The Oakley Center, which has its home at Williams College, invites paper proposals for a conference and subsequent edited volume on the history of cross-cultural comparison in the premodern world. The conference will be held at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts (26–28 September 2019) and is organized by Alexander Bevilacqua.
Anthony Grafton (Princeton) will deliver the keynote lecture.
Drawing on the study of humanistic traditions from across the globe in the era before 1800, the conference aims to assess the many ways comparison has served in the history of cross-cultural study. Through a series of focused case studies, scholars will ask: what forms of analogy, simile, equivalence, etc., did past thinkers employ, and what kinds of comparisons did these enable? How did such intellectual tools facilitate the transmission of texts, religion, or ideas from one context to another? What did they preclude? The goal is to reconstruct the range of ways that people of the past mediated intellectual traditions through comparative mechanisms. The further aim is to demonstrate the relevance of the premodern world to contemporary reflection on comparison.
The conference welcomes the work of advanced doctoral students and both young and established scholars in the fields of history, religion, philosophy, and literature.a.
Proposals — which should include a 500-word abstract, a brief curriculum vitae, and complete current contact information — should be sent by 15 October 2018 to the conference organizer.
Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences
90 Denison Park Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267