Constructing the ‘Public Intellectual’ in the Premodern World

Co-hosted by
Genealogies of Knowledge & Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies @ The University of Manchester, UK
5-6 September 2019
First call for papers
http://genealogiesofknowledge.net/events/public-intellectual/

Genealogies of Knowledge at the University of Manchester invites scholarly papers for the conference 'Constructing the "public intellectual" in the premodern world' to be held in Manchester, UK 5-6 September 2019. The conference is being co-hosted by the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester.

The conference is intended to generate critical research that challenges contemporary constructions of the public intellectual as a timeless and culturally ubiquitous figure in human societies. It hopes to explore how the figure of the public intellectual has been inscribed into historical representations of premodern society and politics.

The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers or panels (ideally of three papers) that grapple with how the ‘public intellectual’ was constructed in premodern societies, and how their legacy influences how we understand the public intellectual today. The conference invites scholars to present research on, but not limited to, the following broad themes:

Constructing categories. Focusing on the historically and culturally specific categories from which representations of the public intellectual are constructed. Topics include: the premodern ‘public’, premodern textual and visual political representation, premodern ‘intellect’ and ‘intellectuals’, premodern sites of representation, power and representation in the premodern world, the self in premodern politics, political life in the premodern world.

Constructing authority with language and translation. Focusing on privileged languages of learning as a mode of access to political privilege. Topics include: politics of translation, constructing scientific lexicons, language and power in the premodern world, premodern lingua francas, politics and vernacular languages.

Constructing authority with knowledge. Focusing on the historical changes and cultural differences in the specialised forms of knowledge that give its possessor the power to govern the lives of others. Topics include: political knowledge; specialisation and professionalism in the premodern world; the relationship between specific learned languages and particular areas of expertise such as religious learning, legal learning and medical learning; political authority and privileged languages of learning; premodern education and political power; patronage and patrons; centre and periphery in premodern intellectual geography; public intellectuals on the move.

Utilising the premodern public intellectual. Focusing on how portraits of premodern ‘public intellectuals’ influence our ideas about what the public intellectual should be today. Topics include: using ancient models for making the modern public intellectuals, contemporary legacies of ancient philosophers, ‘practical philosophy’ in the modern world.

Submissions are welcome from diverse fields, including but not limited to history, linguistics, translation studies, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, political science, religious studies, development and regional studies, and classics.

Questions, panel abstracts, and individual abstracts should be sent to Kamran Karimullah (karimullah.kamran@manchester.ac.uk) by 1st February 2019.

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