Friday, November 21, 2008

Histories of Misunderstanding

If I have it right, the Second Annual UVa History Graduate Students Conference is devoted to an intriguing topic. Here is the call for papers:
The Graduate History Students Association at the University of Virginia is happy to announce the second annual History Graduate Students Conference, to be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, on April 18-19, 2009.

Misunderstandings, misinterpretations, misconceptions, and miscalculations are an inseparable part of people's lives. Yet only rarely do historians pay special attention to these phenomena in the study of the past. This conference will provide a forum for graduate students of history and related fields at all levels to discuss misunderstandings in history.

Possible topics might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Miscommunications in Battle and in the Political Arena Gendered Misperceptions Cross-Cultural Misinterpretations (first contact between settlers and indigenous people, etc.) "Distorted" Memories Technological Appropriations Media Mistakes Unforeseen Consequences

The papers should address the problem of distinguishing between unintended misunderstandings and intentional manipulation and misrepresentation.

Keynote address by Prof. Allan Megill, University of Virginia

You are invited to submit paper proposals based on seminar papers, master's theses, or dissertation projects. Proposals should be no more than one page and include the scholar's name, e-mail address, the paper's title, and a short description of the proposed topic.

Paper proposals must be submitted by December 5, 2008.

If selected, participants will be asked to submit a final version of their paper (no more than 20 minutes) two weeks prior to the conference.

Submit abstracts and questions by email to Mike Caires (