Call for papers: international symposium “Young Scholars Transfers: A reflection
on the notion of transfer in the field of human and social sciences”
Dates: 13-14 October 2016 at Université Paris-Est Créteil
Keynote speakers : Professor Lewis Gordon (University of Connecticut)
Professor Rozena Maart (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Young Scholars Transfers is a project built around the key notions of transfer,
intersection, transdisciplinarity and hybridity. At stake is the association of diverse objects of study, a
plurality of approaches and different methodologies in the field of human and social sciences, in order
to de-territorialize knowledge and disciplines. Several cultural and geographical zones (the Americas,
South Africa and Europe) will be represented by young scholars willing to consider research and
political, artistic or socio-cultural spaces as sites of perpetual transfers.
In the light of Julie Thompson Klein’s definition of new hybrid academic specialties resulting
from the fracturing of disciplines, a reflection on the state of international research appears legitimate.
As sites of knowledge feed on the social world and cultural experiences, and as many recent studies
are characterized by fragmentation and hybridity, research appears to be marked by cross-fertility.
Consequently, transfer has become as a key process in the social, cultural, and academic fields, and
we should focus on the mechanisms, methods, and results of transfer in order to better understand how
knowledge is redefined, and how the frontiers between disciplines, methods, and findings must be
As marginal experiences find their voices and are increasingly taken into account in the social,
artistic and scientific realms, otherness seems to become a key element not only in the cultural world,
but in the academic sphere. Subaltern, marginal, “Other” lives disturb the definition of the human,
identities are redefined, and scholars are increasingly invited, if not forced, to reflect upon the
influence of marginal experiences on the reshaping of disciplines and methodologies, and on the lining
up of previously ranked knowledge. Otherness thus permits to reflect upon racial, gender and sexual
hybridity, the phenomenon of diaspora and cultural transfers, which complicate the definition of the
The transdisciplinary approach highlights the connections between various disciplines that
take the human subject as their object. Reflexivity will prevent the establishment of new hierarchies
between fields of knowledge, the creation of new forms of otherness, and the setting up of new
practices of disciplinary exclusions, thanks to the study of objects through the lens of several
disciplines. We hope that a less limited conception of identity will emerge from our exchanges, and
that identity will be fully understood as fluctuating.
The materials studied will range from (subaltern) literature to social criticism, from the arts to
social texts. Minority groups, be they social, ethnic, racial or sexual, will be a major focus of
discussions, since they are the key to the transformation of the field of knowledge. As their dissenting
voices, newly expressed in “minority writing,” are reverberated in and through recent research, they
become a tool for contesting dominant structures of knowledge and majority discourses. Topics of
discussion include (but are not limited to):
➢ Social, cultural, sexual alienation and otherness
➢ Center(s), margins, frontiers
➢ Subaltern subjects and subaltern writing
➢ Hybridization and identity mutations
➢ The queer critique of social theories
➢ Colonial and post-colonial situations
➢ Migrations, citizenships, Diasporas and belonging
➢ Trans-nationality and trans-culturality
The discussions will allow the participants to offer a methodological challenge to traditional ways of
doing research. The project aims at going beyond disciplinary boundaries, breaking down disciplinary
frames which limit how we think about the human subject, and allowing disciplines to feed on each
other. We suggest that a redefinition of the objects of studies as well as the way these objects are
constructed and tackled is a first step towards a questioning of what Lewis Gordon defines as
“disciplinary decadence”: The discussions involving scholars from various fields will lead to the
definition of new forms of knowledge, which neither limit nor drain the reality they are built on.
Following the idea that cultural transfer implies a movement of objects, people, and concepts between
two distinct cultural spheres, we shall examine how transfer, both as a human process and a res earch
method, may lead to deep human, social, political and academic transformations, to the rearrangement
of the field of knowledge, and to the interrogation of the frontiers of academic specialties in order to
promote a more human method of research.
Proposals (300-word summary + short CV) should be sent by March 31st , 2016 to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers will be sent in the course of May, 2016.
Organizing committee : Mélanie Grué (Université Paris-Est Créteil, IMAGER) ; Lucile Pouthier
(Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, École Doctorale Culture et Sociétés, LISAA).