Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) Conference 2021: Studies of Belonging

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) Conference 2021: Studies of Belonging

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS)
From - Until
09.06.2021 - 11.06.2021
Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) welcomes proposals from scholars and cultural practitioners for the NIAS Conference from 9-11 June 2021
The overarching theme of this interdisciplinary 3-day conference is studies of belonging. The definition of ‘studies of belonging’ will deliberately remain open as this concept can apply to a vast range of social, historical, material, cultural, psychological, juridical, social geographical, and economic phenomena.

The conference will be built around six topical threads:
- Place-attachment and Mobility
- Community-life and Isolation
- Practices of Belonging
- Borders and Boundaries
- Seeking Refuge
- Identity, Inequality and Politics

NIAS invites the multiplicity of scholarly and artistic papers around a single theme with the aim to set the agenda for future interdisciplinary, international collaborations that bring together a broad variety of perspectives on the issue of belonging.


NIAS invites scholars, writers and artists who deal with issues of belonging in their work, to contribute with a paper or arts presentation. Please, submit your proposal (max. 1 page) via, before 1 October 2020. Please indicate in which ‘topical thread’ you want to present.

Topical Threads

As a point of departure, we propose six topical threads around which the conference will be organized. In each thread, academic and artistic contributions are welcome. Each thread is open to all social sciences, (digital) humanities and art disciplines.

Place-attachment and Mobility
Contributions in this thread deal with issues of belonging and (up)rootedness, in relation to place, spaces and mobility.

Community and the Individual
This thread focuses on the importance and pitfalls for individuals of belonging to a (local, imagined, virtual, religious) community. It deals with the tension between the self and community-life.

Practices of Belonging
How do human beings bring belonging into practice? What tools and material objects do they use, develop and implement in their daily lives to sustain a sense of belonging or to create this anew?

Borders and Boundaries
This thread deals with the relation between idea(l)s of the nation-state, borders, cultural boundaries and (trans)national institutions in regards to issues of belonging.

Finding Refuge
Contributions to this thread are concerned with conditions for and expressions of belonging, such as shelter, food, care, technology, language etc.

Identity, Inequality and Politics
This thread explores the interplay between belonging, identity and politics based on social markers such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, and class. The notion of politics is used in the broadest sense of the word, ranging from power relations on the micro-level of everyday interactions, to more structural, institutionalized forms of power-inequalities and the struggle for belonging.

About NIAS

NIAS’ mission is to foster curiosity-driven research that pushes the traditional disciplinary boundaries and questions underlying methodological and theoretical assumptions. Each year, NIAS hosts an international, interdisciplinary group of 50 fellows who work on their independent research projects while being embedded in a thriving intellectual community.

Starting in 2021 during the 50th anniversary of NIAS, a 3-day NIAS conference will be organized in Amsterdam, the Netherlands every two years.


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