Handbook on the Circulation of Academic Knowledge

Handbook on the Circulation of Academic Knowledge

Internationale und interdisziplinäre Kooperation
Vom - Bis
31.03.2020 -
Gernot Saalmann

Call for contributions

Decades of historical and sociological research have taught us some simple lessons: academic knowledge is a human artifact, it results from social and collective practices, and it is always produced in a specific place and at a particular time. Understanding and explaining the circulation of academic knowledge therefore has to pay careful attention to communication processes, in the broad sense of the term.

Although the study of the circulation of scholars, books, theories and concepts is not new, in the 1990s social scientists became interested in studying the circulation of data, practices, images, technologies, discourses and values, to the extent that the word ‘circulation’ has become a catchword for all kinds of transfers. How and why does knowledge circulate? How can we objectify the fact that knowledge circulates? How does the legitimacy of knowledge change when it circulates? Who has and who does not have access to it, and how does access shape circulation? These are major questions that guide our understanding of the cultural and political nature of science, social sciences and technology. It is this understanding that has been useful for cutting across regional and disciplinary boundaries. However, circulation is under-theorized in almost all disciplines, although empirical efforts have been made to describe and explain specific cases of circulation and, less frequently, some comparisons have been attempted. A systematic approach to the many theoretical, methodological and disciplinary ways of understanding circulation is still missing. This handbook aims to fill the gap. It will explicitly focus on academic knowledge, its historicity and also on the ways in which it relates to other spaces, actors and types of knowledge.

Why is circulation of knowledge a topic that requires scholarly attention? First, the long-term impact of globalization has been shaping knowledge institutions, processes and actors. Specifically, globalization has made it necessary to surpass traditional boundaries created by modern perceptions of the world, from the nation state to national styles of science. However, it is not clear how the different levels (from local to transnational) (re)produce conditions for circulation, or how these levels intersect. Second, circulation is not a straightforward process where what is produced in one place can easily flow elsewhere. As soon as circulation comes under the spotlight, it becomes clear that uneven economic, social, cultural, technological, scholarly and power relations are always present and provide asymmetrical conditions for knowledge circulation. Third, academic studies on circulation have depended on a diverse array of philosophical assumptions, methodologies, theoretical and disciplinary frameworks, which often hinder the possibility for dialogue and prevent deeper understanding of the phenomenon. An understanding of the main differences and similarities between approaches, including between natural and social sciences, and their suitability for answering particular research questions, is still missing from the literature.

Despite the growing interest in the subject among social scientists, we still lack a thorough and systematic analysis of the circulation of knowledge. The handbook aims to foster and give visibility to this emerging field of research, bringing together different epistemic communities with regard to conceptual and methodological approaches, languages of publication, geographical areas and topics studied. The intention is to cover: all disciplinary perspectives that problematize what knowledge circulation is; the paths, media and agents of circulation that exist and how they work; the structures, institutions and processes of circulation; the directions (and speed) of circulation, and critical understanding of the phenomenon.

