3rd Global Conference: Intellectuals - Knowledge, Power, Ideas (May 2010: Prague, Czech Republic)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Rob Fisher/Inter-Disciplinary.Net

3rd Global Conference

Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, Ideas

Thursday 6th May – Saturday 8th May 2010

Prague, Czech Republic

Call for Papers

Following last year's successful second conference, the Intellectuals:
Knowledge, Power, Ideas Project will hold its Third Annual Conference in
Prague in May 2010. The conference is a keystone of the 'Intellectuals'
Inter-Disciplinary.Net project that seeks to explore the role,
character, nature and place of intellectuals and intellectual work in
contemporary society.

This conference seeks to explore the role, character, nature and place
of intellectuals and intellectual work in contemporary society. Whilst
the 'intellectual' emerges as a particular category with the development
of modernity, the 'knowledgeable' and knowledge producers have been an
important historical agent and social actor since the early Greek
philosophers, and knowledge production, whether religious, scientific or
philosophical, has been important in shaping social, political, economic
and cultural change. Intellectuals and the knowledge they produce have
been subject to competing representations: from an 'elect' producing
knowledge for its own sake to different forms of philosopher king,
servant of the state or dissenting movement intellectuals connecting
politically with change in the social world. In contemporary 'knowledge'
societies, much of the focus on the intellectual as a 'public' figure,
residing within the media intelligentsia or institutions of higher
learning, but competing theories of intellectuals and their work
identify elitist, meritocratic and radical alternatives about who
intellectuals are, what they do, how they are connected to and divided
from other social institutions, and why we understand them the way we do.

The Project underpinning this inaugural conference seeks to build, by
annual conferences and network activity, both an evidenced and critical
understanding of the intellectual and intellectual work in the past and
a critical understanding of intellectuals and intellectual work in the
present, and its prospects for the future. In doing so, it recognises
that the interdisciplinary basis of such an analysis will take in the
fields of cultural studies, education studies (with a particular focus
on higher education), history, literature, philosophy, politics,
sociology, social theory and open avenues to wider and more diverse
disciplinary connections, and the project welcomes interdisciplinary

This year we wish to particularly encourage papers around two themes:

Intellectuals and the End of the Academy

Traditionally, the academy has been the fulcrum of intellectual
endeavour, but the massification, commodification and vocationalisation
of higher education with an overarching instrumentality to the way in
which academic work is being shaped towards employment and economy may
well bring a final separation of 'academy' as an idea and a set of
values and the University and research institute system and the dominant
sites of knowledge production. How should we understand the role of
intellectuals in this transformation? Are academic values and freedoms
dying? Is this a new crisis or symptomatic of past crises or the real
face of the academy beneath lofty rhetoric? How will this change
knowledge production, intellectual work and the intellectual as a
subject? How should intellectuals respond and what alternatives are there?

Intellectuals after the Cultural Turn

With the 'cultural turn' now a feature of intellectual history and its
promotion of inter-disciplinary practice for intellectuals across the
arts and humanities and social sciences firmly established, how do we
look back of the nature of the changes that it brought? Has it
encouraged a frivolous post-modern disregard for the intellectual rigour
of disciplinary knowledge and particular theoretical approaches to study
or has it been a surface layer of creativity atop deep and persistent
and entrenched disciplinary bodies? Has it encouraged a greater sense of
deep engagement with the experiential in social life or has analysis
become superficial and self-absorbed as intellectuals write for
intellectuals? How has the cultural turn related to the rise of a media
and culturally saturated society and how has that impacted on the
intellectual? Has the cultural turn, however much it has transformed
bodies of knowledge, been the means by which intellectuals' structures,
processes of engagement and practices have remained more continuous than

Some indicative themes are suggested below to indicate the types of
issues that might be addressed in conference papers and workshops.

A. History, the Intellectual and Intellectual Work.

How do we understand intellectuals and intellectual work in the past?
What relationships characterised the categorisation, role, nature and
place of intellectuals within society and social institutions in the
past? How have the roles, natures and places of intellectuals changed
through history? How have we come to understand the intellectual both
before and after that particular identification emerged within the onset
of the enlightenment project and modernity? What different models or
characterisations of the intellectual emerge historically and how
persuasive are they? What do historical understandings of the
intellectual tell us about the intellectual today?

B. Intellectuals and their Troubling Relationship to Knowledge.

What is knowledge? Is it a commodity, 'mere' information or something
more intrinsically apart from the production of information? What, if
anything, is the difference between knowledge and information? What
different relationships does the intellectual have with knowledge and
how do we understand them? What is the place of various types of
credentials in contemporary society and how does that relate to
intellectual status and intellectual work? To what extent is knowledge
only understood within the social context of its production and to what
extent has it a universal or divorced from social context?

C. Intellectuals and the Knowledge Society

How has the intellectual changed in their role, character and place in
the knowledge society? How have the internet and ICT's changed the way
intellectuals work and intellectual work is produced, distributed and
exchanged? How has the knowledge society changed our understanding of
the intellectual in society? Have we moved from the primacy of the mode
of production to the primacy of the mode of information?

D. Public Intellectuals and the Intellectual in Public and Political Life.

What is a public intellectual and how is a public intellectual
distinguished from other intellectuals and knowledge producers? What
roles and places do public intellectuals have in past and contemporary
societies? Are intellectuals and is intellectual work always political?
What political and public roles do intellectuals play?

E. Intellectuals and Cultural Life.

How have intellectuals impacted on cultural life, in shaping everyday
experience, providing frameworks for understanding and producing
cultural enrichment? In what ways have intellectuals played a role in
shaping the cultural milieu? What is the relationship between the
intellectual and the artist or producer of cultural knowledge and
products? What is the relationship between intellectuals and the aesthetic?

F. Intellectuals and the Development of Bodies of Knowledge.

How do intellectuals produce and create knowledge? How should we
understand the processes of knowledge production and creation as social
and political and well as research processes? How should we understand
notions of discovery, exploration and speaking truth in the context of
critical perspectives on knowledge creation? How have particular bodies
of knowledge developed historically and come to play determining roles
in social, cultural, political and economic change?

These are intended as illustrative themes and proposals on related areas
are encouraged. Panel proposals, workshops and joint presentations are
also welcome. The conference aims to bring together people from
different areas, disciplines, professions and interests to share ideas
and explore questions in a way that is innovative and exciting.

Papers will also be considered on any related theme.

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 27th November 2009. If
an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be
submitted by Friday 19th March 2010.

300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising
Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the
following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e)
body of abstract.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes
and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold,
italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper
proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you
should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in
cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic
route or resend.

Joint Organising Chairs:

Paul Reynolds

Reader in Sociology and Social Philosophy

Edge Hill University, Lancashire

United Kingdom

E-mail: prr@inter-disciplinary.net

Rob Fisher

Network Founder and Leader


Freeland, Oxfordshire,

United Kingdom

E-mail: ikp3@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Critical Issues programme of research
projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and
interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are
innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the
conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected
papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s).

For further details about the project please visit:


For further details about the conference please visit: