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CFP: International Society for Cultural History Conference

Friday, November 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alexandra Sanchez

The International Society for Cultural History invites paper and panel proposals for its 2020 annual conference on “Cultures of Participation and Belonging.” The conference will be hosted at the University of Mainz, Germany on September 16–19, 2020.


At the latest since 2015, the self-image of the European states as open societies—open for all—is under massive pressure. Not only the so-called “refugee crisis," but also the discussion about core values of the European culture have shown that the culture of participation and belonging—once regarded as backbone of the “new” Europe after 1990—are questioned and under attack from different directions. Therefore, the terms of 'participation' and ‘belonging’ versus ‘exclusion’ have formed public and political debates more than any other terms have in the last years. While ‘participation’ is primarily a virulent topic in educational politics and institutions, the term 'belonging' is central to the discussion of practices of enclosure and expulsion foremost in the contexts of domestic and security politics. The perceived current significance and the highly emotional discourse have disguised the fact that inclusion and belonging are phenomena of human societies, which overlap time, space and different media. These phenomena are also an important issue for the understanding and interpretation of one’s world.


Furthermore, cultures of participation and belonging are a crucial factor for the stability of given societies. However, today we experience some of the possible consequences for the social and political system if these cultures are under pressure. Therefore, the historical development, the forms and consequences of such cultures will be at the center of the ISCH conference in 2020. The objective of the conference is to shine a spotlight on the question regarding the forms and narratives of phenomena of belonging and their opposite (non-belonging, exclusion, discrimination, etc.) in specific historical constellations and/or contemporary literature, art, film, etc.

Topics may include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Locations of belonging;
  • Intentions of (self)exclusion;
  • Socio-economic reasons for exclusion;
  • Forms of affiliation and membership;
  • Discrimination (positive and negative);
  • Shaping identities;
  • Narratives of exclusion and/or belonging;
  • Knowledge and belonging;
  • Relationship between scientific discourse and common knowledge on exclusion or belonging;
  • Methods of enclosure, expulsion and sorting;
  • Representations of belonging in art and literature

In addition, the conference warmly welcomes papers or panels discussing:

  • Theory and methodology of cultural history;
  • New approaches to cultural history;
  • The history of cultural history as a field

This year, the society also welcomes poster presentations by PhD students, who would like to showcase their dissertation projects. 


Presentations are no longer than 20 minutes and must be delivered in English.


Individual paper proposals consist of an abstract (not exceeding 300 words) and a 1–2 page CV.

Panel proposals consist of the name of the organizer, an overview of the panel (not exceeding 500 words), abstracts for each paper (not to exceed 300 words), and 1–2 page CVs for each presenter.


The deadline for proposal submission is December 15. Proposals and inquiries should be sent to


More information can be found on ISCH Conference 2020.


Presenters whose abstracts are accepted for presentation are expected to become members of the ISCH. Further details can be found on Membership

In addition, presenters are invited to consider submitting articles to ISCH’s official peer-reviewed journal, Cultural History (published by Edinburgh University Press), and monographs to the book series the society publishes with Routledge. For more information on submitting to the journal, see Edinburgh University Press. For more information on the book series, see Routledge.

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