Rethinking and Representing ‘the Commons’ in English Literature, Philosophy and Society between the 16th and the 19th Centuries

Appel à communication
Date limite de réponse : 15/09/2019

International Conference

Organized by Jeremy Elprin and Mickaël Popelard,

University of Caen Normandie, 28-29 May 2020

This international conference sets out to explore a notion – ‘the commons’ – which, having undergone many historical, theoretical and aesthetic transformations since the early modern period, may be said to inform a vast network of overlapping discourses: from the social and economic to the literary and linguistic, but also of course to the more strictly geographical or topographical. If the field of ‘Commons Studies’ has received a great deal of attention in recent years (as evidenced by the work of Elinor Ostrom, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, David Harvey, Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot, among others), we believe that the issue should be addressed not only from a legal, philosophical or economic standpoint but also from the perspective of literature and the visual arts, and with a longer view of its evolution in English society (from the 16th to the 19th century). More particularly, we would like to open up a space for dialogue between theoretical and aesthetic approaches towards (or appropriations of) ‘the commons’, as it is our contention that ‘the commons’ need to be shown and represented, not just discussed in abstract terms. In paving the way for a more thorough critical exploration of ‘the commons’, this conference thus hopes to gather researchers from a variety of disciplines (philosophy, history, literarture, the visual arts, etc.).

Proposals for papers (300-500 words), in English or in French, should be sent, along with a short biographical note, to Jeremy Elprin ( and Mickaël Popelard ( by 15 September 2019. Notifications will be given by the end of September.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Janet Clare (University of Hull)

Fiona Stafford (University of Oxford).

Comité scientifique / Advisory Board :

Sophie Chiari, Université de Clermont-Auvergne

Jean-Jacques Chardin, Université de Strasbourg

Mark Frost, University of Portsmouth

Bronwen Price, University of Portsmouth

Sorana Corneanu, University of Bucharest

Alain Morvan, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité

Laurent Châtel, Université de Lille

Pascale Guibert, Université de Besançon