The Drama of Intellectual Life: Performativity in the Study of Idea

This looks great! Hopefully see some people there:

The Drama of Intellectual Life: Performativity in the Study of Ideas

Please register online for this event.
Conference fee: £30 (full), £10 (students) – includes lunch, tea/coffee
Deadline: Monday 25 May 2015


Patrick Baert (University of Cambridge)
Marcus Morgan (University of Cambridge)

Papers by:

Jeffrey Alexander (Yale University): Dramatic intellectuals: the elements of performance

Patrick Baert (University of Cambridge): Intellectuals, positioning, conflict.

Andreas Hess (University College Dublin): Exile from Exile: The Making of Judith Shklar’s Political Theory

Hazem Kandil (University of Cambridge) on Muslim Brotherhood

Andy Merrifield (University of Cambridge): I prefer not to: Radical Politics as non-performativity

Gisele Sapiro (École des hautes études en sciences sociales/CNRS): Modes of intervention of public intellectuals in France

Helen Small (University of Oxford): The Work of the Intellectual

Harald Wydra (University of Cambridge): The engaged outsider: Hermann Hesse’s spiritual revolution


This conference provides a forum for discussion on the various ways in which academics might approach intellectual life through the lenses of performance and performativity. It aims to reveal the drama lying at the heart of intellectual life and provide innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding it.

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, and a broadly-conceived definition of ‘intellectuals’, it aims to show how the study of intellectual work, intellectual collaboration, intellectual dispute, and intellectual controversy, can all be augmented by drawing upon the rich resources provided to us by the traditions of performance and performativity in the human and social sciences. The conference will be relevant to sociologists, historians, literary critics, political scientists, and human geographers interested in original understandings of intellectuals and their practices within society.

Through a series of concrete case studies, the conference will address the following questions:

What is distinctive about performance in the intellectual realm?

Can we identify historical shifts or cultural variations within intellectual performance?

In what ways do intellectual performances within the academy need to be conceptualised differently to public intellectual performances?

How do intellectual performances position their actors and those around them?

How do various narratives, props, forms of rhetoric, and scene, conspire to make performances succeed or fail?

How might performance studies strengthen our understanding of intellectual disputes and controversies?

How might intellectual performances be understood as productive of different realities?

What are the various forms of capital upon which successful intellectual performances depend, and in what ways might such performances act to structure and reproduce the fields in which they take place?

One thought on “The Drama of Intellectual Life: Performativity in the Study of Idea

  1. Herein lies the circumferential Field of Action for the Artist/Intellectual working the Contests of a divided Interest, ultimately to Perform Defense against the assault of contravening Visions, Dramas, Assertions of cogent Idea, and most of all, or essentially, of Value across the whole realm of Descriptive Strategies available to Intellectual, Historical Analysis/Criticism. A fine ally to the Greek Dramatists in modern garb, forecasting the farce, fate, comedy, tragedy of Immediate Human dilemma and accompanying resolutions, so advertised as Art.

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