The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University announces the fourth Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Workshop, to be held 11-14 May 2005 at Indiana University. The workshop is an annual, interdisciplinary event with 20-30 scholars presenting and discussing pre-circulated papers on a broad topic in a congenial setting.
Our topic for 2005 is "Custom, Ritual, Habit, Fetish: The Idols of the Eighteenth Century." Religious ritual, pagan fetishes, the customs of the unwashed, the habits of the unlettered: these were the idols 18th-century men and women sought to cleanse from human society and culture, at times by force of conquest. Even so, it is precisely in this period that the very modes of description observers developed to represent others, they turned back on themselves, making custom, habit, and ritual into crucial elements of social and mental life. In so doing, they raised a host of questions about everyday life in the domestic sphere, habit in the operations of the mind, custom and tradition as the essence of nations, and ritual as a structure of religious belief, among others.
Papers might address questions such as:
What drove this 18th-century obsession with custom and ritual?
How are the categories of ritual, habit, custom, and fetish produced in the first place, in ethnology, travel writing, and so on?
How is the 18th-century concern with ritual and custom distinct from that of earlier and later centuries? Or is it?
What habits and rituals are identified as central for society and sociability?
How do habit, custom, ritual, and fetish shape social and cultural experience?
How did the representations of custom and habit inflect notions of popular culture and class?
Under what circumstances does custom become resistance?
What happens when these categories cease to be fixed and travel between cultures?
How are notions of the fetish integrated into ethnographies of consumer society and even into accounts of aesthetic response?
In what ways do ritualistic practices persist within discourses such as pedagogy and gender formation?
What rituals or customs are invented for utopian societies, and why?
To what extent did the formation of the disciplines influence these descriptions and their value?
The workshop format will consist of intense discussion of 4-6 precirculated papers a day, amidst socializing and refreshment. The workshop will draw both on the wide community of 18th-century scholars and on the large and growing group of scholars in this field at Indiana University. Papers will be selected by an interdisciplinary committee. The workshop will cover most expenses of those scholars chosen to present their work: accommodations, travel (up to a certain limit), and most meals.
We are asking for applications to be submitted by 4 January 2005. The application consists of a two-page description of the proposed paper as well as a current CV. Please email or send your application to the address below. For further information check our website, http://www.indiana.edu/~voltaire/cfp05.html, or contact Dror Wahrman, Department of History, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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