CALL FOR PAPERS: TRAVELLING THEORISTS/THEORIES
SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON 30 JUNE-1 JULY
SOAS CENTRE FOR COMPARATIVE POLITICAL THOUGHT AND THE LONDON CPT RESEARCH GROUP
This workshop explores the myriad and perhaps mysterious ways in which theory travels. The phrase ‘travelling theory’ already puts both terms under question. What is travelling? How is it travelling? Whence is it travelling? And who produces theory and enables it to travel? The workshop is about articulating critical questions about producers, users, and diffusers of theory as well as the ethics, aesthetics, and politics of intellectual production.
The idea of travelling theories has been discussed at least since Edward Said’s well-known essays on the subject. Much of post-colonial theory emerges from the travels of critical theory and post-structuralist theory (notably the work of Foucault, Derrida, Spivak or Bhabha) to Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. This, however, can be seen to reinforce Western dominance, both as the sole source of theory, and the assumed point of departure for theory’s travel. This has been challenged in recent work that demonstrates how Western liberal theories and concepts have been shaped substantially by encounter with non-Western contexts (notably work on Mill), as well as work by comparative political theorists that examines travels from the periphery to the centre.
Our workshop asks how travel has changed the way theorists think about a particular subject; how such journeys can or should be traced back from the text, reconstructed from what may often seem as “abstract” and “universal” claims; and what forms of orientalism or exoticism are to be found in cross-cultural encounters. Furthermore, is travel necessarily an elite and bourgeois activity? Finally, how do we conceptualize the transformation of concepts and theories as a result of travel? Are notions of hybridity, vernacularization, creolization, multiculturalism, or decolonity adequate to capture what travel does to concepts and theories?
The workshop seeks to bring together scholars for a conversation that is interdisciplinary in nature and that illuminates the complex trajectories and itineraries of travel.
Please send a paper title and brief abstract (500 words maximum) to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 13 2016. Funding is available to support travel and accommodation for a limited number of participants.
Participation and registration are free but spaces are limited. Please register at email@example.com