Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in January 2016

Negotiating Scottish Studies: History, Culture and Identity
Bankura University, Bankura, West Bengal, India, 6-8 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 31 October 2015

IASSThis is to announce that IASS (Indian Association of Scottish Studies), West Bengal, India will hold its First International Conference at Bankura University, Bankura, West Bengal, India on ‘Negotiating Scottish Studies: History, Culture and Identity’ on 06 – 08 January 2016. The collaborating partners of the conference are The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Glasgow & Kingston University, London.
Please find below the concept note of the conference:

It seems that Scottish literary and political culture has always suffered from an anxiety of subservience. Though Scottish cultural and political history can be traced to the middle ages in terms of having played a significant role in the socio-cultural framework of what we call the United Kingdom. Yet, Scotland and its cultural politics remained peripheral in the context of English history. It seems that the Scots have always tried to discover their appropriate space within the rubrics of United Kingdom. But it is perhaps pertinent to explore multi-faceted aspects of Scottish literature, culture and politics. It is relevant to look back to the entire Scottish tradition built up by the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in mid-18th century, thereby asserting their cultural identity beyond provincial preoccupations. Andrew Sanders has made a very thoughtful comment: ‘The teaching of English began with some ideological intent. In attempting to supress a certain ‘scottishness’, this programme remained distinctly Scottish by the very fact of its aim of shaping Scottish intellectuals in an enlightened European mould. Contemporarily Edinburgh was reconstructed as an Athens, and not a London of the north.”
It has been lamented by the critics that Scottish literature and culture, despite its enviable flowering in the 15th century, gradually came to disappear till its reappearance in the 18th century. However, the Scottish culture in the post-Chaucerian era seemed to develop a distinctive cultural identity, as evident in the writings of James Stewart, David Lyndsay, Robert Henryson or William Dunbar. But, in the 18th century, the Scottish tradition comes to be more significantly substantiated through such writers as David Hume, Adam Smith, Mark Akenside, Robert Blair and James Macpherson. While David Hume and Adam Smith began to inflect on historical and philosophical writings, Macpherson and Akenside were functional to the development to the age of sensibility. In the 19th century, Sir Walter Scot not only brought about a new consciousness of historical romance, but he also developed a distinctive sense of Scottish nationalism. Again, R. L. Stevenson in the Victorian period generated a new kind of fascination for small town settings and Scots vernacular, thereby establishing a distinctive sense of Scottish place.
This conference will generate certain significant issues relating to Scotland’s specific history, cultural politics and identity. It will look at Scotland as having established a vigorous culture of its own as well as its transformation after the union of Scottish and English parliament in 1707. It will also consider certain regional factors, such as the lowland Scotland or the borderland between England and Scotland.
This conference will particularly address, but not limited to, the following issues:

  • Scottish cultural history
  • Scottish Political History
  • ‘Scots’ or ‘inglis’: Language and National Identity
  • Scotland and the ‘United’ paradigm
  • Scotland and India: a colonial cultural relationship
  • Migrant writers of Scotland
  • Scottish Missionaries in India
  • Scottish contribution to Indian Education
  • Scottish administrators in colonial India
  • Scottish travelogues on India
  • Scotland: Law and Governance

Important Dates:
Deadline for sending abstracts: 31 October 2015
Deadline for sending full papers: 30 November 2015
Email for submission of Abstracts / Full Papers:

Abstracts / Full Papers may also be sent to:

Registration Fees:
National participants: Rs 1500
International participants: 150 USD
Registration Fees includes conference kit, lunch and tea/refreshments during the conference.
T.A. / D.A. The conference team would not be able to provide support for travel to Bankura for the conference.
Accommodation for outstation participants:
As we are organizing this conference on a low budget, we encourage the participants to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Should you need any support in this regard, our conference team will be happy to help. A list of hotels around the conference venue can be provided on request. You are encouraged to make your own booking with the hotel using the contact details provided.

(posted 2 September 2015)

Breaking Through: Impaired/heightened Senses
Institut du Monde Anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, France, 8-9 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2015

“I see it feelingly”: this conference will address the way in which damaged, distorted or enhanced senses can lead to a dazzling display of in-between perceptions and sensations. Impaired/heightened senses may relate to biological causes. A tribute will be paid to Oliver Sacks’s ground-breaking work on photophobia, visual agnosia (an impairment in recognition of visually presented objects), drug-induced hallucination and musical perception, and on the multiple arousal of simultaneous senses. As he puts it for instance in a New Yorker article, “A Neurologist’s Notebook, The Mind’s Eye: What Blind Men See” (2003): “The world of the blind, of the blinded, it seems, can be especially rich in such in-between states — the intersensory, the metamodal — states for which we have no common language.”
In addition to such enlightening neurological approach (case studies, biological input for instance), we are looking for critical readings of symptomatic or creative shifts, from a psychoanalytical perspective for instance.

