limited to, literature, language, linguistics, culture, social science, and information technology.
The languages of the conference are English and Bulgarian, but submissions of proposals in other languages will also be considered.
The conference is planned to be in a hybrid format (in-person and online). Presentations will be approximately 15-20 minutes, each followed by a 10-minute discussion.
Please submit your presentation abstract (150-250 words).
The deadline for proposals is 26 November 2022
Please send your proposals to the following email: email@example.com
Associate professor Dr. Alexandra Glavanakova: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Galina Avramova: email@example.com
Dr. Vesselin Budakov: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Posted 21 September 2022)
METU British Novelists International Conference: Wilkie Collins And His Work
Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 8-9 December 2022
Extended deadline for abstracts: 16 September 2022
METU British Novelists International Conference: Wilkie Collins And His Work
8-9 December 2022
Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
The Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University is pleased to announce the call for its 26th British Novelists Conference, the theme of which is “Wilkie Collins and His Work.” The conference will be held on 8-9 December, 2022 in Ankara, Turkey.
The keynote speaker is Professor Andrew Mangham from the University of Reading, the Department of English Literature. Prof. Mangham’s research interests are the intersection between literature and medicine, the gothic, realism, ideas of sexuality and health, real crime, and popular fiction. His publications include Literature and Medicine in the Nineteenth Century (CUP, 2021), The Cambridge
Companion to Sensation Fiction (CUP, 2013), and Wilkie Collins: Interdisciplinary Essays (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007). Prof. Mangham is also the founder and director of the Centre for Health Humanities.
We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations on any aspect of Wilkie Collins’s work. Interdisciplinary and comparative approaches as well as studies focusing on broader topics such as Wilkie Collins’s work and the Victorian period, sensation fiction, detective fiction are also welcome. Selected papers may be considered for publication in a book volume or a journal issue.
Please send abstracts of about 250 words and a short academic bio to email@example.com by 16 September 2022. Please include your name, institutional affiliation, and contact information in your submission. All submitted abstracts will go through a blind peer-review process.
Queries can be directed to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hülya Yıldız Bağçe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about the conference and its venue can be found at: http://www.britishnovelists.metu.edu.tr/index.htm
(Posted 20 April 2022)
“The British working class since the 18th century – Identity(-ies), representations, (re)definition” – International Conference
Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, 15-16 December 2022
New deadline: 30th June 2022.
By the mid-19th century, workingmen were already such a well-established socio-economic group in Britain that Marx and Engels were adamant that the country would be the first to witness the rise of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.
However, the dramatic shift they advocated never happened even as the workers’ movement went from strength to strength in terms of organisation and commitment towards addressing the consequences of all manner of crises taking place on a rather regular basis.
Despite these bitter and sometimes long-drawn-out industrial disputes (e.g. the so-called ‘hunger marches’ of the 1920s and 1930s, or the large-scale strikes in the coal-mining sector in the early 1970s and the mid-1980s), the working class seems to have eventually withered to such an extent that John Prescott, the former Labour deputy Prime Minister, and a workingman’s son, felt justified in saying in 1997: ‘We are all middle class now’.
Does this then mean that there is nothing, or little, left today of a social group that was inevitably conspicuous in days gone by not only on account of its involvement in extractive industry, manufacturing, land and sea transport, and so on, but also due to its very presence in the urban environment (working-class districts and leisure activities, accents, speech patterns, clothes, etc.)? Or is John Prescott’s pronouncement purely normative, i.e. the archetype of an external viewpoint? Besides, is it not a fact that dealing with ‘the workers’ or ‘the working class’ has always consisted in expressing a specific viewpoint, inspired either by a sense of pride and respect or by pure distrust, without regard to that socio-professional category’s objective characteristics?
All these terms, nowadays, may sound old-fashioned, even stigmatising, while the word ‘worker’, which in this day and age basically means the same as ‘wage-earner’ or ‘employee’, tends to cloud the issue. On the other hand, what about the use by e.g. the managers of a major e-commerce company of the word ‘associate(s)’ to refer to those shop-floor employees who, in fact, generally perform tiring, repetitive, low-skilled and poorly-paid tasks, i.e. tasks typical of those carried out by the ‘workers’ of yesteryear?
Which probably brings us back to the beginning of this overview: indeed, understood as the outcome of a disadvantageous power relationship within the economic sphere, the working class seems therefore not to have disappeared since it is an integral part of that relationship.
Thus, a multitude of further issues arises:
- What objective links might there be between the past and the present of
‘workers’ in Britain?
- If they have not died out, can it be argued that their lifestyle has endured? But if so, in what form today? And haven’t certain of its features (dialects, consumption habits, pastimes, etc.) been more lasting than others?
- Has this way of life been impacted by fragmentation not only on account of the destructuring of traditional economic activities, in particular from the 1970s, but also due to immigration? And if it has, how specific
is this situation to our own time and age?
- Wouldn’t the phrase ‘the working classes’, therefore, be more appropriate?
- Last but not least, have the transformations briefly mentioned above changed the way this class, or these ‘classes’, has/have been perceived, whatever the forms of the perceptions: literary, artistic, politically engaged, or otherwise?
We welcome submissions by 30 June 2022. They should be sent to
- Didier Revest <Didier.REVEST@univ-cotedazur.fr> and
- Ruxandra Pavelchievici <Ruxandra.PAVELCHIEVICI@univ-cotedazur.fr>
and contain the following elements:
- author(s), institutional affiliation, contact email(s);
- abstract (300 words maximum);
- a short biographical note
Confirmed guest speaker:
Professor Selina Todd (St Hilda’s College,
Registration fees: 20€
(Posted 7 February 2022)