Call for Papers: Thinking without Modernity

Thinking without Modernity: Perspectives from the Premodern Globe

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Hosted by the Edinburgh Centre for Global History, School of History Classics and Archaeology

In the context of his work on decolonial praxis, Walter Mignolo wrote that one of the major challenges to decolonisation is thinking without modernity. An imperative in Mignolo’s work on decoloniality, there is much to be gained more broadly from discussing how we think beyond the paradigm of western modernity. I’m seeking talks of 10-20 minutes which respond to the question: how can research and teaching on the premodern globe help us to think without modernity?

The connected challenges of ecological disaster, persistence of colonialism, and the rise of the far right are currently pressing concerns within the academy. Those who work on premodern societies have an important contribution to make to discussions on these issues. This is not because — as the term ‘premodern’ would seem to imply — we work at present beyond the bounds of a western European modernity, but rather because we engage every day with the problem of how such an embedded paradigm might distort our and our students’ understandings of the societies with which we work. These are, moreover, societies that did not (always) think with modernity or ascribe to their ‘modernities’ the same qualities as the western model.

This workshop aims to bring together the ideas that those researching and teaching the premodern globe might have on the above. Talks are welcome from scholars working within any discipline and might constitute a short paper but need not be that formal — vague ideas and anarchic formats welcome. I interpret ‘premodern’ broadly; talks might examine, for instance, how ‘premodern’ as a label has contributed to the epistemic colonisation of indigenous thought beyond imperial endeavour.

If interested, please send abstracts of 100-200 words to Kirsty Day (kirsty.day@ed.ac.uk) by Friday 22 March.

Confirmed external participant: Amanda Power, St Catherine’s College, Oxford