Annual Themes

2013-14: Democracy

The theme for 2013-2015 is Democracy. We invite scholars to reflect upon democracy as a focus of historical, philosophical, literary, cultural, or aesthetic analysis. We seek projects that consider democracy from within the humanities and that understand democracy as concept, practice, or mode with bearing on politics, law, and society, as well as literature, language, and the arts. Democracy—whether conceived as the legitimation of power or its exercise, as “the reign of the limitless desire of individuals in modern mass society” or the opening of politics and society to a plurality of voices—is at once contested and coveted. Democracy is implicated in nationalism and cosmopolitanism, war and peace, justice and reconciliation, and freedom and enslavement, that is, who is included in or left out of the social contract and civic life.

We welcome cutting-edge work from scholars across the humanities and humanistic social sciences focused on any aspect of democracy, from Ancient Greece to the contemporary Middle East; from the emergence of print to the rise of digitization; from social movements (new and old) to liberalism (new and old); from the avant-garde to popular culture. Research may focus on any region of the world, any period of history, and any language, medium, genre, or form. We especially encourage work that challenges disciplinary or methodological boundaries.