Annual Seminar of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology
Call for Papers Date:
Call for papers for the international
Annual Seminar “Dynamism and Change“
from 8-11 February 2010
at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), a recipient of financial support from the Excellence Initiative of the German Government.
Distinguished national and international historians and sociologists have been invited to come and give basic introductions to the the seminar topics. This call for papers is addressed to PhD students in history and sociology and invites them to make an application based on their PhD projects in the hope of presenting their research in Bielefeld.
Dynamism and Change
What factors lead to change or trigger a certain dynamism? What do structures contribute to change? What is the role of institutions and “organizational fields“ (Paul J. DiMaggio) in change? What prevents change and causes barriers? In discussing these issues, we will not only look at structures, mechanisms or institutions but will also ask what is the importance of chance and contingency for questions of dynamism and change.
It is planned to deal with these broad issues, fundamental to history and sociology, from these three aspects:
1) Deadlock and Reproduction
Tradition is often seen as an obstacle to change, the term being used synonymously with barrier. But this has changed in recent times, with scholars (e.g. José Casanova and Jan Assmann) more and more often pointing out that traditions can set in train dynamic processes, not least because they may legitimize change.
Also welcome are presentations that concern themselves with the function of repetitions, rituals or symbolic languages. It is, finally, intended to take into account mechanisms, such as censorship, taboos, conventions but also lock-in effects or the role of institutions that prevent dynamism.
2) Breaks and Continuities
This topic focuses especially on those social mechanisms that lead to breaks and make change possible. No less important will be questions of the role of chance and contingency, which are often neglected, in both history and sociology, in the quest for comprehensive explanatory patterns.
We will also, however, accept contributions to other topics, such as empirical studies of emergency, processes, generations, processes of transformation etc.
3) Reflection and Observation
What theories are appropriate for the analysis of barriers and dynamism? What chance do classic universal theories like that of modernity stand against more recent deconstructionist approaches? What is the explanatory value of cultural history and its accompanying various “turns”? Can we dispense with structures? What role can periodizations play?
In addition, we would like to ask young scholars to submit applications that investigate projection, simulation, game theory, chaos research or counterfactual history, and that raise the question of the degree to which change can be planned.
For the first two focuses especially we would like to encourage young scholars to send in applications that are both of a theoretically high standard and show an empirical
orientation. Finally, the BGHS has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary exchange and welcomes applications that consciously seek to promote a fruitful exchange between history and sociology.
Select contributions to the seminar will be published in the journal “InterDisciplines”, the first issue of which will appear in 2010.
Conference languages: English and German
Abstracts (1 page max.) in German or in English should be submitted via e-mail along with a short C.V. by 25 September, 2009 to Dr. des. Hedwig Richter: email@example.com
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