Reblogged from Progressive Geographies

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

Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick.

17 June 2014. Poster here.

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)

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 Nieuwehuis. 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.