Call for Papers

The Academy in Exile, a joint initiative of the Institute of Turkish Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI) with the support of the Volkswagen Foundation invite submissions for a two-day international conference.

Extended Submission Deadline: May 1, 2018

Exile and Academic Freedom Today

The conference will take place on 18-19 October 2018 at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI).

With populism and anti-intellectualism on the rise and civil liberties and academic freedom under intensified threat, increasing numbers of scholars are facing persecution in their home countries and seeking safe havens abroad. The Academy in Exile provides a forum for scholars-at-risk to continue working in the social sciences and humanities outside their home countries. With the inaugural 2018 conference, the Academy asks how the global intellectual community can and ought to respond to this crisis.

The conference will explore the institutionalization of academic freedom since its establishment as Lehr- und Lernfreiheit at Humboldt University. It asks how the meaning of exile is changing with respect to academic freedom. With growing numbers of scholars internally displaced or exiled abroad, emphasis will be placed on the common understanding of exile as a form of refuge, as well as on other types of state and social control of dissent and free thought.

With unprecedented numbers of people on the move today—symptomatic of a global crisis produced by armed conflict, economic and social inequality, and environmental degradation—we further inquire into the relationship between exiled scholars and refugees. How is exile to be understood today? How do contemporary and historical experiences of exile compare? What are the intellectual legacies of earlier exile scholars? What institutional support is needed for exiled scholars to continue their research and become integrated into German academic life? What are the potential benefits to the host society? Can we bridge the disciplinary distinctions between exile studies and refugee and forced migration studies—traditionally regarded as separate areas of intellectual inquiry—to the benefit of stakeholders inside and outside the academy?

“Exile and Academic Freedom Today” is a forum for multidisciplinary dialogue. The conference organizers aim to attract research papers that deal with (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The institutionalization of academic freedom under historical perspective
  • Is academic freedom always worth protecting? The co-optation of liberal discourses by the far right
  • What constitutes being ‘at-risk’? Differences and commonalities between exiled scholars and refugees
  • Contemporary challenges involved in assisting exiled academics
  • The challenges of being a scholar in exile
  • Changing relations between the public, state and educational institutions
  • The impact of exile scholarship on disciplinary formation
  • The figure of the exile/refugee scholar in contemporary literature
  • Possibilities offered by web-based teaching and learning for promoting academic freedom
  • Integrating exile/refugee scholars into new academic contexts
  • Contested meanings of exile and academic freedom
  • Political theories of exile
  • A new discipline in the making—exile, refugee and forced migration studies?
  • Germany as a country of exile
  • Defining the obligations and responsibilities of hosts and exiles/refugees

Application Procedure

This call is open to scholars at all levels with expertise in the issues and questions laid out in the CFP. The working language of the conference is English. Abstracts for a 20 min paper should not exceed 300 words. Please submit the abstract, along with a brief biographical statement, in a single pdf file by 1 May 2018 to:

The Academy in Exile will cover the travel and accommodation expenses of speakers. Conference speakers will be invited to include synopses of their papers on the blog of the Academy in Exile and/or submit revised versions of their papers for publication in a peer-reviewed print/open access format.

For questions please contact the academic coordinator of the Academy in Exile, Dr. Egemen Özbek: