interfaceing 2022

Telling Innovations and Tradition East and West

In many places in the world, success stories and innovation patterns link to narratives rooted in the historical tradition of a cultural sphere. Generally speaking, we can recognize two fundamental methods to deal with one’s cultural heritage: Either acknowledging the past as a rich source of cultural identity or as the origin of behaviorist patterns that strengthen or even enforce a positive development leading to innovation or a brighter future; or, conversely, perceiving the tradition as a heavy burden from the past that one needs to get rid of, whereby this emancipatory process can again serve as a stimulus of innovation.

Very often the perspective of the past is very schematic and based on formalistic or simplistic views or stereotypes – either positive or negative –, which are often emphasized in the education system by school curricula or in other normative ways. This is not a phenomenon of the present times, but can be observed throughout the history of culture.

The goal of the conference is to analyze and describe typical patterns, explaining the relationship between narratives of innovation and tradition, in particular of cultures within the Western sphere and East Asia. Papers probing into this subject matter from a comparative perspective are also encouraged.

interface, as a multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual journal, feels particularly suitable to convene a conference that will have these different attitudes to innovations and traditions juxtaposed, examined and interpreted in the light of each other. So we call scholars working in fields such as anthropology, geography, history, education, literature, art, and social sciences (e. g. politics, sociology, religion, and cultural studies) to submit proposals for either panels or individual papers.

Topics for consideration might include (but are not limited to):

  • The ways narratives of innovation and narratives of tradition have been constructed
  • The ways these narratives have been interpreted and linked to each other
  • The ways in which societies have reacted to and coped with the intrinsic tension between innovation and tradition, and the ways technological transformation has shaped social change.
  • Mass media and other interactive tools that are and were employed to spread the corresponding narratives
  • The role of political ideologies in interpreting or reshaping tradition and innovation
  • The ways the standpoints of innovators and traditionalists have been presented and articulated in various times and places, as well as the perception of authorities and elites to their standpoint
  • The role of education in fostering innovation or maintaining tradition
  • How past narratives of innovation are shaping the more recent ones
  • The views towards occasions where innovation or tradition were particularly successful or unsuccessful, and the interpretations of these successes or failures

Corresponding methodological approaches, in particular perspectives from digitial humanities, are especially welcome.

Proposals for panels should be submitted at <> by 02 May 2022.

The papers can be presented in any of the following languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian.

The conference will take place at Trier University, Germany, from 30 September to 02 October 2022. It is organized by the Institute of Sinology at Trier University as an in-person conference; however, we will be able to transform it into an online or a hybrid conference, should travel restrictions persist to summer 2022.

Papers presented at the conference can be submitted for publication in the Special Topic issue(s) of interface to be published in 2023 (subject to double-blind peer review).

The Trier Organizing Committee of interfaceing 2022 would like to thank National Taiwan University (Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures), Kobe University (Department of European Literature), University of Bristol (Department of Classics and Ancient History), and Seoul National University (Institute of Classical Studies) for their kind support and cooperation in organizing this conference.

2. Instructions for Submitting Panel Proposals