Call for Papers - Isms

Call for Papers to Contributions to the History of Concepts

The Political Rhetoric of Isms

Isms form a great part of our political, cultural, and scholarly language. It would be quite difficult to conduct a serious conversation on literature, music, religion, or sciences without isms like “romanticism,” “classicism,” “neorealism,” “constructivism,” “Freudianism,” or “Platonism.” And it would be hard to imagine any news broadcasting on politics without words such as “liberalism,” “conservatism,” “communism,” “feminism,” or “multiculturalism.” The ism suffix has spread to nearly all languages either as a direct adaptation, or as a sign that roughly corresponds to the idea of an ism. In short: the use of ism is an irreplaceable feature of political and social language globally.

In debate, isms tend to be used to reduce a complex figure of thought into one word. By doing this, isms have often been a way of forging a long tradition of thought (e.g. Aristotelianism), pointing toward a wished for state of things (e.g. socialism), including or excluding strands of thought (e.g. true or false liberalism), delineating a set of unwanted practices (e.g. racism), or labeling an intellectual or political movement (e.g. feminism). In many cases, isms have been a way of setting the agenda for debate, making them unavoidable for anyone who wants to be heard in public life.

The call for this special issue in Contributions to the History of Concepts is motivated by the need to study the conceptual history of isms from a comparative perspective. By including articles that deal with the history of particular ism concepts, the journal issue will shed light on how the rhetorical and temporal properties of isms have varied over time and space.

Scholars working on the conceptual history of particular ism concepts are urged to send their full articles to Contributions to the History of Concepts at (historyofconcepts@gmail.com). All articles should include an abstract of 200–500 words. Authors are asked to consult the style guide of Contributions to the History of Concepts (see http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/_uploads/choc/contributions_style_guide.pdf).

The deadline for submissions is 30 March 2017.

Please see the attached PDF for further details about submission.

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