21st International Conference on the History of Concepts

Call for papers. Interdisciplinarity: Conceptual Explorations
25–28 September 2018. University of Málaga

Conceptual history is a clearly interdisciplinary field of study. Its practice entails the critical combination of methods, techniques, and insights from different disciplines.

Not frequently thematised, this awareness has become a commonplace for conceptual historians – an apparently unproblematic assumption, yet one very rarely spelt out. The 21st International Conference on the History of Concepts aims at shifting the focus and exploring a buzzword that has been perceived as an undisputed methodological starting point or an uncontroversial rhetorical device in the practice of conceptual history.

When considered in detail, the issue raises a number of questions. Do transfers between disciplines compromise the identity of conceptual history or rather is conceptual history inherently interdisciplinary? If we agree with the latter, interdisciplinarity might be seen in a positive light. Histories of concepts are frequently eclectic and difficult to grasp from a single perspective, and interdisciplinary methods seem to match the complexity of the task.

But the gains of interdisciplinarity could also be questioned. While the terms inter-, multi-, cross-, and transdisciplinary tend to be used interchangeably, there is also the issue about their epistemic value. Interdisciplinary research can sometimes be disorienting and paralysing, particularly when it is considered merely as an end in itself. Moreover, its allegedly boundless character can be highlighted: can we constantly redraw the boundaries between disciplines only to
find out that they have become obsolete once we have finished the redesign?

From a practical point of view, should interdisciplinarity translate into an intensified debate with colleagues from other disciplines? Or else, if it is to be institutionalised, how will that link conceptual history with other fields of study?

We invite scholars working in a wide array of areas who are interested in political, social, historical, legal, and scientific concepts and their history. Possible topics upon which submissions are welcome include, but are not limited to:

– The historical configuration of disciplines
– The history of the concept of interdisciplinarity: multi-, pluri-, cross-, transdisciplinarity
– New research paths and the future of conceptual history: how emerging disciplines enrichconceptual history (for instance, digital humanities and new technologies)
– Interdisciplinary histories of concepts: study cases
– The spatial turn in conceptual history and interdisciplinarity: is the circulation of conceptsa typically interdisciplinary phenomenon?
– Interdisciplinary and history subfields. Conceptual history and other historical disciplines
such as intellectual history, social history, economic history, and cultural history

Paper and Panel Proposals
Paper proposals: short CV, titles, and up to 150-word abstracts.
Panel proposals: titles and up to 300-word abstracts, contact details and, when possible, details of
panellists as well.
Panels’ allotted time will be 120 minutes. Accordingly, they will consist either of four papers (up to 20-minute presentations) or five papers (up to 15-minute presentations) + public discussion.
Panel chairs will be appointed by the conveners of the conference.
Deadline: Please send your proposals to the e-mail address conceptualhistory2018malaga@gmail.com by Wednesday, 30 May 2018.
Communication of acceptance of proposals: during the second half of June 2018.

Registration & Programme
To ease trip and accommodation costs, there is no regular conference registration fee, except a 65
USD fee for individual participants and a 33 USD fee for students, which covers HCG
membership and a subscription to the journal Contributions to the History of Concepts, published by Berghahn.

As there will be no registration counter in the conference, registration must be done electronically before 7 September 2018 through this link

In the case of accepted papers, failure to pay the annual subscription to Contributions to the History of Concepts by Friday, 7 September 2018 will make it impossible to include them in the programme.

University of Málaga
History of Concepts Group, www.historyofconcepts.net
Civic Constellation II project (FFI2014-52703-P), www.uma.es/civicconstellation
COST Action 16211 RECAST, Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in
Europe, www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/ca/CA16211 & www.uma.es/costactionrecast

José María Rosales and Rosario López, University of Málaga

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