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Graduate Conference 2017 Call for Papers: 'Conceptions of Space in the History of Political Thought'

Conceptions of Space in the History of Political Thought

10th Annual Cambridge Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History
University of Cambridge – Friday, 2 June 2017

Keynote address: Professor Lauren Benton (Vanderbilt)

In recent years, notions of ‘space’ have become increasingly important to the practice of intellectual historians. The relevance of locutions such as the ‘spatial turn’ and ‘global intellectual history’ seems to hint at a broader trend in the discipline. Scholars have argued that ‘space is the final frontier for intellectual history’ (David Armitage), that it is not merely ‘context’ but ‘deserving of interpretation in its own right’ (John Randolph), and that to take space seriously ‘is to read deliberately against the grain’ (Annabel Brett). However, this growing emphasis also raises a number of conceptual issues. How might intellectual historians think space? What implications do spatial readings have for our understanding of the history of political thought? How useful are notions of ‘space’ as interpretive tools in the first place?

Aiming to explore these questions, the organisers of the 10th Annual Cambridge Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History invite submissions for presentations on the theme ‘Conceptions of Space in the History of Political Thought’. Given the extensive range of the theme in question, proposals from a variety of sub-disciplines and across historical periods are welcome. Topics can include, but are not limited to:
• empires and imperialism
• spaces of sovereignty
• legal histories of space
• the space of the civitas/state
• cultural histories of political space
• mapping the spaces of the political
• the politics of architecture
• histories of international thought
• cosmopolitanism
• scholarly networks
• gendered spaces in the history of political thought
• global space before and after globalization
• nations and nationalism

The conference will feature a keynote address by Professor Lauren A. Benton, who is the Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Professor of History as well as Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. Participants will be invited to present their work in themed panels, which will be followed by question and answer sessions. Cambridge has a longstanding reputation for the study of political thought and intellectual history, and conference participants can expect to receive collegial feedback from members of the History Faculty. Subject to availability, accommodation will also be provided for speakers and an effort will be made to subsidise travel costs.

Interested graduate students are asked to send an abstract (max. 500 words) for a 20- minute presentation and a short CV (max. 2 pages) to .

The deadline for proposals is 31 March 2017. For additional information, please visit

A major conference on this subject will take place in Christ’s College, Cambridge on 20 June 2017. Participants include Melissa Calaresu, Serena Ferente, James Hankins, Jill Kraye, Giorgio Lizzul, John Robertson, Quentin Skinner, Peter Stacey, Nicolas Stone Villani, Filippo de Vivo, and Felix Waldmann. For further details click 'Read more'.

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A major conference on this theme will be held under the auspices of the Centre for Political Thought at Clare College, Cambridge, on 10-11 May 2018. The conference will address the ways in which political philosophers have engaged with concepts of time and the evidence of history. Booking details will be available here in Sept 2017.

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