Foto: Magnus Hjalmarsson, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek

The international and interdisciplinary symposium Stranded encyclopedias brings together scholars around the globe who study unfinished and unpublished encyclopedias, compiled c. 1700–2000.

The symposium is a collaboration between Stockholm University, the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, History of Science and Ideas, and Aalborg University, the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Contemporary History. The symposium is financed by The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond)

Parts of the symposium will be open to the public.

New insights

By exploring and comparing stranded encyclopedic projects during a three-hundred-year period, the symposium aspires to obtain new insights into the varieties, motivations, changes, and global diffusion of alphabetical encyclopedism as practice, and thereby deepen our understanding of the rise and continuous development of the modern knowledge society.   

International research on the formation of the alphabetically-organized encyclopedia has for a long time been dominated by serial narratives of influential, large-scale publications – typically conceptualized as predecessors, counterparts, or successors of the genre-defining Encyclopédie (1751–1772) of Denis Diderot and Jean D’Alembert. Yet, for decades scholars have remarked that many encyclopedic projects probably were left unfinished, stranded at some volume before the end of the alphabet.

Stranded encyclopedias is the first symposium to place abandoned encyclopedic works and their forgotten production histories and compilers at the center. If published encyclopedias are only the top of an iceberg, how large is the body below the surface, and what – and who – will we find there?

Contact the organizers

Linn Holmberg, PhD
Researcher in History of Science and Ideas
Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, Sweden

Maria Simonsen, PhD
Assistant professor in History  
Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark

More information at the Aalborg University website.