CFP: Conjectural Histories from the Renaissance to Romanticism (3/15/06; journal issue)

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Tom Jones
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Forum for Modern Language Studies

Conjectural Histories from the Renaissance to Romanticism

A Special Issue for October 2006

Early modern writers frequently work conjectural histories into factual
history and philosophical or political discourse. Speculating on the
origins and nature of certain pre-historic social institutions such as
language and law gives a writer the opportunity to vindicate or condemn the
later development and current state of those institutions. Appeal to such
theoretical, conjectural or rational history is part of the rhetoric of
early modern writing, found as often in verse treatises as in histories,
philosophical discourses, and legal tracts. Particularly since Derrida's
attack on the assumption of such pre-historic priorities as that of speech
over writing, conjectural history has become an object of sceptical
inquiry. It is the aim of this Special Issue to investigate the breadth and
variety of the practice of conjectural history in the early modern world
(beyond as well as within Europe), and the role of conjectural historical
thought in contemporary academic discourse.

In addition to studies of the high period of conjectural history, the later
eighteenth century, and its principle authors, such as David Hume,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Gottfreid Herder, it is hoped that the
Special Issue will contain articles on both the progenitors and immediate
inheritors of this mode of thought, including work on imaginative
literature, political and economic writing, and philosophy. Papers tracing
connections between more than one writer and/or language would be
particularly welcome, as would papers that draw parallels between the
analytical processes of the early modern period and those of the
contemporary intellectual and academic world. Examples of possible topics
for papers include: the origins of language and literature; custom and
conjecture; Montesquieu; the Scottish Enlightenment; Revolution and the
origins of society; monarchy; the origin of the virtues; the natural, the
artificial and the arbitrary; natural religion; social contracts; the
origins of inequality.

Papers should be no longer than 6,000 words including endnotes, and must
conform to the FMLS stylesheet, which is available upon request. All
necessary copyright permissions must be arranged by individual authors in
advance of publication. The timescale for contributions is as follows: a
detailed proposal by May 2005; a first draft by 15 November 2005; the
definitive version by 15 March 2006. Proposals for papers should be sent to
the editor of the Special Issue: Dr Tom Jones, School of English,
University of St Andrews, St Andrews Fife KY16 9AL, Scotland. Telephone:
01334 462648; e-mail: Articles which do not find a
place in the Special Issue will be considered for inclusion in general
issues of FMLS.

Tom Jones
School of English
University of St Andrews
Fife KY16 9AL

01334 462648

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Received on Sun Apr 17 2005 - 08:30:10 EDT