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Call for papers - Enacting the People: Political Representation and Democratic Legitimacy

Posted on 16 June 2015

After several decades of widespread neglect, the concept of political representation is making a comeback in various academic disciplines.

Political Representation and Democratic Legitimacy conference image

The conference

Political representation lies at the core of modern politics, yet we remain deeply ambivalent about its worth and significance. Addressing this ambiguity requires a serious exploration into the genealogy of the concept of representation as well as cutting-edge work of conceptual clarification and conceptual innovation confronting the question of what political representation is and/or what it can do, and how. Given the prominence of the idea of representation in democratic theory and democratic practice, none of this would be complete without an attempt to revisit fundamental and vexed problems concerning the relation of representation to democracy.

The York Graduate Conference “Enacting the People: Political Representation and Democratic Legitimacy” is an opportunity for current graduate students and early career researchers to present their research on these and related questions to other graduate students, early career researchers, and senior members of the University of York. Papers will be selected from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, drawn from the humanities and social sciences, with an emphasis on political theory, both historical and normative.

The conference will take place on Tuesday 29 September 2015

Guest speaker

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Andrew Rehfeld (Washington University in St Louis) has kindly agreed to give a talk entitled “On Representing” that will open the academic year at the department and close the conference.

There is no conference fee, but participants are responsible for their own accommodation and travels. A light meal will be offered.

Call for papers

We invite proposals from a diversity of fields that deal with the question of political representation from a historical and/or normative perspective, namely political theory, the history of political thought, philosophy, literary studies, gender studies, classics, sociology, anthropology, and other related fields.

To participate in the conference, please complete the online submission form. When you open the form, you will be asked to submit some personal details, a brief (one page) CV and an abstract of 250 to 500 words (max) for presentations of approximately 20 minutes. The submission deadline is Friday 31 July 2015. We will notify authors of the decision regarding their papers by Saturday 15 August 2015.

We expect to pre-circulate the papers to panel members and the discussant for the panel. The submission deadline for the full paper is Friday 11 September 2015. Paper submissions are preferred in .doc, .rtf or .pdf format. The email address for paper submissions is:

Notes to editors:

The conference is sponsored by:

For all enquiries, please email: