Mapping Fields of Study: Renegotiations of Disciplinary Spaces in the English-Speaking World

full name / name of organization: 
Marilyne Brun / University of Lorraine, Nancy, France

Mapping Fields of Study: Renegotiations of Disciplinary Spaces in the English-Speaking World
International Conference
Nancy, France
9-11 June 2016
Call for Papers – Extended Deadline: 15th January 2016

Confirmed keynote speakers:
- Dr Josephine Guy, Professor of Modern English Literature, The University of Nottingham. Her publications on the history of English as a discipline of knowledge include Politics and Value in English Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1993, co-authored with Ian Small), an essay in The Organisation of Knowledge in Victorian Britain (Oxford University Press, 2005, ed. Martin Daunton), The Routledge Concise History of Nineteenth Century Literature (Routledge, 2011, co-authored with Ian Small).
- Dr Christopher Stray, Honorary Research Fellow in the History of Classical Scholarship and Teaching, Swansea University. His publications on the history and sociology of classical education and scholarship include Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830-1960 (Oxford University Press, 1998), Oxford Classics: Teaching and Learning 1800-2000 (Duckworth, 2007, editor and contributor), and forthcoming works on Cambridge classics and classics in Britain.

As part of its research project on the Institutionalisation of Disciplines, the research team IDEA (Interdisciplinarity in English Studies) of the University of Lorraine, France, in partnership with the research teams Savoirs dans l'espace anglophone: représentations, culture, histoire (Université de Strasbourg, France), and Transcultural Anglophone Studies (Saarland University, Germany), will host an international conference on disciplinary organisation and reorganisation in the English-speaking world in Nancy, France, 9-11 June 2016.
Disciplines and fields of study are far from being stable entities; tracing the history of any field of study reveals their connection to social and cultural contexts, attempts at legitimation, shifts in methodological approaches, complex relations with other fields of study, as well as the influence of institutional factors.
Current disciplinary categories, which are subject to institutional instability and internal debates, have a history that exerts a significant impact on the work of conceptualisation done within each field of study. The increasing trend towards interdisciplinary studies in the humanities prompts an interrogation of changing disciplinary configurations. There can be no meaningful interdisciplinarity without a sense of the historicity of the disciplines as institutional entities giving form to the knowledge-building enterprise.
This call for papers is addressed to researchers interested in disciplinary organisation or reorganisation, and in the impact of institutional factors in these processes. The conference will focus on disciplinary shifts in the human and social sciences understood in a broad sense, but papers may include a comparative dimension with a range of disciplines that can extend to the natural sciences. The conference will concentrate on disciplinary reconfigurations in the English-speaking world broadly speaking, as well as in countries where English is used as an official language or language of communication.
Focusing on the English-speaking world will lead to an understanding of the transoceanic dialogues, connections, and debates that have characterised the development of fields of study in this region; of common patterns and contrasting structures that exist in different English-speaking countries; and of the influence of imperial connections and colonial dynamics in the creation of academic knowledge.
Submissions may address, but need not be limited to, the following themes:
- Changing taxonomies of knowledge, e.g. the encapsulating scope of "classics" and "letters" transformed into the more specific domains of "literature", "philosophy", "history" and "science".
- As part of this process:
• The emergence or elaboration of disciplines or fields of study (especially in the social and natural sciences).
• The transformation of existing disciplinary fields (especially the "human sciences" – literature, history, philosophy).
- The emergence and intellectual / institutional legitimation of "studies" (gender studies, critical race studies, cultural studies, etc.).
- The impact of institutional dynamics on the nature of disciplines.
- The impact of imperial connections and dynamics in the emergence and development of disciplines (notably in the formation of English studies).
- Case studies relating to the work of defining / contesting individuals within a field of study.
- The evolution and impact of academic curricula.
- The role of learned societies, academies, the periodical press and popularising publications in the formation of disciplines or the negotiation of disciplinary boundaries.

Papers offering comparative approaches to alternative geographic centres (France, Germany, China, etc.) are also welcome.

Papers should be given in English and not exceed 20 minutes in length. Proposals (title, abstract of 250-500 words, and short bio-bibliographical note) should be emailed to Marilyne Brun ( no later than Friday 15th January 2016.
Selected revised articles will be published in a volume.
For more information on the conference:

Conference organisers
Vanessa Boullet (vanessa.boullet (at)
Marilyne Brun (marilyne.brun (at)
Matthew Smith (matthew.smith (at)
Richard Somerset (richard.somerset (at)

Scientific committee
Vanessa Boullet (Université de Lorraine)
Marilyne Brun (Université de Lorraine)
Cornelius Crowley (Université Paris Ouest)
François Cusset (Université Paris Ouest)
Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn (Saarland University)
Don Gilman (Ball State University)
Hélène Ibata (Université de Strasbourg)
Philip Riley (Visiting Professor, University of Vienna)
Mathilde Rogez (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Jennifer Rutherford (The University of Adelaide)
Matthew Smith (Université de Lorraine)
Richard Somerset (Université de Lorraine)