1st Global Conference
Intellectuals - Knowledge, Power, Ideas
Thursday 8th May - Saturday 10th May 2008
Call for Papers
This inter- and multi-disciplinary 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 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 explorations.
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, the Academy and Higher Education
What are the role and functions and positions that intellectuals have taken within learning institutions? What overlap and interplay is there between the academy and the intellectual? How have learning institutions developed in relation to the production of intellectuals and knowledge? What moral, cultural, political and educational principles underpin the academy and the learning institution? How has the association between academy and intellectual been impacted on by recent developments in the role and place of higher learning institutions within economy and society?
C. 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?
D. 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?
E. 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?
F. 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?
G. 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?
Papers will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2008. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 18th April 2008.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract. 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.
Social and Psychological Sciences,
Edge Hill University
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 this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers will be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume.
For further details about the project, please visit:
For further details about the conference, please visit:
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR UK
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