The following list aims to provide potential contributors with a range of possible topics, problems and approaches related to circulation of academic knowledge. It is not exhaustive and authors can contribute on other aspects. We encourage authors to link or contrast several of the topics/problems.
1. Core ideas, process concepts: translation, localization, negotiation, cooperation, diffusion, transmission, communication, reception, appropriation, standardization, interpretation, selective adoption, mixing, hybridization, consecration, recognition, legitimation, validation, inter-/transnationalization, globalization, glocalization, inter-/transdisciplinarity
2. Spaces and actors of circulation: individual agency, career building and career strategies, publication strategies, co-authorships; brokers, experts; public institutions, laboratories, museums, archives; political organizations, international organizations, think tanks, political party foundations, civil society organizations, consultancy, NGOs, social movements, trade unions, associations; cultural production (arts, literature, music, film); mobilities (of scholars, students), migration, exile, diasporas, expeditions, journeys, meetings, conferences, handbooks, self-reflexivity
3. Circulating texts and theories: circulating texts, theories, concepts, programmes, models; styles of academic scholarship, canons, classics, scientific schools and their paradigms, ideology
4. Media of circulation: printing, transport, information and communication technologies, digitalization, journals, books, encyclopedia, publishing industry, newspapers, social media, big data, catalogues and bibliographies, databases, collections, language, teaching, curriculum and textbooks/readers, academic theses, socialization of new generations of scholars, capacity building
5. Academic/extra-academic knowledge: audiences, exchange, confrontation, resistance and opposition to circulating academic knowledge, public understanding of science, expertization of science, popularization, democratization
6. Political economy of knowledge circulation: institutionalization of science, science policy, university systems, research cooperation, rankings, evaluations, funding, materialities, economic use (commodification, patents, intellectual property rights), branding and agenda setting
7. History, geography and geopolitics: scales (local, global, national, regional, inter-/transnational), geographies of reading and writing, centres and peripheries, asymmetries, power, South-North relations, diffusion of western science, entanglement, dis/connection, science and empire, indigenization, endogenization, islamization, decoloniality, post-colonialism, Eurocentrism, universalism, domination, imperialism, hegemony, counter-hegemony, social stratification and inequality, class, race/ethnicity, gender, academic authority/hierarchy, identity politics, religion, access and visibility, invisibilization/marginalization/silencing, censorship
8. Methodological approaches to studying circulation of academic knowledge: bibliometrics, prosopography, textual analysis, reception studies, hermeneutics, discourse analysis, use of metaphors, history of concepts, microhistory, network analysis, actor-network theory, boundary/subordinating objects, ethnography, participant observation, biographic approaches and life histories

Instructions for authors

1. This is an international endeavor and we encourage participation of authors from various disciplines and all the regions of the world. Multiple authorship is desirable.
2. In view of the intended purpose of the handbook to serve as a sourcebook to newcomers to the field, the different chapters should cover the state-of-the-art of the issue being dealt with. They should include short case studies or other empirical evidence as a means of illustration. They can suggest future directions of research. Contributions should be clear, concise and comprehensive. Technical jargon should be avoided whenever possible, as this publication is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students and professionals from various disciplines interested in applying knowledge of the topic of circulation in their respective fields.
3. Chapters should be up to 10,000 words, including references. We expect contributions in correct English.
4. At this stage we would like to invite you to submit a 300-500 words abstract as well as a short bio note (200 words) for potential chapters. Given the main theme of the book, consideration will be given to abstracts making clear the link between the topic they propose to explore and the circulation of academic knowledge.
5. If we receive two or more good abstracts dealing with the same or similar topics, we will encourage the authors to join forces and work together in producing a single co-authored chapter.
6. Both abstracts and complete chapters will be peer-reviewed by the editorial committee according to a two-step process.


Abstracts should be submitted by 31st March 2020 to wiebke.keim@misha.fr and leandro.rodriguez@udlap.mx
We expect to come back to authors by 30 July 2020
A first draft of the chapters will be expected by 31st March 2021. Submission to a global publisher is expected by October 2021.

Editorial committee: Rigas Arvanitis (IRD), Natacha Bacolla (CONICET/Universidad Nacional de Rosario/Universidad Nacional del Litoral), Chandni Basu (IDSK Kolkata), Fernanda Beigel (CONICET), Magdaléna Hadjiisky (Université de Strasbourg), Wiebke Keim (SAGE/CNRS), Stefan Klein (Universidade de Brasília), Mauricio Nieto Olarte (Universidad de los Andes), Barbara Riedel (Universität Freiburg), Leandro Rodríguez Medina (UDLAP), Clara Ruvituso (Freie Universität Berlin), Gernot Saalmann (Universität Freiburg), Tobias Schlechtriemen (Universität Freiburg), Hebe Vessuri (CENDES, Emeritus)