The meaning of the word “freedom” is often taken for granted today, as if it means the same thing to everyone. This is true for the English term as well as for its equivalents in other languages. Yet the concept and practice of freedom have a rich and complex history, one that has been written, in Foucault’s phrase, on “entangled and confused parchments.” For its 2018-19 theme, the Institute for Historical Studies calls for projects that can help us understand the dynamic, shifting course of concepts of freedom over time and space. We seek an understanding that is attentive to disparity, contingency, and rupture, and that takes into account issues of language, religion, class, race, gender and sexuality. Among the questions that might be considered: How is the freedom of one group dependent upon the “unfreedom” of others? How have social practices served to thwart legally mandated freedoms (as in post-abolition societies)? How have theology and ideology molded conceptualizations of freedom? When cultures have come into contact, benignly or violently, how have concepts of freedom been conveyed across cultural and linguistic barriers?
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Deadline: Monday, January 15, 2018 (11:59 midnight CST).
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