Global Cultural History
12th Annual Conference of the International Society for Cultural History

26–29 June 2019
Tallinn University, Estonia

 

(PDF version here.)

The International Society for Cultural History invites paper and panel proposals for its 2019 annual conference on Global Cultural History.

It is fair to say that globalisation has forced and inspired historians to search for spatial alternatives in making sense of the past, to pay more attention to supranational and transregional connections and networks. These searches have given rise to a number of approaches that, under various names such as transnational history, connected history, entangled history or global history, share the same desire to move beyond conventional geopolitical articulations and discrete civilisations, to turn the concept of space again into a significant theoretical category in historical research.

Unlike traditional universal or world history, these new trends (which one could, for convenience’ sake, group under the name of global history) do not tell a story about everything that has come to pass in the world – ‘global’ does not refer so much to the object of study but to a perspective that focuses on connections, entanglements, exchanges and integration. Global history is interested in alternative spatialities, in mediators and go-betweens who establish connections, and takes structured integration of the world as its primary context. Global cultural history aims to move beyond the incommensurability of cultures and of teleological narratives, emphasizing the processes of mediation, translation, exchange and integration, both in individual and collective level.

Global cultural history sets also store by what has been called ‘scale shifts’ – a study of past phenomena on different scales so as to bring to light unexpected associations, link seemingly isolated phenomena, map overlapping spaces. It becomes ever more important in the study of history not to set out from a given spatial framework but to follow the ideas, people, and things selected for study, no matter where they may lead. Thus, history becomes a multilayered and intertwined process wherein the different layers are characterised by a different logic, a different tempo, and a different geographical extension. The emergence of the global perspective of (cultural) history does not imply the loss of the local dimension; instead, it becomes important to discuss local and global, micro- and macrohistory conjointly.


The 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for Cultural History invites cultural historians all over the world to think about the interconnected world as the point of departure for cultural-historical research, and to discuss the circulations and interactions of things, peoples, ideas, and institutions across cultural and geographical zones. We invite to consider global history as a new form of cultural-historical analysis in which systems of representation and meaning making practices are placed in global contexts. We invite to focus on mobility and exchange, on hybridity and entanglement, on various cultural-historical processes that transcend borders and boundaries.

Possible topics for panels and individual papers include, but are by no means limited to:

  • circulation and reception of knowledge and ideas
  • circulation and reception of objects
  • cosmopolitanism
  • cultural connections and contact zones
  • cultural go-betweens
  • cultural hybridity
  • cultural entanglements
  • cultural exchanges and transfers
  • cultural networks
  • cultural translations and translators
  • imperial and postcolonial cultures
  • maritime and oceanic histories
  • multidirectional memories
  • travels and travelling

In addition, we warmly welcome also papers or panels discussing:

  • theory and methodology of cultural history
  • new approaches to cultural history
  • history of cultural history

Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes in length and delivered in English:
Individual paper proposals should consist of an abstract (not exceeding 300 words) and a 1-2 page CV.
Panel proposals should consist of the name of the organizer, an overview of the panel (not exceeding 500 words), abstracts for each paper (not to exceed 300 words), and 1-2 page CVs for each presenter. Panels will have 120 minutes at their disposal, so that they can accommodate about four presentations.

DEADLINE: January 15, 2019. Participants will be informed by February 15, 2019.

Proposals and inquiries should be sent to: isch2019@gmail.com


Those whose abstracts are accepted for presentation will be expected to become members of the ISCH. Further details can be found on the Society’s website.

Presenters are invited to consider submitting articles to the ISCH’s official peer-reviewed journal, Cultural History (published by the Edinburgh University Press), and monographs to the book series it publishes with Routledge.