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"Myth-Making and Myth-Breaking in History and the Humanities"

CAS 25/02/2011

In today’s globalised, multicultural society, it remains a critical task in both academic research and public discourse to question historical and cultural myths and re-evaluate traditional paradigms. Few historians and social scientists have played their part in deconstructing meta-narratives and in particular the cultural and political mythology of the nation-state. In recent years, however, it has become clear that the effort to debunk nationalist historical discourses needs to be complemented by a critical examination of the growing interest in the common European past. A united Europe might be tempted to replace nationalist histories with an equally mythicised view of the historical European community, from ancient Athens and Rome to Charlemagne to the French Revolution and Napoleon.

Since myths have historically functioned as buttresses for collective identity, what path should the historian’s probing examination take at this new political and cultural juncture? Will myth-breaking emerge as a destructive or founding gesture?

The deconstructionist and interdisciplinary enthusiasm of the last decades has challenged the founding epistemological myths as well as the methodologies of traditional academic disciplines. But does this paradigm shift run the risk of creating a new academic orthodoxy?

We invite proposals for 20-minute original presentations in English or French; possible thematic sessions include: historical and historiographical myths; mythography and its social impact; the myths of modernity and postmodernity; the myths of the common European past; disciplinary and interdisciplinary myths.

We welcome proposals not only from well-established researchers, but also from young researchers, at the early stages of their careers, newly minted PhDs and advanced doctoral candidates in history, political sciences, sociology, anthropology, literature, art history, and archaeology.

Please send a 200-300 word abstract of your proposed presentation and a brief bio to no later than 15th of April; notification of accepted proposals will be emailed in late April.

The conference is organised at the University of Bucharest between the 7th and 8th of September 2011 and will include two keynote addresses. We anticipate publishing the proceedings in a volume by the end of 2012.

Accommodation and conference meals will be provided; a limited number of travel bursaries will be made available.


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