Call for papers: Paradigmatic Conflict and Crisis

 Graduate Student Conference on the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, Columbia
University, New York, February 28-March 1, 2013

The annual Graduate Student Conference at Columbia University's
Department of Middle Eastern South Asian and African Studies (MESAAS)
would like to evoke the concept of paradigm in its solicitation of
papers that explore the moments, spaces and debates between
conflicting paradigms and resulting from paradigmatic crises, or
challenge the dominant theoretical positions on what constitutes a
paradigm. Papers can focus on any topic within the humanities and
social sciences.

The concept of paradigm opens broad possibilities of theoretically
sound analysis of social and intellectual phenomena across diverse
traditions and time periods. Paradigm is commonly but not exclusively
viewed as a system of knowledge with a particular power structure,
within which a central set of beliefs or values plays a dominant and
defining role. This idea of paradigm makes their study a challenging
yet rewarding endeavor for the purposes of historical and cultural
analysis. Studying paradigms in that sense may consist of analyzing
major social transformations for the purpose of revealing the
paradigmatic tensions and crises underlying their unfolding, or,
conversely, at employing paradigms as tools for the clarification of
socio-political events. In addition or in conjunction with that, the
very notion of paradigm can be contested and transformed.

Paper submissions may relate to but do not need to be bound by any of
the following themes:

Paradigm as Comparative Tool: to what extent and in what ways does the
identification of central elements as paradigmatic within given
intellectual traditions allow for historical and cross-cultural
comparative work?

Conflict In and Across Paradigms: How is conflictcontradictory ideas
or beliefs, forms of hostility and opposition, modes of exclusion and
resistancedealt with in a paradigm? Can paradigms themselves be in
conflict, and how are those conflicts resolved?

Paradigm Shifts: When and how do paradigms become outdated? Are
paradigms always outdated, lagging behind the phenomena they purport
to comprehend?

Critical theory as Anti-paradigmatic: What role does theory, as a
dissenting science, have in challenging well-established intellectual
paradigms and the transformations that constitute changes in paradigm?

Paradigmatic technology: If technology can be understood as the
instrumentation of a paradigm, how does the adoption of given
technology influence the adoption or development of new and different
paradigms? Can technology challenge or strengthen a paradigm?

Students who are interested in presenting a 20-minute paper should
submit a 300-word abstract and one-page CV to by January 15th. Panel submissions are

Exceptional papers will be collected into a single digital volume
under the conference title.

For any other inquiry please contact us via:

Wendell Hassan Marsh
Columbia University
401 Knox Hall, MC9628606
606 West 122nd St
New York, NY 10027

E mail
Visit the website at

Camille Rhoné

Agrégée d'histoire, titulaire d'une thèse de doctorat en histoire de l'Islam médiéval ("Défendre le territoire en Iran nord-oriental - Khorassan et Transoxiane -, IXe-XIe siècle"), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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