SHESL-HTL Conference 2010 – The disciplinarization of linguistic knowledge — History and epistemology

SHESL (Société d’Histoire et d’Epistémologie des Sciences du Langage)
CNRS Research Group on the History of Linguistic Theories (HTL Group, UMR 7597 – University of Paris 7)
With the support of the Research Group EA 2288 DILTEC (University of Paris 3)

Organized by Jean-Louis Chiss (DILTEC, University of Paris 3) and Dan Savatovsky (HTL, University of
Bourgogne), with the participation of Danielle Candel (HTL Group) and Jacqueline Léon (HTL Group)

SHESL 2010 Conference – Paris, January 29-30, 2010

Call for presentations

The disciplinarization of linguistic knowledge
History and epistemology

The 2010 annual meeting of SHESL* (Société d’Histoire et d’Epistémologie des Sciences du Langage) will be devoted to the historical evolution of linguistic knowledge toward a full-fledged discipline, a process referred to here as disciplinarization. The period under focus spans the 19th and 20th centuries, though reference may be made to more remote periods. A comparative perspective on different linguistic traditions is also encouraged. Disciplinarization involves a number of issues which relate to the conditions in which the various forms of linguistic inquiry have come to stabilize into a body of knowledge, and to the ways in which this body of knowledge had been transmitted (through the founding of schools and traditions, the creation of university chairs, specialized journals, research teams, academic societies, the organization of conferences, etc.). Due consideration should be paid to the dissemination of linguistic knowledge beyond the academic circle as well as to the various types of technical or social application of this knowledge. In this respect, educational aspects are the most relevant, since they are at the crossroads of dissemination and application. They concern the “projection” of a body of linguistic knowledge to the field of language instruction, be it at primary and secondary school level or in higher education. Beyond educational aspects, and from a more general standpoint, we are especially interested in papers which question the meaning and the very validity of the notion of application (or applied linguistics), as it has been used (and still is) in theories of language.

Monographs on authors or a specific school or tradition are welcome too.
Proposals are invited for papers which might consider one or more of the following main themes (the list is not exclusive):

– The ways in which linguistic research has been or is organized and structured in different countries and cultures, and at different times (movements and schools, their affiliation to religious or philosophical traditions; procedures for sanctioning academic achievements; the structuring of research programs and teams; recruitment procedures for the hiring of academic staff etc.). To this we may add, as another aspect of disciplinarization, the reflections that linguists and grammarians of all times have conducted on the history of their own field.

– The institutional, political and social aspects of the linguist’s work which are consequent upon the newly emerging status of linguistics as a professional practice. In this respect, the fields to which linguists apply
their expertise deserve special attention (linguistic policies and planning, educational policies, the emergence and development of “language professions”, etc.). Of direct relevance too are the various technical applications of linguistics developed in recent times, such as machine translation and manmachine dialogue systems, Natural Language Processing, etc.

– Historical and epistemological reflections on the notion of application itself, and on the “applicationist trend” in the field of language teaching (whether of the mother tongue or of foreign languages). We believe that the latter issue, which was hotly debated in the 1980s-1990s, is worth revisiting. Finally, it may be profitable to examine the repercussions on linguistic research of all forms of social demand, most notably (though not exclusively) when this demand emanates from the educational community.

The book of abstracts is available here.

Société d'histoire et d'épistémologie des sciences du langage