ACLA 2021: Repurposing Enlightenment

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA Seminar
contact email: 

The Enlightenment has long been understood as a break from past practices and traditions, as a period in which reason, science, progress, secularization were invented. Instead, we seek to understand the Enlightenment and the values identified with it not as rejections of the past or sudden revolutions in thought, but as reconsiderations of earlier ways of knowing. These instances of repurposing include both translations of older sources and traditional thought practices into new contexts as well as the proliferation, amplification, and replication of eighteenth-century ideas.

We would like to revisit the Enlightenment through the lens of the following questions: How did examples of repurposing and sustaining the past constitute active and crucial parts of Enlightenment knowledge-making? What actions did creators and compilers of knowledge take in gathering, organizing, and transforming texts, ideas, and images that gave these sources novelty and new purposes? How did sources today considered to be traditional and perhaps even fictional —ruins, religious texts, fables and mythology— contribute to the meaning and shape of knowledge in the Enlightenment? We encourage submission of papers that focus on the active processes of repurposing, whether via studies of plagiarism and copying, translation (including movement and adaptation of texts and ideas across national, linguistic, and disciplinary boundaries), reuse of images or symbols, or historiography.

Abstracts of up to1,500 characters (spaces included) must be submitted through the ACLA website at the address linked here.

Seminar jointly organized by Olivia Sabee, Swarthmore College and Hanna Roman, Dickinson College