Papers may consider:
– transmuting genres: for instance the way in which Sacks’s work has been translated in popular culture and brought to the stage by Peter Brooks, or has inspired films and writers like Will Self
– transmuting limits: the way in which sensory loss heightens other perceptions. Visual loss may develop auditory, tactual, and other perceptual skills.
o impaired hearing and the consequences upon language development ; monitoring or yielding to the parasiting fruitfulness of white noise and sound/signal distorsion; deaf musicians, auditive wizards.
o impaired olfactive perceptions (from discomfort, total loss of sensitivity and acumen, to hyper acuteness arousing multiple fragrant delight)
o impaired vision :
– the experience of blindness, the colour of blind writing/music (Milton; George Du Maurier, blind in one eye, Wyndham Lewis,  etc…)
– the tragic flaw and anagnorisis; maimed, mute revelation (Gloucester’s blindness when he sees, for instance)
– seeing the invisible: epiphanies, seeing into “the life of things”, the rhetoric of revelation (transcendental poets?); the return of immanent presences in poetry (e.g. Theo Dorgan); mixing the senses in poetic recitation (e.g. Billy Ramsell)
– distortion (misappropriation/misreading of space; loss of 3 D and the unbearable/delectable flatness of being; for instance the Pre-Raphaelites, contemporary art or writing [e.g. McCarthy]
– illness (Virginia Woolf, “On Being Ill”, “the fingertip feel of a creature in a salt-water pool”). Visual artists also experiment with ways of conveying and transcending limits (e.g. Donald Rodney’s wheelchair, materializing his presence/absence during the exhibition)
– hallucinations and drugs : from De Quincey and Coleridge to contemporary art. Intoxicating distorsions: translating Malcolm Lowry’s heightened senses.
– making sense of shared space ; designing shared concepts and spaces; the community: from the fellowship of seers to handicap/disabilities studies
– new technologies and sense replacement: revisioning colour blindness and translating the ticking sound of auditory implants: the hybrid post-human
– the question of genre: Gothic senses (flickering light and filtered sound), postmodern disorientation (lack of depth), religious texts (reaching for revelation) the medium (cf films on photophobia like The Others), meta-perceptual contemporary art.

Please send an abstract (maximum: 300 words) and a short bio by 30 June 2015 to:
– Catherine Lanone,
– Wesley Hutchinson,
– and Line Cottegnies

(posted 28 May 2015)

Defining and defying the concept of deviance and degeneration in the British Isles and North America in the 19th century
Lyon, France ,14 January 2015
Deadline for proposals: 10 November 2015

Venue: This conference will be hosted on January 14th 2016 on the Université Lyon 2/ENS campus in Lyon, France.

This one-day conference aims at exploring the definition(s) and contours of deviance and degeneration as it was conceived in the British Isles and North America in the 19th century. PhD students, postgraduate students and junior scholars whose research pertains to the study of deviant groups, whether self-defined or not, are particularly welcome to participate. Speakers will be invited to focus on the processes of definition of the standards of normality — whether religious, social, political, legal, medical or sexual – as well as what those processes entailed for those who were labelled ‘deviants’. The role of scientists, doctors but also political authorities is of considerable interest in this respect, as are the ways in which normative standards were circumvented and challenged.

Although the concepts of abnormality, vice and anomaly, defined as individual violations of the norm, date back to Antiquity, “deviance” and “degeneration” as crucial societal issues were arguably notions born in the early 19th century, when, for the first time, they were conceived as “social pathologies”. They conjure up images of Victorian lunatic asylums, American temperance societies, Irish Magdalene laundries for fallen women, and other institutions or organisations designed to curb and/or reform purportedly deviant tendencies; thereby redressing and redeeming the fallen women and feeble-minded men who yielded to temptation. Cultural, social, medical and penal spheres were tightly intertwined. Sexual deviants could be deemed criminal and imprisoned; convicts could be labelled as insane; while addicts, inebriates, the ‘feeble-minded’ and ‘fallen women’ ran the risk of being hospitalised, incarcerated, or even sterilised. Deviation from the norm prompted fears of degeneration in the context of eugenics, and simply being different could lead to forced ostracism, imprisonment or experimentation. Curing, and failing that, curbing the ‘degenerate’ population became a matter of national concern. Both the British Isles and North America faced this normative wave, which penetrated both popular and scientific discourse. However, despite these common elements, there was considerable variation in the way the issues were debated and the measures implemented, both between the two continents, and within them, revealing contrasting priorities and mentalities.

