Papers and discussions will be on the role of science in the XIXth and early XXth centuries, in the context of British imperialism and the rise of the American empire, as a way to fulfill a quest for knowledge, a tool in the exploration of foreign lands, discourse on and representations of otherness, as well as a source of anguish and questioning. Papers may also focus on the way science itself is represented in works of fiction, travelogues (at the crossroads of science and literature), autobiographies, essays, press articles or scientific papers and in museums.
To be considered: human and social sciences which thrived during the period of imperial expansion, racial theories couched in pseudo-scientific discourse, hard sciences, natural sciences, as they are presented in specialized or popularized works, in the press, in travel narratives or at world fairs but also in literary texts. Such approaches allow for the analysis of the link between knowledge and power as well as of the paradox of scientific discourse which claims to seek the truth while at the same time both masking and revealing the political and economic stakes of Anglo-saxon imperialism. The analysis of various types of discourse and representation will serve to highlight the tension between science and ideology, between “objectivity” and propaganda, and stress the limits of imperialist epistemology which has sometimes been questioned in more ambiguous or subversive texts.
The scientific discoveries of the XIXth century and the epistemological crisis at the turn of the century also often triggered existential disquiet and anguish, metaphysical questioning, finding a convenient outlet in a quest for origins and myths, a fantasized return to a pre-industrial state and an idealisation of nature as well as the conquest or imaginary representation of newly explored countries. Science can thus engender or reveal two opposed visions of the world: a reassuring one which presents a well-ordered world with clear limits and a frightening one which features a complex and boundless universe which escapes the control of science and imperialism.
Participants are invited to examine such issues as the plurality of scientific discourses, the alienating dangers of reduction, fragmentation and reification, the interaction between scientific discourse and literary discourse, the way certain texts use scientific discourse to serve their imperialist views or, conversely, deconstruct and question them.
Papers accepted in English or in French ; please send a short abstract (300 to 400 words) and a short biographical and bibliographical note, by September 1st to:
email@example.com (North America)
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (Great-Britain and Commonwealth)
With a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org (research centre secretary)
UFR d'Etudes Anglophones
Université Stendhal Grenoble III
1180 av. Centrale
38040 Grenoble cedex 9
011 33 4 76 82 68 17 Email: email@example.com
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