Alert: CFP coming
Interdisciplinary Futures: Open the Social Sciences 20 years later
Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Open the Social
19-20 January 2017, Lisbon
The slim but remarkable volume (Open the Social Sciences: Report of
the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences)
was published in 1996. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation had
established, in 1993, the multidisciplinary Gulbenkian Commission on
the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. After three years of work,
led by Immanuel Wallerstein, the multidisciplinary Commission
published its report (with Stanford University Press). The Report
analysed the situation in the social sciences, its origins, and
possible futures, making recommendations for improvement largely based
on ideals of interdisciplinarity – ideals that have gained ground more
broadly since then in the academia. The report attracted attention and
incited commentary and some debate within the social sciences.
This year, 20 years have passed, and it is now an opportune time to
revisit the themes and suggestions of the Report. Many of them are
still very timely, awaiting further examination and debate. On the
other hand, some things have changed, and it will be important to
update the diagnoses and proposals accordingly. Reconsidering the
Report and its messages collectively at a conference will provide an
opportunity to address the challenges in a way that is respectful for
historical continuity and generative of novel and updated insights.
The conference will focus on three general themes around the Report of
the Gulbenkian Commission:
1. The Report itself, its background, its context, its diagnoses, its
messages, its arguments, its recommendations — both historical and
analytic contributions are welcome.
2. The issue of how to update the Report, based on what has changed
since 1996 regarding the themes and claims and arguments in the
Report, asking how the report would look like if written today.
3. Present and future directly addressed, examining current trends
plus anticipating and designing the future of the social sciences from
the point of view of interdisciplinarity.
A call for papers will be circulated soon. It recommends approaching
the themes in terms of case studies and detailed (more detailed than
was possible in the short Report) analyses of trends and practices of
scientific inquiry, its changing cognitive structures, institutional
contexts, and interdisciplinary interconnections. The goal of the call
is to attract proposals from scholars active in a variety of research
fields, from history and philosophy of (social) science to the various
disciplinary perspectives applied to the study of social science and
higher education (from economics, sociology, political science,
anthropology, management, education, communication studies,
Immanuel Wallerstein on “How Much Opening Has Occurred?”
Björn Wittrock, SCAS
The name of the last keynote speaker will be confirmed soon.