Topics may include but are not limited to (in no particular order of importance):

  • The border between deviance, immorality, decadence and sin: religious interpretations of deviance and the cult of respectability
  • Labelling deviants: who sets the norm? The part played by scientists, political authorities, religious groups, social movements, etc.;
  • Deviance and disease: psychiatric and medical responses to world alcoholism & addiction, feeble-mindedness & madness;
  • How were deviants considered to undermine the nation and/or contaminate society? And if so, how could this contagion be prevented?;
  • The scientific approach: physical or mental manifestations of deviance, phrenology, degeneration theory, eugenics, etc.;
  • Deviance and the legal system: were sentencing magistrates, judges and juries influenced by medical definitions of deviance? Did they have their own definitions?;
  • Deviance, gender and crime: prostitution, the Contagious Diseases Acts, refuges for the ‘fallen women’;
  • Sexual deviance: the borderline between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ sexual practices;
  • Political deviance;
  • Embracing deviance: nonconformists claiming their “difference”;
  • Saving the deviants? Philanthropy and deviance;
  • Institutions of deviance and the links between them: hospitals, asylums, prisons, refuges, reformatories, borstals, etc.

Submission guidelines
Please send 400-word proposals to and / or by November 10th, 2015.
The abstract should include a title, name and the affiliation of the speaker, as well as a contact email address.
Feel free to submit abstracts presenting work in progress as well as completed projects.
Papers will be a maximum of twenty minutes in length. Proposals for suggested panels are also welcome.

Organising committee: Alice Bonzom – Irène Delcourt – Mélanie Cournil

(posted 30 September 2015)

Crime, Punishment and the Scots: 15th annual conference of the Scottish Society (SFEEC)
Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France, 14-16 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1 July 2015

The tandem “crime and punishment” has an eternal feel to it which seems to take us back to the origins of mankind, but, at the same time, it is deeply rooted in the society we live in. Despite the fact that since 1707 Scotland has been a “stateless nation”, the Scots have always adopted a distinctive national approach to these questions which can be seen through their use of language, literature and their collective attitudes in daily life.
For centuries Scotland’s powerful judeo-christian culture has attributed a central place to the notion of guilt and the naming and shaming of the “guilty”. Not even exalted social and political status could exonerate people from such social judgements as the Darnley murder shows us for Mary, Queen of Scots. From 1567 Mary has been seen as a martyr by some and the incarnation of evil by others… and, to this day, as Alison Weir’s recent investigation into the murder clearly underlines, a mystery which still has the power to captivate the nation’s imagination.
The crime thriller has always embodied in its own way the multiple and complex images of Scotland. The deed, the search for the guilty parties and the struggle between the forces of good and evil are all rich pretexts for the exploration of Scottish culture; while the analysis of the punishments meted out take us to the heart of this society which has constantly sought to underline is own identity.
English literary research has often taken Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868) as the birth of the modern detective novel but, from a Scottish perspective, the popularity of this form of intrigue can be traced back much further. Murders and detective mysteries can be found in abundance in Sir Walter Scott’s novels, such as Rob Roy (1818) where the hunt for Morris’s money concludes with the execution of the guilty party. A few years later James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) invited the readers to explore the recesses and motivations of the criminal mind which is, at one and the same time, fully integrated into the social reality of the period and yet finds its source in the Bible story of Cain and Abel. From this perspective the works of Scott and Hogg can be said to trace a continuous thread, through the works of James McLevy in the 1860s to Robert Louis Stevenson and others later in the century, of Scottish fascination with tales of intrigue and outrage.
Scottish crime stories, obviously share certain criteria with those of other countries, such as the high doses of adrenaline, social commentaries, historical references, the analysis of the criminal mind and that of the detective but, it can be claimed, recent trends in Scotland seem to introduce a new “character”, the town or area where the action takes place. The most obvious examples of this are Glasgow and Edinburgh which seem to come alive through the stories of Taggart/Laidlaw and Rebus. But other parts of Scotland are now under investigation through the writings of, among others, Rhona MacLeod for Glasgow and Argyll, Bob Skinner for Edinburgh, Alice Rice for the Lothians, Logan MacRae for Aberdeen, Fin Macleod for the Isle of Lewis, Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves for Shetland…. In each case, the local context with its unique cultural identity is finely interwoven into the intrigue of the detective mystery as Scotland and its fascination with crime is analysed from yet another angle. Hence the emphasis shifts from the cruelty of the acts to the backdrop against which they are committed and the Scottishness of the crime novel itself.
Crime and punishment are central to the definition of civilised society yet despite the historical tendency towards the harmonisation of definitions and legal codification, integrated
methods for its prevention and detection and a scientific and humane approach to its punishment, each nation has its own distinct way of dealing with these questions. French law, for instance, focuses on punishment — le droit pénal — English law on the transgression — criminal law — and Scottish law on notions of community — common law.
The distinctiveness of the Scots’ relationship to crime and its punishment is well documented but, arguably, has never been analysed in its totality as a statement of Scottishness. The formal nature of Scottish legal proceedings illustrates this point very clearly. The law governing criminal trials in Scotland, for instance, does not allow the accused to elect a judge or jury trial; juries are composed of 15 members; judgements require corroborative evidence from at least two different and independent sources and provides the unique possibility of three different verdicts: “guilty”, “not guilty” and “not proven”.
Punishment of criminals also has a distinctly Scottish bend to it. At the present time, Scotland has one of the highest per capita prison rates in the EU despite having one of the widest ranges of community sanctions available in the world. Community involvement in this process is also one of the intriguing aspects of the nation’s history. Not all crimes punished by the courts have been condemned by the Scottish people and not all crimes condemned by the Scottish people are punished by the courts. The Scottish socialist John MacLean (1920-1999) was released from prison early repeatedly through public pressure. What this says about Scottish society, about the way the Scots see themselves before the law is less evident and needs exploring.
2013 saw the creation of a new Police Service of Scotland but how the peace and tranquillity of the nation as a whole was kept in the past is remarkably scant and we have no clear map of its relationship to the civic traditions of the country. The informal ties between crime and society are equally intriguing. Some of the great advances in Scotland’s medical faculties in earlier times also owe a debt to criminal activities of body snatchers like the infamous Burke and Hare … as do the unique architectural design of some of Edinburgh’s graveyards.
The impact of crime and the criminal on the popular imagination is even more fascinating. In fact and fiction, crime and its detection seem to have a special hold on the Scottish people. From Percy Sillitoe and Joe Jackson to Alan Jack Laidlaw, Jim Taggart (the world’s longest-running TV police drama) the seamless line between fact and fiction highlights some remarkable characters. Allan Pinkerton was a pure product of the Glasgow Gorbals. All represent the various facets of Scotland’s relationship with crime, yet, as Ian Rankin suggests about his detective John Rebus they are also an insight into “Scotland’s soul, its phobias, psychosis and mistakes, and [about] the people there”.

The organisers of the conference invite researchers into these questions, (from a linguistic, stylistic, literary, legal, historical, sociological … or multidisciplinary approach) to submit their proposals (a working title and a short summary) before 1st July 2015 to:
– and Bill FINDLAY
Conference papers may be given in French or English.

(posted 17 June 2015)

Modes of Silence in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Anglo-American World: SÉAA XVII-XVIII Conference
Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, France, 15-16 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 24 April 2015

International Conference of Société d’Études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (SÉAA XVII-XVIII-

The precise venue of the conference will be announced later.

Defining silence seems to pose a challenge to lexicographers in the contemporary period as it did in the early modern era. According to OED, silence is a “complete absence of sounds; the fact or state of abstaining from speech”, while Phillips’s New World of Words: Or, A Universal En)glish Dictionary (1700) suggests that silence is “oppos’d to noise, crys and tumult”, as if silence could only be understood negatively in its relation to sounds or speech. Silence is ineffable; it imposes itself on us. It is celebrated by popular wisdom: virtuous men know how to keep silent whereas vain wits engage in endless prattling. The way the two Roman goddesses of silence, Angerona and Tacita, are typically represented can be read as a warning to all those who cannot remain silent: the former is often shown with a finger on her lips, urging us not to speak, while the latter is depicted with her tongue ripped off as a punishment for her garrulity.
The Bible presents silence in an ambiguous fashion: the Psalmist orders liars and slanderers of all stripes to be silent but begs God not to hold his peace. For the congregation silence is a prelude to the reception of the Word of God as mediated by those who have been entrusted with it: John Donne’s sermons, like Paul’s, it seems, had the power of imposing silence. Ecclesiastes says that there is “a time to keep silent, and a time to speak”. It is common knowledge that monastic silence was a rule of thumb as well as a living ideal, making it possible for contemplation to emerge from the exertions of an active life.
Not holding one’s peace, however, is sometimes a moral or political necessity, when it comes to thwarting conspiracies or denouncing misdeeds. In that case, silence is more dangerous or more reprehensible than speech. When speech becomes subversive and threatens institutional order and existing hierarchies, silencing political or religious opposition as well as dissenting voices becomes a priority for established authorities, sometimes even to the point of obsession. The repression of dissent is carried out in a number of ways, not least through censorship.

The aim of this conference is to explore modes of silence, understood as the voluntary or involuntary renunciation of speech, in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Anglo-American world. Various approaches covering a wide range of disciplines are welcome: literature, art history, history of religion, politics and science, history of the book. The organisers will especially value papers that study the dynamics of silence and speech. Silence may be a voluntary renunciation of speech when in sermons or sacred poetry it gives way to the voice of God. It may also result from the realisation that language is inherently flawed, thus making it possible for speakers to challenge the linguistic and rhetorical conventions of their time. Censorship may impose silence and may sometimes lead writers to try and elude or circumvent the censors.

