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Call For Papers: Pre/Early Modern Graduate Conference at Yale University

Published November 30, 2022

The pre-modern world was shaped by encounters and engagements that spanned geographical, cultural,
political, and temporal boundaries. Scholars have employed a variety of terms to describe such moments
of convergence, including “hybridity,” “creolization,” “syncretism,” “eclecticism,” and even “fuzziness.”
In 2009, historians Sünne Juterczenka and Gesa Mackenthun used the mathematical concept of “fuzzy
logic” as a framework for examining the entanglements, ambiguities, and mutual impacts resulting from
interactions between multiple cultures. “Fuzzy logic” argues for the presence of multiple truth values
on a spectrum from absolute truth to falsehood. It allows for the exploration of blurred boundaries and
the diffusion of practices. More recently, art historian Holly Schafer employs the term “eclecticism” to
describe intercultural objects whose disparate elements retain their independence while creating a new
form. Broadly defined as a practice inspired by a multiplicity of cultural, artistic, and stylistic sources,
eclecticism provides a way of thinking about the intercultural nature of the pre-modern world.
Building on these concepts, the Pre/Early Modern Forum invites graduate students working in the
humanities to explore all things “eclectic” and “fuzzy” that complicate cultural and geographical
boundaries in the pre-1800 world. We encourage submissions from all geographical distinctions,
especially those that explore topics related to East Asia. Interrogating the ways in which intercultural
encounters blur and maintain boundaries, the conference aims to foster creative and innovative dialogue
across cultures, regions, time periods, and disciplines.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
– Contact zones, intersectionality, and peripheries
– Movement of objects, people, and ideas across boundaries
– Authorship and ownership
– Translation and transcription
– Religious proselytization and conversion
– Micro-histories addressing specific instances of encounter
– Gift exchange, diplomacy, and trade
– Technology and methodology
– Patronage and collecting
– Power dynamics within systems of colonialism
– Identity formation and articulation

Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short
biography, to by Monday, January 2, 2023. Accepted participants will be
notified in late-January. Accommodation will be provided for all participants. At this time, we are
planning for an in-person symposium but will adapt to a virtual format if Covid-19 conditions and
University policies change.