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Diderot and the World (Diderot Studies)

Diderot and the World (Diderot Studies)

Publié le par Faculté des lettres Université de Lausanne (Source : Faycal Falaky)

Call for papers “Diderot and the World”

Diderot Studies 2025

It is perhaps not a coincidence that a universal thinker such as Denis Diderot would be so interested in the world outside Europe. Safely ensconced in his garret office in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, Diderot nonetheless had much to say about China, Africa, Tahiti, Brazil, Mexico, as well as the fledgling United States. These “armchair” voyages were of course completed by the letters and musings he penned while actually traveling to Holland, Germany, and Russia.

Diderot Studies is seeking contributions that explore the French philosophe’s relationship to the wider world and its peoples. These could take several possible forms. We are seeking:

- articles that re-evaluate Diderot’s imaginary travels to the foreign lands that he knew only through the era’s travelogues. Generally written for either the Encyclopédie or the Histoire des deux Indes, Diderot’s portrayal of the lands and people outside of Europe can often be seen as a form of “ideological geography,” conceived of and realized, for the most part, in order to criticize the strictures of European society.  

- articles that reevaluate Diderot’s (often anonymous) participation in what we might call the era’s anthropological debates, on both the origins of humankind and the significance of human phenotypes and differentiation.

- articles that read Diderot’s travel writing from a postcolonial point of view.

- articles that devote attention to Diderot’s treatment of indigenous sexualities.
- articles that demonstrate the influence of Diderot’s thought outside of France, sometimes long after he had died in 1784. Marx and Freud were only two of the “foreign” thinkers who found Diderot among their favorite authors. Other sample “topics” along these lines include: 1) Diderot’s curious relationship – via his article “Authorité politique” and his anonymous writings in the Histoire des deux Indes – with some of the founding founders of the United States; 2) the influence of Diderot in German thought and theater; 3) Diderot’s influence on Brazil’s most famous writer, Machado.
One of the wider goals of this special issue – which seeks to broaden our understand of Diderot’s thought from a global perspective – is also to publish essays from scholars living in parts of the world that have perhaps been underrepresented in the past. 

As a function of the submissions received on these topics, Diderot Studies will publish either one or two special issues. 

Contact information, dates, and details :

Volume Editor: Andrew Curran /

Deadline for Abstracts: March 15, 2023.

Note: Abstracts should be sent to the Diderot Studies review committee at

Deadline for completed articles: June 2024

Manuscript Length: Articles should be between 30,000 and 40,000 characters

Languages: French and English;