Papers may address — though not exclusively — the following topics:

  • silence and speech in scientific books, notably treatises on the passions of the mind;
  • silence and speech in rhetorical treatises (role of the body, mute eloquence);
  • silence and speech in commonplace books, educational treatises, conduct books, notably regarding the place given to women;
  • silence and speech in religious writings (sermons, bible commentaries, handbooks of devotion, etc.) and spiritual practices (of a Catholic or Protestant nature);
  • expression(s) and function of silence in literature: tropes, stylistic devices and discursive strategies (ellipsis, aposiopesis, covert messages, omitting truths, etc.), typography (punctuation, blank page); silence as a literary game;
  • representation and expression(s) of silence in art: painting, emblem books, music; speaking silence;
  • institutional repression of speech and the effect this had: censorship, self-censorship, clandestine speech, open resistance;
  • silence and speech in political and social rituals.

Proposals, plus a selective bibliography and bio-bibliographical CV, should be simultaneously submitted to:
Laurent CURELLY:
Guyonne LEDUC:
Pierre DEGOTT:
Deadline for abstract submission: 24 April 2015
Decision of the scientific committee: 26 June 2015

(posted 26 January 2015)

Writing Political Economy, 1750-1850
School of English, University of Sussex, UK, 15-16 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 24 April 2015

‘Writing Political Economy, 1750-1850’ will be a two-day conference to be hosted by the School of English at the University of Sussex, UK from 15th-16th January, 2016.  The event will feature plenary talks from Professor Mary Poovey (NYU) and Professor Peter de Bolla (Cambridge), and will bring together those currently working on and with political economy in literary studies and the humanities more broadly.
We are now accepting proposals for twenty-minute papers addressing political economy between 1750 and 1850.  We invite papers which address the discourse of political economy from one of the perspectives sketched out below. Also welcome are papers which consider how current concerns over financial crises and the social and cultural consequences of capitalism resonate through such work, or which consider what pressure is being put on the study of political economy by current debates surrounding neoliberalism and its alternatives.
Proposals for papers should be sent to <> by Friday 24th April, 2015.  More information can be found on the conference website.

In the years since the financial crisis of 2008, political economy has come centre stage in public consciousness. Its role as a foundational discourse through which modernity understands not just finance, but social structures, class, inequality, wealth, poverty and community is newly recognised, but is also now subject to a thorough re-examination. In such contexts, the historicity of political economy, as a discourse and mode of analysis, is rarely acknowledged. But political economy is a relatively recent discourse, emerging in the late eighteenth century as a defining achievement of Enlightenment philosophy, and bequeathing to modernity some of its fundamental concepts, including capital, credit, the market, the division of labour. The rise of political economy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also contributed to a transformation of the disciplinary field and a reconfiguration of knowledge whose implications were felt in realms as diverse as literary culture, social philosophy, aesthetics, and beyond.
Our current understanding of the origins and history of political economy was transformed and deepened by the work, in the 1970s and 1980s, of intellectual historians including Istvan Hont, Michael Ignatieff and Donald Winch.  In this work, with which the University of Sussex has been strongly associated, the ideas and patterns of thought to be found in political economy were parsed, sifted and contextualized with rigorous detail and erudition. This scholarship led to a conception of political economy as a discourse in which historical formulations of man’s place in the social and natural worlds also articulated the tensions and anxieties that animated contemporary commercial society.
But another phase in the study of political economy can now be identified, as political economy from the mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries has become the focus of ground-breaking work within English studies. This phase, which began in the 1990s and is ongoing, considers political economy alongside a plethora of other social, literary and philosophical discourses, and offers a wealth of analyses which transform not only our understanding of political economy, but of philosophy, culture, narrative, literary history and the disciplines. Collectively, such work not only enriches our understanding of the discourse of political economy; it also transforms our understanding of literary history and of literary studies itself. The rich and various work in this area includes:

  • studies of political economy as a form of writing, narrative or discourse, which submit its rhetorical and philosophical gestures to intense textual and conceptual analysis
  • studies of the genres and textual forms of political economic writing, and of the monetary and credit forms circulating in the economy
  • comparative studies of political economic with other forms of writing, including fiction
  • work on the archaeology of economic concepts and systems
  • analysis of discourses of value, within and beyond economics, and their place in culture
  • historical studies of the mobilisation of aesthetic and cultural critiques against the rise of ‘the dismal science’
  • post-Foucauldian studies of the construction of bodies and subjects in political economy
  • studies of the relations between economics and other disciplines, such as biology, politics, or the social sciences
  • studies of the engagement with debates over political economy by particular literary authors, or in particular works.

Proposal for papers are invited from any of the above fields and perspectives.
Organizers: Dr. Richard Adelman & Dr. Catherine Packham, School of English, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

(posted 18 February 2015)

Religion, Sexuality and Oppression: 2nd Meeting of the SOHR Project
London, United Kingdom, 15-17 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 14 August 2015

As conservative ideologies infused by religious doctrines continue to hold sway in societies across the globe, the women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people remain primary subjects of oppressive laws and practices. The freedom to hold or not hold religious beliefs is an important human right. However, when personal religious beliefs form the basis for policies and practices that affect the public at large, the results can often lead to the marginalisation and oppression of those whose gender, sexual orientation or lifestyle are considered ‘sinful’, ‘unnatural’, unholy or even evil.
While proposals for presentations on any aspect of sexual oppression will be considered, the organisers particularly welcome proposals dealing with the relationship between religion and sexual oppression of women and LGBTIQ people.
Deadline for Submissions: 14th August 2015
More information on the Conference Website.

