Friday, October 9, 2009

Call For Papers: Interdisciplinary Conference, Duke (January 2010)

Call for Papers

Taking Up Space: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Hosted by Duke History Graduate Students with Support from the Sociology Department, Latino/a Studies, and the Women's Studies Program January 29, 2010 (Abstract Submissions due November 1, 2009)

A central feature of Western scientific thought originated by René Descartes and elaborated further by physicists and mathematicians has been a notion of space as a container within which objects exist and actions take place. Despite the widespread acceptance of all-encompassing mathematical and physical space as part of our inherited common sense, scholars have increasingly questioned its relevance for the spaces of human activity. They have explored other spaces, including literary space, social space, mental space, the space of the body, racialized and gendered spaces, cities, regions, oceans and the globe. They have drawn attention to the production of spaces, the power relations imbued within them, and various ways in which space can be productive, prohibitive or instrumental for human actors. There has also been renewed attention to scholarly spatial methodology regarding scale and the appropriate distance between the research and the researched.

We invite scholars across disciplines to submit papers for a one-day conference during which we will place into dialogue a wide variety of approaches to questions of space and consider their application to historical inquiry. We specifically encourage with works in progress or at an early stage in their research, including pre-dissertation graduate students, to apply. Drawing on diverse traditions, we hope to explore how to understand the production and productive capacity of sites, locations, scales, and geographies.

Submissions to the conference could address, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:

o The production and erosion of particular spaces.

o Lived spaces and hegemonic spaces.

o Landscapes and their meanings.

o The spatial constitution of identities, politics and knowledges.

o Relations between Mathematical, physical, mental and social space.

o Capitalist structures, creative destruction and alternative or oppositional
economic spaces.

o Money, capital and the trend toward eliminating spatial differentiation.

o Fixed investments in space.

o Modern, premodern and postmodern spaces.

o Mobility, territory, nationalism and community.

o Geographic scales, social topography, cartography and globalization.

o Ideologies of space.

o Racial, class and gender power relations embodied in landscape.

o Social movements and public space.

o Environmental histories of natural and built environments and ecosystems.

o Uneven development and disruptions of historical periodizations.

o The history of science and technology.

o Scholarly distancing and other spatial methodologies.

The conference will consist of panels organized around specific questions with a commenter. Please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words by November 1, 2009, to Patrick McElwee at Those selected will be notified
by November 15, 2009. The conference will take place at Duke University on Friday, January 29, 2010.

Patrick McElwee
Duke University
Department of History

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