CFP REMINDER Young Scholars Transfers: reflections on the notion of transfer in the field of human and social sciences

melanie grué's picture
Call for Papers
March 31, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Social Sciences, Sexuality Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Humanities

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
 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).