Dr Rob Fisher
Network Director
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(posted 29 June 2015)

Evil Spaces, Wicked Places: The Geographies and Architectures of Evil. Special Focus: London
London, United Kingdom  –  18-20 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 14 August 2015

This inclusive interdisciplinary project explores the relationship between evil, spaces and places. From the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno to the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge and the massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda, from crumbling sanatoria to gothic haunted houses and basements of imprisonment and sexual oppression, evil has many geographies and inhabits a wide array of accidental or designed architectures. Places become defined as evil; spaces are made evil by the actions of people or acquire the atmosphere and presence of evil. Whether real or imagined, these spaces and places speak to us of unease, fear, menace, dread, horror, the supernatural and something beyond what is human. Evil. This project seeks to map and explore the relationship between persons, evils, spaces and places.

For 2016 the project will focus specifically on London as a locus of evil spaces and places. Described in The Guardian newspaper as “the dark heart of Britain, the place where democracy goes to die, immensely powerful, equally unaccountable”, London is the home of Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, and Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors. The city has cringed before the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt; it has seen kings and queens crowned and beheaded; it has gawked at Shakespeare’s Wyrd Sisters, the Great Fire, cholera, and the Great Stink that led to the creation of one of the first modern sewer systems. It is full of hauntings and ghosts and things that go bump in the night.
London is all these and more, which prompts the question of how its history, geography and architecture reflect all these aspects of the city’s identity, even as they interact and continue to create the monstrosity that is the city known as “London?”
Topics for possible presentation include, but are not limited to:

Evil and London Landmarks

  • Tower of London in history and fiction
  • Westminster Palace and London in fiction as a centre of black magic and plots for world domination
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral hovering over London rising from its own ashes
  • The London Underground
  • The Marble Arch, Newgate Prison, The Clink, and other sites of execution or punishment
  • The Old Bailey and legal aspects of evil
  • Real and imagined evils in the British Museum
  • Art and evil in the collections of the National Gallery, Tate Gallery, Tate Modern
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Houses of Parliament as source of evil, target of evil acts, and defence against evil
  • Monuments and evil: war memorials, the Marble Arch/Tyburn, etc.
  • Architecture and evil

Evil in the Boroughs

  • Whitechapel and the East End
  • Representations of evil in Greater London (ex. Southwark, Westminster) in fiction and folklore
  • City traders as perpetrators of social evils
  • Soho and the sexual underground as a playground of Evil OR as escape from evil, mundane world

London’s Real-life Evil Figures

  • Jack the Ripper and other famous serial killers: “Vampire of London” (John George Haigh), “Camden Ripper” (Anthony Hardy), “Lambeth Poisoner””(Thomas Neill Cream)
  • Celebrity evil-doers (real and imaginary killers, “mad” scientists, political revolutionaries)
  • Mobs and gangs of the past and present
  • Royal figures that either keep evil at bay or that invite evil
  • Press coverage of evil acts and their perpetrators

London’s Evil Spaces in Fiction, Theatre, Television, Film, Music, Graphic Novels

  • Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty
  • Doctor Who, James Bond and others as the nemesis of Evil
  • Peter Pan and Captain Hook: British children, childhood, and Evil or Wickedness
  • Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

London and the Other-worldly Evils

  • Monsters, human and non-human, in the shadows of London
  • London’s role in the occult revival
  • Haunted locations
  • Witches in London

London and Worldly Evils

  • War in London: ancient, medieval, modern
  • Plagues, both metaphors and illnesses, in London
  • London as exploitation/human trafficking capital
  • Evil and immigrant communities: scapegoating, victimisation, etc.
  • Economics of Evil: London as Dark Tourism Destination

Submissions and contributions are invited which deal with evil spaces and places both generally as well as in relation to the specific focus of London.
We hope to be able to make time to visit the new crime museum and other places of interest.
Visit the Conference web page.

What to Send: 300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 14th August 2015.
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 28th August 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 11th December 2015.

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: Evil Space/Place Abstract Submission
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:
Organising Chairs:
Stephen Morris:
Rob Fisher:
This event is part of the Evil 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.
It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of Evil Spaces, Wicked Places stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.

Ethos: 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.

