This two-day workshop, to be held 5-6 July 2010 in Wadham College, Oxford, will consider the relationships that existed between scholars and universities located in different parts of Britain, the Empire and the world in the years after 1850. By examining the historical lineages of these networks, it seeks to develop a critical understanding of the processes that helped to shape the varied topographies of today’s entangled scholarly community.
In recent years historians of various persuasions have taken a renewed interest in questions of empire. Despite differences in focus and approach, they have been particularly concerned with the material, human and discursive connections that they have seen as straddling global and imperial geographies and as helping to produce identities and power structures both within Britain and outside it. Scholars have increasingly thought about human and material networks as sites for investigation. However, despite a large body of material concerned with science and empire, and significant research addressing universities in national and European contexts, very little has been written by imperial historians about universities and academics. Neither, despite a shift since the 1960s to consideration of the social and cultural history of education, have educational historians considered the imperial dimensions of British academia. This is especially surprising given that the world of academia serves as a particularly interesting site for the exploration of networks. On the one hand rooted in particular regional communities and, on the other, also home to a mobile elite who dealt in the global currency of ideas, the universities of the British Empire were institutions that explicitly sought to bridge local and imperial cultures. This workshop will provide a forum to investigate the nature and extent of the transnational and imperial connections both of these universities, and of those who worked in them.
Papers from a variety of disciplinary and geographic perspectives addressing the following themes are sought:
- Institutions: What was the impact of formal and informal networks on the foundation and development of universities in Britain and the Empire?
- Disciplines: What role did imperial and international connections play in shaping the emergence and development of disciplinary communities, their nature and operation?
- Scholars: What importance did scholarly networks hold for individual scholars: who were they and how was their scholarship, their careers and their self conception influenced and affected by their participation in scholarly networks?
- Nations: To what extent to scholarly networks help construct national communities and identities?
Proposals for papers of 20 minutes can be submitted to Tamson Pietsch (email@example.com) before 31 December 2009. They should include a title, a 200-300 word abstract, a short CV and should indicate which of the four themes will be examined. For more information including the full Call For Papers visit http://sites.google.com/site/scholarlynetworks