CFP: What is Space: a Post-Disciplinary Workshop on the Return of an Old Debate

On behalf of Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis:

What is Space: a Post-Disciplinary Workshop on the Return of an Old Debate

The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me (Pascal, Thoughts, 1964)

Space is the everywhere of modern thought. It is the flesh that flatters the bones of theory. It is an all-purpose nostrum to be applied whenever things look sticky. (Crang and Thrift, Thinking Space, 2000)

Tuesday 17 June 2014 IAS Seminar Room, Millburn House, University of Warwick (more information:

The question of space has in both the humanities and the social sciences recently regained prominence on academic agendas. The so-called ‘spatial turn’, initially set in motion by geographers, has allowed historians, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, artists and others to return to the long abandoned, albeit fundamental, question of what space is. This reengagement has resulted in a gradual, ongoing questioning and re-opening of the great debates that earlier characterised the European Renaissance. Contemporary discussions and writings about space have led to a multiplication of literal and metaphorical spatial references ranging from ‘location’, ‘terrain’, ‘site’, ‘region’ among countless others. This intellectual enrichment means however also that the question of space has become an increasingly messy, ambiguous and sometimes even incongruous affair.

This workshop invites junior and senior academics from across the University to explain and demonstrate how they conceptualise space in their work. We believe that the problem of space is too important to be left to one discipline. The objective of this one-day workshop is therefore to deterritorialise and transcend the longstanding disciplinary academic divisions and to reengage academics from all departments in an attempt to build bridges over the vast rivers that have come to divide us. The goal is not so much to arrive at a common consensus, nor to find a universally acceptable solution to the fundamental problem that space poses to us, but to openly start questioning and speculating again about the meaning we give to the concept.

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers of approximately 20 minutes in length, accompanied by a short biographical note. Please email all abstracts and inquiries to the convenor, Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis at The deadline for the receipt of all abstracts is the 6th of May 2014. We can discuss the possibilities of combining the workshop papers into an edited volume.

This workshop is funded by the Institute of Advanced Study​, University of Warwick

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