(posted 2 July 2015)

Shakespeare after Shakespeare: French Shakespeare Society Conference
Paris, France  –  21-23 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 25 June 2015

SFSSociété Française Shakespeare is dedicating its annual conference to “Shakespeare after Shakespeare”. The conference will be the occasion for academics, theater, performance and arts practitioners to discuss the playwright’s long-lasting legacy.
We welcome proposals (in English or in French) on topics such as:
– Shakespearean adaptations and appropriations from the 17th to the 21st century in print, in paintings, on stage, or in the media, new and old (radio, film, television, comics, Internet…)
– The posthumous reputation and portrayals of Shakespeare: how has ‘Shakespeare’ been portrayed after his death?
– The issue of serial writing and directing: dramatic links from one play to the next; productions presented as sequels or prequels.
– Dramatic and poetic aesthetics after Shakespeare: what does it mean to write poetry or drama after Shakespeare?
– Recapturing the ‘original’ Shakespeare post-facto: his work, the creative process, the publishing process, the staging and pronunciation of his plays…
– Studying Shakespeare’s works from the viewpoint of contemporary theories of language and literature: how does Shakespeare help us to create new concepts or review old ones?

Selected proceedings will be published in the Société Française Shakespeare’s peer-reviewed online journal:
Please send proposals by June 25, 2015 to <>.
Proposals should include a title, an abstract (750-word max.), and a short bio.

(posted 31 March 2015)

Love Letters: 3rd Global Meeting of the Letters and Letter Writing Project
London, United Kingdom  –  21-23 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 14 August 2015

This is not a love letter
“I read over your letters again and again, and am continually taking them up as if I had just received them; but alas! They only serve to make me more strongly regret your absence: for how amiable must her conversation be, whose letters have so many charms?” Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 6.7 [Translation William Melmoth 1915]

Is this a love letter? Or is it something else entirely?
It might have started out as a communication from Pliny to his young wife Calpurnia. However, he included it in a collection destined for public consumption. How much did he rewrite the letter for his new audience? And did he give a public reading of this letter as was common at this time, before circulating it? Was this letter ever delivered to Calpurnia in person, or only publicly, as a new literary genre?
What is and does a love letter? Are there any essential elements, or do the defining characteristics of amorous correspondence change from generation to generation, and from one culture to another? Is a song, the words of which adopt the conventions of epistolary communication, a letter? Or a love poem in an envelope? Or a greeting card?
This conference provides a rare opportunity for a global community to come together and discuss both traditional and alternative love letters. This community could be made up of those in the creative arts, writers, academics or non-academics, in other words anybody with an interest in this area that is willing to share and participate. This conference forms part of a specific focus research stream  and continues dialogues started as part of the Letters and Letter Writing project that began two years ago. Its aim is to enrich current research, inspire new ideas and approaches and take this discussion farther both in terms of creating new networks and encouraging cross disciplinary projects that could find their form in either events or publications. It might interest those in the fields of literature, history, film studies, gender studies, political science, linguistics, musicology, creative writing, life-writing to name just a few.

The Advisory Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, papers and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement. Submissions should be no more than 300 words and are invited on these or cognate themes for any historical period or geographical location;

  • Breakup letters
  • Love poems in letters
  • Letters leading to betrothal or marriage
  • The role of scribes in writing love letters or expressing intimacy and love (platonic, erotic or otherwise)
  • Love letters in the visual arts
  • Love letters in fiction, poetry, biography (including fiction and poetry written as love letters)
  • The valentine industry and its effects on personal relations, including between children
  • Expressions of love in valentines or other greeting cards, from standard to bizarre
  • Artists’ valentines
  • Between gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual partners
  • Platonic friendship expressed in epistolary form
  • Parental love expressed in epistolary form
  • Love of church, god, country and nature in epistolary form
  • Lack of love where it was expected/love letters and stalking
  • Discussion of love in letters between writers, philosophers or thinkers
  • Love letters sent from or to prison, POW camps or mental health institutes
  • Love letters in opera, country and western songs, and other musical genres
  • The past, present and future of the love letter, and the factors that have shaped changing social attitudes toward this mode of communication
  • How love / affection / desire is expressed (vocabulary, explicitness, symbolism, imagery)
  • Etiquette and ‘art’ of letter writing
  • Love letters as political communication
  • Letters of admiration to a famous dead person
  • Online love letters
  • Love letters as historical/genealogical documents (issues of reliability, archiving/preservation)
  • Influence of gender on the writing and reception of love letters
  • Clinical perspectives on the impulse to write and the pleasures associated with writing and receiving love letters
  • Multicultural perspectives on love letters
  • Critical strategies for analysing love letters as a writing genre

Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Love Letters project will be meeting at the same time as two other projects: Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality and Exploring The Erotic. All three groups will share at least one creative workshop in common led by a poetess who writes sensual and erotic poetry. In addition we welcome submissions which cross the divide between two or even all three project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.
As part of the conference, there will be an opportunity for those who wish to participate in an afternoon workshop focusing on “Reading Erotic Poetry”. The workshop is an ongoing project within the Exploring the Erotic project. You will explore the ways in which poems can accommodate the erotic, moving from subtle erotic love expressions over blunt eroticism to hard pornographic features in erotic poetry. The workshop will address other forms of writing, including letters and letter writing.

