Roots and Legacies
A Cultures, Societies, Traditions Project
1st Global Meeting
Call for Participation 2016
Tuesday 13th September – Thursday 15th September 2016
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
“A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Since the beginning of time, there is little that humanity held more sacred than the memory of a past that shaped, nourished and gave purpose and direction to individuals and societies alike, a past whose legacy lives on in the new generations. Most cultures retrace their roots to powerful, wise and heroic forefathers, sometimes endowed in the collective imaginary with magical or spiritual abilities and worshipped within ancestors’ cults. However, if socio-cultural roots are often interwoven with myth and legend, individual roots are much more tangible, closer and more intimate. They can be found in a community’s specific customs, norms and ties, in a neighbour’s craftsmanship, in a grandmother’s old tales and lullabies, in the memory of a mother’s embrace. These relics of how we came to be stay with us throughout our lives, influencing our thoughts, desires, narratives, attitudes and actions. They follow us on journeys to new lands, grow and change in meaning through the different stages of our lives and ultimately, shape the legacy that each and all of us leave behind. Every large scale social phenomenon, every significant historical or individual development is in many ways touched (often brought about) by meaningful, formative events and experiences in the past and has lasting consequences on the future. Without a thorough exploration of these influences, understanding our personal and social timeline, reducing conflict and achieving better communication and cooperation among individuals, groups and nations of different backgrounds will prove to be a futile and frustrating task.
It is often said that once cut off from his roots, one will have great difficulties in finding himself, as the legacy of the past is a major factor in shaping one’s identity. However, ties with history, tradition, community and family are often severed, weakened, redefined and reshaped. Sometimes this is caused by violence or adversity, by conflict, or traumatic experiences. Other times, it’s a natural consequence of individualization, of seeking better opportunities in life, of living in a fast-moving, globalized world where migration is a highly common occurrence and customs, cultures and identities blend together to create a new sense of personal and social history. In modern times, the need to feel rooted seems to be felt more acutely than ever, prolonged disembeddedness leading to anxiety, alienation, loneliness and depression.
This project aims to explore some of the central aspects of roots, legacies and socio-cultural heritage, attempting to answer questions such as: Where are our roots and what part do they play in shaping our personal and social narrative and legacy? How does the form and meaning of these concepts differ with time and culture? How do they impact the construction of individual and social identities and the sense of otherness? What role did they play in major historic events? How do they contribute to today’s socio-economic and geo-politic situation? How (if at all) can we hold on to our roots in modern times? What causes uprootedness on a macro and on a micro level? What are the social and individual consequences of uprootedness? Is being uprooted always a bad thing?
Participants from every relevant field of activity, performers, or storytellers who have specific insight to share about their personal or social roots and legacies are invited to submit proposals for presentations, papers, workshops, performances or panels on any topic related to Roots and Legacies, including but not limited to the following:
Conceptual delimitations of roots and legacies:
What are roots and legacies, how can we define, classify and operate with these concepts?
What does it mean to have roots or to pass/carry on a legacy?
How can roots and legacies and their respective influence on individuals and societies be best observed and studied?
How can we integrate and make use of these concepts in education?
How are these concepts studied and used in different fields of research and activity such as history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, literature, political science, psychology, psychiatry, genetics, social work, teaching, software design etc.
Roots, legacies and identities:
How do roots and legacies contribute to building and maintaining social or group identity and a sense of otherness?
How do roots and legacies contribute to achieving personal identity and an enduring sense of self?
What part do strangers’ (migrants, refugees etc.) roots play in their chances to be accepted and integrated in society?
How do we reconcile our ancient roots with our modern identities?
What part does the legacy of older generations play in shaping the identity of new ones?
Roots and legacies – stories and journeys:
Personal, family or group stories of migration, how the migrants’ connection to their roots were preserved at the destination, how their original legacy of values, customs and beliefs was reconciled with the local culture, how they were passed on to the next generations.
