“Natural and Unnatural Histories,” INCS 2016

Deadline: November 2, 2015

Dates: March 10-13, 2016

Location: Asheville, NC

CFP Link

Historicism achieved its full flowering in the nineteenth century, when the historical methods of inquiry envisioned by figures such as Vico, Herder, and von Ranke were taken up and transformed in philosophy, art criticism, hermeneutics, philology, the human sciences, and, of course, history itself. By 1831, John Stuart Mill was already declaring historicism the dominant idea of the age. Taking human activity as their central subject, some nineteenth century historicisms extended Hegel’s distinction between historical processes governed by thought and non-historical processes governed by nature. At the same time, scientists like Lyell and Darwin radically challenged nineteenth century understandings of history by arguing that nature itself is historical. Powered by fossil fuels, industrialization began to prove this point by profoundly altering global ecologies at a previously unimaginable scale. We seek papers that investigate nineteenth-century histories and natures. How do
natures, environments, or ecologies interact with histories at different scales—the local, the national, the transnational, or the planetary? What role does the nineteenth century play in the recent idea of an Anthropocene era? How might
nineteenth-century natural histories help us to rethink historicism in the present? What are the risks and promises
of presentist approaches to the nineteenth century?

Deadline: November 2, 2015. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page CV with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome. Send questions and proposals to Jill Ehnenn at incs@appstate.edu

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