Further details and information can be found on the Conference website.

What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 14th August 2015.
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 28th August 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 11th December 2015.

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: Love Letters Abstract Submission
Where to Send: Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:
Organising Chairs:
Linda McGuire:
Rob Fisher:

This event is part of a new emerging inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project which overlaps projects working in the areas of Writing, Letters, Graphic Novel, Storytelling. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of the Love Letters stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.
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.

(posted 3 July 2015)

Strangers and Pilgrims: Displacements and spatial transformations of religion in the English-speaking world
Paris, France  –  28-29 January 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 June 2015

CRPA Conference
Meditating as a young philosopher upon the career and fate of the Jewish people, Hegel suggestively claimed in The Spirit of Christianity that the dramatic gesture of parting with birthplace and ancestral sacred grounds could be considered the starting point of monotheism: such a “rending of life” placed the faithful in a position of foreignness not only towards their own kin and the whole of nature, but in the long run towards their very earthly existence, leading them to live their lives under the uneasy sign — despairing and elating at the same time — of wandering trials and tribulations.
The Epistle to the Hebrews invites Christians to follow in the footsteps of the Patriarchs by claiming to be “strangers and pilgrims upon this earth” (Heb. 13:11); their true home is in heaven, the Epistle declares. The Greek terminology (xenoi kai parepidēmoi epi tēs gēs), however, can be understood in a more literal fashion, echoing Christian and Jewish experience throughout history. Embracing expatriation and accepting the (sometimes temporary) condition of a stranger or stateless person may result from a spiritual necessity — transparent in the case of the missionary or the proselyte, but more ambivalent in the case of the refugee. In both cases, however, the response of the faithful to the call from above has to be made manifest through the ordeal and trial of displacement. The experience of migrating, moving away from familiar places — sometimes against one’s will — and relocating in foreign territories is thus deeply ingrained in the spiritual and historical legacy of monotheistic traditions, to mention only those religions which have been inspired — even though ambiguously so—by a universalistic attempt to transcend borders.
The Reformation, the colonial era and the contemporary globalized world have greatly amplified the phenomena of transplantation and mass migrations. In turn these uprootings have deeply transformed the religious geography of the English-speaking world.
This two-day conference aims to explore the multiple dimensions of the spatial transformations of religion not only in the light of the experience of diasporas and other exiled or migrating religious minorities, but also from the point of view of merchants, travellers, missionaries, settlers, soldiers, etc. How was religious life transformed by mobility and displacement? How did religion alter space and place, objectively as well as subjectively?

The organizing committee invites proposals on the subject relating to the English-speaking world of all periods, geographical areas and religion(s). We are especially receptive to proposals focusing on one or more of the following themes:

  • Transformations of the religious experience of space and place through journeys, migrations, exiles, pilgrimages or missions: uprooting / taking root; deterritorialisation / reterritorialisation; being open / closed to otherness; public / private space; continuity / discontinuity; dispersion / concentration; distance / proximity; nomadic / sedentary; extraterritoriality. For example, studies of the perception and appropriation of intimate or public space — including the sacred space of others — from a foreigner’s point of view would be most welcome. So would be studies of native perceptions of foreigners in spatial terms, of the dilemmas typical of the status of xenos regarding mobility and place and the ways in which this spatial experience is gendered. Colonial and post-colonial situations offer prime opportunities in this respect. This line of inquiry also calls for the study of the spatial modalities of dialogue, conflict or negotiation involving religious or confessional identities.
  • Displacement and the mutations of religious ties. What are the effects of displacement on the relations between the members of religious groups, sometimes across borders? How have international networks been constituted and maintained, whether by the use of epistolary communication or contemporary technologies? What other dimensions of interpersonal interactions, including emotional aspects, are relevant? How does the circulation of information, people and artefacts within these networks affect the relationships between the members of religious communities?
  • The Journeys of doctrines and liturgies. The migration of religious groups or individuals often entails the transplantation of texts (translated or adapted), dogmas and religious practices, which are transformed as they spread to new environments. Such transplantations can sometimes occur without any actual transfer of people, but usually require some mediating agents or communication tools which may influence and shape the nature and reception of the message. How are religious doctrines and practices transformed by travel and translation?
  • Displaced orthodoxies and dissent. Heresy is a powerful incentive to travel, while repression sets people in motion and disseminates doctrines, sometimes on a massive scale. Furthermore, religious innovation can be greatly stimulated by encounters with exotic religious landscapes, or even by the mere distance established from the point of departure and reference. Conversely the condition of a displaced minority may also spur the need for orthodoxy or orthopraxy—leading to a rediscovery or reinvention of traditions, or to a deliberate attempt to enforce strict religious standards. What are the effects of displacement on the categories and realities of orthodoxy and dissent?

Please submit your abstract (about 300 words) in English or French together with a short bio by 15th June 2015 to: and
A selection of papers will be published in a collected volume.

(posted 2 April 2015)