Enfilade

CFP: Raynal Symposium, Summer 2010

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 28, 2009

Raynal’s Histoire philosophique des deux Indes: Colonial Writing, Cultural Exchange and Social Networks in the Age of the Enlightenment
Newnham College, Cambridge, 1-3 July 2010

The year 2009 will see the publication of  the first volumes of the new critical edition of Raynal’s Histoire philosophique des deux Indes by the Centre international d’étude du XVIIIe siècle of Ferney-Voltaire — the first volume of the text and the Tableaux, atlas et cartes.  For eighteenth-century scholars this is a landmark event. After a long period of neglect, there has been a remarkable explosion of interest in Raynal, and the new edition — the first complete one since 1820 — will be welcomed by researchers across a wide range of disciplines working in the fields of colonial history, Enlightenment studies, the history of ideas, literary history and book history.

The nineteen books of the Histoire, which chart a philosophical and political history of European colonial trade and settlements, were hugely influential.  Translated into many other European languages, they helped popularise and shape anti-colonial and abolitionist discourse even while they served to inform colonial administrators and to reflect on intra-European rivalries. Substantially revised and augmented over a period of ten years, Raynal’s project was a vast undertaking in which he drew on multiple resources, placing the Histoire at the centre of a complex and extensive network of writers, politicians, administrators, scientists and other thinkers on the one hand, and, on the other, at the confluence of countless texts concerning the history of European colonies and travel writing, written over several centuries in different times and spaces, and from often very different professional and ideological positions.

Focussing on the twin concepts of exchange and networks, understood from textual, cultural and social perspectives, this conference seeks to explore Raynal’s Histoire within the multiple circuits of communication that simultaneously shape the colonial world, its modes of sociability and its literature. The conference aims to bring current areas of  investigation from various disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences into dialogue: historical and sociological approaches to sociability and its role in knowledge formation; recent work in English and Modern Languages on what have variously been described as textual migrations and intercultural transfer; book history and bibliography and the material dimensions of the text’s production and reception; work from literary, musical and art history on collaborative enterprises such as ateliers and editorial and authorial teams and their role in producing hybrid and collective works. The twin concepts of exchange and networks, as well as being central to the concerns of Raynal’s Histoire philosophique des deux Indes, are matters of contemporary interest in all of these disciplines. (more…)