For the academic year of 2017-8, departmental events, invited guest lectures, and conversations will be organized around the theme of “disruption(s).” Disruption, in its broadest sense, can encompass anything from the interruption of how a system, process, or event functions to a radical and violent act to bring about change.
Disruption is also, of course, foundational to historical practice and debate. Historians argue over the dual processes of change and continuity over time, while the archives on which historical practice rests chronicle both disruptions and efforts made to manage them. Recent global events have only served to remind us of the enduring place of disruption in human history. Political crises, the rise of authoritarianism, social upheaval, mass migration, and threats of global epidemics are among the most disruptive issues of our time. As we place contemporary issues within longer historical trajectories, the theme of “disruption(s)” will serve as a spring board to facilitate a wide range of important discussions.
The theme of “disruption(s)” will also guide our conversations on the production of historical scholarship. In addition to a distinguished line of guest speakers, members of the department will discuss their own research and engagement with histories of “disruption(s).” Whether it is asking new questions about past disruptions (social, political, technological, or intellectual) or thinking about how we tell the history of changes in society, culture, or in the evolution of thought, “disruption(s)” will provide both a starting point and a conceptual thread throughout the academic year.
We invite you to join us for an exciting year of talks and conversations!