Specific traditions, customs, norms from the place of one’s roots
Passing on the legacy: stories told to children and teenagers about their roots and places of origin
Analyses of literary (or cinematographic) sagas depicting journeys, stories and quests in relation to their characters’ roots and legacies.
Mythical and spiritual roots and legacies:
Early religious practices and beliefs of groups or cultures, that evolved or were integrated into more complex institutions such as religions and religious rituals
Sacred symbols, practices or spiritual representations passed on through generations
Variations of the ancestors cult around the world
Mythical origins of groups or civilizations: tales of heroes, magic, divine intervention
Myth and folklore passed on through generations: fairytales, mythical creatures, physical incarnations of good and evil in old popular beliefs, customs, tales or songs
The role of certain spiritual practices and beliefs in maintaining connection to one’s roots
Personal primary roots and legacies: family and home:
How can families provide strong roots while also fostering independence?
How is legacy created and managed in families where the parents come from very different roots? (E.g. different countries, cultures, religions etc.)
Family practices, traditions and celebrations through which their roots and ancestry are honoured
Legacy and child rearing: raising one’s children like their parents and grandparents before them
Uprooted by war or political persecution – the separation of war or political refugees from family, friends and culture and struggle to maintain their identity in their new homeland
Cutting off ties with one’s family, community or society as a result of conflict and/or traumatic experiences (domestic violence, rape, discrimination, other forms of victimization)
Being exiled, shunned or otherwise cast out of one’s family, group or society
Losing one’s roots to violence (mass murder, terrorism, genocide)
Violent consequences of becoming uprooted – violent crime as a result of failure to integrate within a new culture (e.g. terrorism)
Clinical aspects of roots and legacies:
How important is genetic legacy in shaping a person in comparison to nurture and cultural legacy?
How important are strong roots to one’s mental wellbeing?
Potential consequences of becoming uprooted on one’s mental health
The importance of strong roots in the proper mental development and positive self-image of children and teenagers
Mental illnesses associated with becoming uprooted
Cutting off from one’s roots as a means of obtaining personal growth, freedom, healing
Roots, legacies and society:
Ancient legacies in present cultures – how the traditions, customs, beliefs etc. of past civilizations have shaped and are living on in their modern descendants.
How can multiple (sometimes conflicting) social roots be reconciled into a new legacy?
What part did roots and legacies play in shaping the world (or a specific society) as it is today?
How did people’s attachment to their roots or their becoming uprooted influence major historic, economic, social, demographic or geo-politic events or phenomena?
The legacy of influential political regimes and how it impacts today’s societies (e.g. communism)
Civic activism and causes dedicated to the right, need or capacity to preserve one’s roots or against discrimination on the grounds of one’s origin.
Roots and legacies in the 21st century:
Reflexive modernity and individualization as predictors of the waning importance of roots
Finding new ways to stay connected to our roots in a fast-moving, fast-changing world
The effect of growing multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism on the importance of roots and legacies in modern people’s lives
Mass uprootings of the 21st century (migrations, waves of refugees etc.) – their causes and their consequences on those uprooted and on the societies of departure and of destination
The role of digital communication (internet, smartphones, social media etc.) in maintaining connection with one’s roots
Growing roots in cyberspace – bonding and partaking in culture, common history, jargon, values, norms and traditions in virtual worlds and online communities.
The legacy of the 21st century – what are we leaving (or hoping to/not to leave) behind for future generations?
The Project Team particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Proposals will also be considered on any related theme.
Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Roots and Legacies project will be meeting at the same time as a project on Cars In/Of Culture and another project on Sport. We welcome submissions which cross the divide between both project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.
Further details and information can be found at he conference website:
Details of our review policy can be found here:
What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 1st April 2016.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 15th April 2016.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 5th August 2016.
Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Roots and Legacies Submission
Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:
Ioana Cartarescu Petricia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Fisher: email@example.com
This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.
Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.
Roots and Legacies