Katja Naumann (Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe at the University of Leipzig), Geert Castryck (Leipzig University) 31.08.2017-03.09.2017, Budapest
With this panel we envisage bringing together current trends in sub-fields of historiography addressing the transnational workings of knowledge production in relation to dominant world orders and world-views. Colonial history increasingly pays attention to both the scientific underpinnings and pretences of colonialism and the colonial underpinnings of the 19th- and 20th-century history of science.
Historians of science in turn analyse the transnational and institutional driving forces of knowledge production in that same era.
International history scholars highlight the importance of transnational associations, meetings and individuals as driving forces of the political and intellectual enterprises of the day. Taken together, this points to a reappraisal of the entangled nature of national, imperial and colonial dynamics, which for too long have been approached as separate spatial, temporal or ideational frames of reference and fields of study.
By focusing on the transnational workings of colonial knowledge production, we want to contribute to a convergence of national, imperial and colonial historical approaches on one hand, and of research on Eurocentric knowledge production and European imperialism on the other.
In our understanding this nexus underpins 19th- and 20th-century academia as much as it facilitated colonization in Africa and Asia.
We particularly want to emphasize (1) the institutionalization of transnational and transimperial 'colonial sciences'; (2) its contribution to the establishment of academic disciplines, with all its Eurocentric, universalistic and imperialist underpinnings; and (3) the enmeshment with colonial policy-making and lived realities in African and Asian colonies under control - or out of control.
To this aim we invite papers fitting in one of the following - complementary - strands of transnational colonial knowledge production:
1) associations, organizations or conferences where researchers with different national backgrounds meet in order to exchange experiences with and perhaps solutions for colonial challenges. Possible examples are the Institut Colonial International, the International African Institute, Geographic Conferences etc.
2) topical colonial problems which are dealt with transnationally/ transimperially, and in so doing contribute to the establishment of scientific fields - either as colonial or tropical sub-fields of existing disciplines (thereby introducing a colonially inspired distinction within allegedly universalistic disciplines) or foundational to the disciplinary make-p of academia as we know it (thereby introducing a colonially inspired distinction between allegedly universalistic disciplines). Examples can be anthropology/ethnography; orientalism/philology; tropical medicine, veterinary medicine or agronomy; geography etc.