CFP: Power and Knowledge from the 18th Century to Today

University of Lorraine (Nancy, France), 24-25 November 2022

Dating back to the beginnings of Greek democracy and the Platonic conception of the philosopher king, the relations between power and knowledge have recently come back to the fore with the rise of populism or the sanitary crisis. Whether an obstacle to democracy, a means for citizens to control their representatives or a vehicle for regenerating democracy (Mounk, 2018), knowledge now appears, more than ever before, as a constitutive feature of government.

This interdisciplinary conference will seek to explore the implications of such relations since the 18th century and to examine to what extent knowledge may establish, legitimize or discredit the forms and figures of political power.

Papers may discuss, but are not limited to:

  • Experts, intellectuals, scholars in the public sphere
  • Think tanks and debating societies and their relations with rulers, parties and ideologies
  • Historiography as a political project
  • Political economy as the art of governing and/or economic science in the service of the
    political (mercantilists, physiocrats, classics, scientific socialists…)
  • The disciplinary evolution of economics: depoliticisation and politicisation
  • Knowledge as constitutive of national identity
  • The legitimisation of policies through science
  • The fashioning of the elite (intellectual trajectories and influences, training, Oxbridge, the
    Ivy League, the formation of canons…)
  • Committed academics and knowledge as a channel for protest: Cultural Studies theorists
    and practitioners, neo-Conservative intellectuals, cultural critics…
  • The specialisation of knowledge and democratic representation
  • Power and knowledge in formal institutions and/or the public sphere

Please send proposals in English or in French (300 words maximum) and a short biography to and by 24th June 2022.
You will be notified early July about the committee’s decision.

Organising committee:
Vanessa Boullet (Université de Lorraine)
Pauline Collombier (Université de Strasbourg)
Stéphane Guy (Université de Lorraine)
Linda Mathlouthi (Université de Lorraine)
Alice Monter (Université de Lorraine)
Peterson Nnajiofor (Université de Lorraine)
Ecem Okan (Université de Lorraine)
Françoise Orazi (Université Lumière Lyon II)
Rafal Soborski (Richmond: The American International University in London, UK)
Colin Tyler (University of Hull, UK)