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.
The deadline for submissions is 30 March 2017. Each submission will first be assessed for scope and suitability for Contributions to the History of Concepts by the editors. Articles that are deemed to be within scope will be further sent to peer review within a month after submission. While assessment of scope is based on full articles, the editors are also willing to comment on abstracts by potential authors prior to the deadline. Papers that are accepted after peer review are planned to be included in a special issue to be published as the first issue of 2018. The editors also reserve the possibility of organizing the special issue in another matter if the accepted submissions give cause to it. The call welcomes submissions from all spheres of life. There is no chronological, thematic or geographical limit to the empirical cases that the articles can address. All articles should however include analysis of historical examples of ism concepts in use. We prioritize papers that focus on the contextual reading of sources and show that the author is familiar with the tradition of conceptual history.
Contributions to the History of Concepts
is an international peer-reviewed journal. The journal serves as a platform for theoretical and methodological articles as well as empirical studies on the history of concepts and their social, political, and cultural contexts. It aims to promote the dialogue between the history of concepts and other disciplines, such as intellectual history, history of knowledge and science, linguistics, translation studies, history of political thought and discourse analysis. For more information, see http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/contributions
Tentative timeline: 30 March, submission of articlesEnd of April, notification of articles sent to peer reviewMay–July, peer review and selection of articlesAugust-October, revision of articlesDecember, final articles are accepted for publication