Out of Control? How Concepts and Practices Circulate across Boundaries

4th Annual Conference

Together with the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, and in cooperation with the Main Research Area Transformation of Contemporary Societies (University Duisburg-Essen), the Centre invites the submission of abstracts for its joint Annual Conference, which will take place at Gerhard Mercator Haus, Duisburg from Thursday, 27 October – Friday, 28 October 2022. To propose a conference contribution, please fill out the submission form on the bottom of this page.

Concept Note

Concepts and practices are essential for how we think about the world and how we act in it. They provide orientation, guide expectations, and provide the grounds for communication and social coordination. In an increasingly complex world, cross-border transfer, dissemination, and circulation of concepts and practices are essential for global cooperation and science communication alike. Yet, concepts do not mean the same thing to everyone. Ways of doing things are not necessarily shared across the boundaries of societal sectors, nation states, or regional entities. However, despite the intricacies involved, researchers and practitioners often assume that direct policy transfer across world regions or sectors is attainable, or that projected knowledge transfer from the academic to the political or the public sphere is possible. But what happens if the circulation of concepts and practices flies 'out of control' – when through appropriation and translation they develop a life of their own, or circulation meets obstacles that disrupt it altogether?

These processes can also be related to the study of conceptions of world order and global politics. Examples include attempts by Western, Chinese, and Russian actors to diffuse and legitimize their own world order conceptions. Or, more recently, in the Ukraine war, a bounded conception of imperial world order confronts Western conceptions of liberal international order, while at the same time appropriating (and mis-using?) some of its elements. In the field of science communication studies, increasing attention is directed towards understanding how and why attempts of making academic knowledge accessible to wider publics meet rejection and refusal, while science practices are (mis-)appropriated to produce pseudo-knowledge. The translation of complex academic concepts and practices into popular notions might also generate dissonance that estranges scientists from the aims of transfer and dissemination.

The 4th Annual Conference of the KHK/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) seeks to address these issues by bringing researchers from the fields of global cooperation and science communication studies into a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue. Possible themes for presentations, panels and round tables include, but are not limited to:

  • Multidirectional travel of concepts and practices
  • New challenges for translators 
  • Consonant and dissonant circulation
  • Conflicting circulation
  • Boomerang circulation 


Call for Papers and Panels

This conference welcomes contributions from different disciplines across the humanities and social sciences and law, as well as diverse theoretical, historical, and area studies perspectives. Contributions may take different forms, including research papers, short thought pieces, memos on specific methodological aspects, and suggestions for round tables or panels.

Deadline for submissions is 31st August 2022.

The Centre for Global Cooperation Research is an interdisciplinary and international learning community that seeks to enhance understanding of the possibilities and limits of global cooperation and explore new options for global public policy. The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen is an interdisciplinary inter-university institution connecting the Ruhr-University Bochum, the Technological University Dortmund and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) with a strong focus on Cultural Science and Science Communication Studies, as well as Cultural and Literary Sociology. The Main Research Area Transformation of Contemporary Societies is one of the five interdisciplinary interfaculty focal points of UDE research activity.

Submission Form

4th Annual Conference: Out of Control?
How Concepts and Practices Circulate across Boundaries

Deadline for submissions: 31st August 2022

Upload abstract, 250 words max. (docx, pdf, or odt files only)

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