'Wonder and Knowledge' Special Issue of the Journal for the History of Knowledge

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Alice Wickenden
contact email: 

CFP: Special Issue of the Journal for the History of Knowledge: ‘Wonder and Knowledge’ Deadline for proposals: 1st December 2019.

What is the relationship of wonder and knowledge? Associations with astonishment, awe and bewilderment all seem antithetical to understanding, but wonder can also conjure curiosity, incubate investigation. Can it be both a preclusion and a precondition for knowledge? How do these qualities co-exist in different times, geographies, and societies? Do fear, wonder, horror, and curiosity contribute to knowledge, or do they blind us? What sort of knowledge can emotional and literary responses generate, and how do they inform the structures of institutions? We want to investigate how affective responses to things we don't understand have shaped epistemologies, cultures of enquiry, and sites and practices of knowledge-making. We welcome proposals from a wide spectrum of disciplines and chronologies that respond to the above questions. Topics could include (but are not limited to):

  •  The historical development of scientific practices 

  •  The embedding of wonder in monuments, buildings, and civic spaces

  •  Wunderkammer, private collections, and displays

  • Languages and vocabularies of cross-cultural encounter

  • Spectacle and public display

  • Wonder in education

  • Affect, wonder and the sublime

We invite abstracts for a special issue of the Journal for the History of Knowledge, to be published in Fall 2021. Please send proposals (of no more than 300 words) along with a short author biography to a.wickenden@qmul.ac.uk and w.burgess@qmul.ac.uk ; any queries should also be directed here.