History and sociology are two disciplines that traditionally organise their research in terms of time. It is difficult to imagine historical research without temporal selectivity and typological chronologies, while the emergence of sociology is usually linked with ideas of modernity and the forward movement of society along linear trajectories. Central questions have been continually framed in a historical and sociological semantic of “Tradition/Modernity”, “Re-/Evolution”, or ‘Stagnation/Progress” etc. These semantics still play a crucial role, but both disciplines are now facing a shift towards research questions that are framed in terms of spatial concepts. As concepts like “World Society”, “Entangled Histories”, “Transnationalism”, “Multi-Locality” or “histoire croisée” suggest, research is increasingly represented in topological forms and structures. Today it seems that studies on ‘modernisation’ will be almost entirely replaced by research on ‘globalisation’. These conceptual shifts challenge central and classical approaches in both disciplines.
Exchanges and dialogues between history and sociology have proven to be successful in the past, and the aim of this conference is to revive these synergetic effects by broadening conceptual and methodological perspectives. We invite young scholars and PhD candidates to send in proposals for papers for our upcoming conference. Papers are welcomed that discuss aspects of the new approaches outlined above or reflect directly on the history of these shifts by discourse analyses, historical semantics or sociology of knowledge etc. Some of the following questions might be considered in proposed papers: what temporal or spatial concepts prefigure the project? In what way is space conceived as homogenous and heterogeneous, or isolated and open? What modes of time are represented? Are timelines circular, linear, scattered, parallel etc? With what kinds of topological exclusions or inclusions does the project deal with and why? How do ‘transnational’, ‘global’ or ‘entangled’ approaches move beyond or theoretically differ from previous frameworks such as ‘international’, ‘trans-Atlantic’, or ‘comparative’ approaches? How can ‘local’ and ‘regional’ studies fit with globalisation? How are new spatial frameworks empirically accommodated in research?
The languages of the conference are English and German. Proposals of maximum one page should be submitted not later than 30th of September 2010 to AnnualSeminar@uni-bielefeld.de. The Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology will cover travel expenses and accommodation costs. Speakers are expected to provide for their other daily expenses.