Concepts of Dedication

University of Geneva, Switzerland, 27-28 November 2020

Call for applications:


More than ever, Governments, associations and individuals call for solidarity. Most of the time, the term is not explained, as there seems to be a very general understanding of it, namely as a way of thinking and acting for others. In this context, it is fascinating to reflect on the concept of solidarity and to explore how it differs from other forms of dedication such as devotion, emergency aid, altruism, humanitarianism, philanthropy, etc. This investigation is all the more important given that, curiously, even in scholarly research these terms are often considered self-evident and are, therefore, little explained.

Consequently, the purpose of this Concepta workshop is to explore concepts related to dedication. It is not only a matter of distinguishing the terms which refer to the idea of dedication, but of tracking their respective evolutions, both in terms of content and of semantic exchanges or mutations. The aim of the workshop is to clarify the situation, and above all, to define the special place occupied by the concept of solidarity among all the concepts referring to help to others. This workshop should not only offer a more solid conceptual basis for work in this field, but also shed a new light on relevant practices and ambitions surrounding values often considered as universal and absolute –especially nowadays.

The event is part of a research funded by the Swiss National Foundation, and devoted to the concept of solidarity around 1980 -- that is to say when the Solidarnosc union was founded, when the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (considered as solidarity rights) was written, and, when the whole world (re)appropriated the concept of solidarity itself, long prized by the Soviet Union.

We invite scholars involved in these different fields - solidarity, humanitarianism, dedication, altruism, interdependence ... - to write a proposal about the conceptual history (comparative or not) of one/some of these concepts. This proposal of approximately 500 words must be sent to Dr. Renata Latala ( before June 29th.

The workshop will take place (in English) at the University of Geneva, on November 27-28,
2020. The introduction and conclusion will be given by

  • Prof. Dr. Olivier Christin, professor of early modern history at the University of Neuchâtel and Director of the European Center for Republican Studies, Paris.
  • Dr. hab. Patryk Pleskot, Senior Researcher, Specialist in the history of the Solidarnosc Movement, Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw.

Accommodation in Geneva can be provided and there will be limited funding available to help
with travel costs. Please state in your email whether you will need funding.


Prof. Irène Herrmann, Dr. Renata Latala, François Courvoisier, University of Geneva

See further

Please note: the deadline of the CfP has been extended to 29 June, though the PDF still has the old 15 June deadline.

Adobe Acrobat Document 154.9 KB

Contact Us

The History of Concepts Group

Martin J. Burke (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)


Contributions to the History of Concepts


Subscription and Membership

To subscribe to Contributions to the History of Concepts and become a member of the History of Concepts Group, please visit the subscription page over at Berghahn Journals.




Social Media

Rieke Trimcev (University of Greifswald)