Call for Papers : Cultural Economy and Intellectual Property

[Version française]

The term “cultural economy” has been employed by scholars interested in the cultural dimensions of financial and commercial activities as well as by those interested in the economics of culture in societies past and present. In pairing this term with intellectual property, the fifth annual ISHTIP workshop seeks to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion about the different ways culture and economy interact and how their interactions shape norms and regulations pertaining to IP. Case studies situated in a specific historical context are welcome, as are papers that trace the flow of legal ideas and cultural practices across time and space, whether the subject is copyright, patent, trademark, or related rights. We invite contributions from established and junior scholars working in the humanities and social sciences, including literature, history, anthropology, philosophy, law, economics, music, science studies, media studies and critical theory.

The following list is in no way exhaustive, but potential topics include:

  • the role of guilds, labor organizations and professional associations in developing copyright, patent, trademark, or related rights;
  • the cultural and economic strategies developed by authors, inventors and others for claiming ownership over their creations;
  • the relationship between trade customs and IP laws in a particular cultural or scientific domain;
  • the interplay of business practices and IP laws in a given industry or country;
  • the varied ways legislation and case law have actually affected the operations of book publishers, music distributors, designers, drug producers, software developers, etc.;
  • the shifting relationships among producers, distributors and consumers and the role of each in determining IP norms;
  • the interaction of state and market with respect to IP;
  • the cultural implications of using competition law to protect IP;
  • the cultural construction of economic theories related to IP;
  • alternative economies and cultures of IP.

The workshop will be bilingual (English and French). To maximize time for discussion, papers will be circulated in advance to registered participants. At the workshop, each paper will be assigned a commentator who will launch the discussion. There will also be a special session for doctoral students (June 26), who will benefit from the opportunity to share their work with leading specialists and other graduate students from around the world. The workshop will be held at Université Panthéon Assas (Paris 2) and at Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7). Research groups from Université Paris 8 (Saint-Denis) and Université Paris 13 (Villetaneuse) are co-sponsoring the event. To be considered for the workshop, please submit a 300-word abstract of your proposed paper, in English or French, as well as a 1-paragraph biographical statement and 2-page CV by 31 December 2012 to Papers selected for the workshop will be circulated in advance to registered participants and abstracts will be made available in both languages of the conference. The recommended maximum length for papers is 8,000 words. After the workshop, presenters will be invited to submit revised papers for publication in an edited volume.


Submission of paper proposal (300 word abstract of paper, 1 paragraph author biography and 2-page CV): 31 December 2012 [send to:]

Notification of acceptance: 1 February 2013

Submission of paper (8,000 words maximum) for circulation to workshop participants: 27 May 2013

Workshop: 26-28 June 2013


The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) promotes and supports scholarly investigation of the national histories of patent, copyright, and “related” rights; the diverse “roads not taken” in the evolution of these legal structures; contemporary countertrends; and the laws and norms that have been devised in non European cultures around the world to manage intellectual production and exchange. Development of the Society is being carried out by legal and literary scholars, cultural historians, and historians of science from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and diverse countries of the EU. By working to promote, coordinate, and disseminate critical inquiry into IP, the Society aims to re-frame – to broaden and deepen – current IP debate. Although contemporary mechanisms for regulating the production and use of information are geared around globalized legal IP norms, historical, ethnographic and related research reveals a wide and diverse range of precursors and alternatives to such proprietary norms. Research over the last decades indicates the huge potential for further investigation of these other experiences (as well as the enormous gaps that exist in our understanding of the historical construction and operation of the proprietary norms that now dominate the information field). Scholarly work that seeks to disclose, articulate and evaluate the experiences of alternative practices can provide important conceptual tools for those working on the critical problems facing information regulation today. While recent years have seen a rapid growth in the number of sophisticated researchers interested in these matters, they tend to be dispersed across academic departments and schools, government, NGOs, and the private sector. Some mechanism to foster communication among them is greatly needed. The Society aims to serve this function.

For more information please visit the Society’s website: