In 1968, historian Sidney Pollard defined the Victorian ideal of ‘progress’ as, “the assumption that a pattern of change exists in the history of mankind… that it consists of irreversible changes in one direction only, and that this direction is towards improvement.” Despite the increasingly problematic nature of this ideal, the ‘progress myth’ still remains pervasive in the Western cultural tradition.
This postgraduate and early career researcher conference seeks to promote innovative interdisciplinary dialogues interrogating the concept of progress by bringing together scholars from across the humanities and social sciences.
Contributions are invited from disciplines ranging from history, classics, religion and philosophy through literary, media and cultural studies to anthropology, psychology and political science. Conference delegates will be invited to consider how the idea of progress influences their own work, while being given the opportunity to explore how this intersects with scholarship in other disciplines.
The conference committee invites proposals for papers in the form of an abstract of between 250 and 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 May 2013. Paper format is a 20 minute paper with a 10 minute period for questions and answers.
Possible areas of inquiry will include, but will not be limited to:
- the relevance of progress as a methodological framework
- philosophical and cultural understandings of scientific and technological change
- conceptions of national and cultural progress throughout history; notions of degeneration and regeneration
- relations between human progress and environmental transformation
- perspectives on the past as a golden age; progress as teleology
- progress and identity
- political and geopolitical evolution and revolution
Daniel F. Brandl-Beck
PhD candidate in History
University of Queensland
Michie Building / Room 512
St Lucia, QLD 4072
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