Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in May 2017

International James Baldwin Conference
Ankara, Turkey, 4-5 May 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 November 2016

The Department of American Culture and Literature, Başkent University, Ankara, is pleased to announce its International James Baldwin Conference, the third in a series of international biennial conferences organized by the Department on American writers. As a novelist, short fiction writer, essayist, playwright, poet, social/literary critic, and political activist, Baldwin continues to inspire many readers, critics, and artists today. Having lived as an expatriate in several countries, including Turkey, Baldwin left a literary, cultural, and intellectual legacy that extends well beyond the United States. It is hoped that during the conference Baldwin will be discussed through multiple, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary approaches. Suggested topics for papers include but are not limited to:

  • Baldwin the American
  • Baldwin the Expatriate
  • Baldwin and Identity
  • Baldwin and Race
  • Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Baldwin and African American Culture
  • Baldwin on Stage and Screen
  • Baldwin and Sexuality
  • Baldwin and Literary Criticism
  • Baldwin and Literary Journalism
  • Baldwin and His Contemporaries
  • Baldwin and Music
  • Baldwin and the Arts
  • Baldwin and Religion
  • Baldwin: Sources and Influences
  • International Reception of Baldwin
  • Baldwin in Translation

Please visit the conference website to submit an abstract of maximum 250 words for a twenty-minute oral presentation, and also a short biographical note of maximum 100 words.  The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 01 November 2016. You will be notified by 15 December 2016 whether or not your paper has been accepted for presentation at the Conference. Further information concerning plenary speakers, travel, accommodation, conference program and other details will be available on the conference website in due course. Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at

(posted 29 July 2016)

Translation and Philosophy
University of Liège, Belgium, 4-6 May 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 July 2016

The present conference, co-organized by the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherches en traduction et en interprétation (CIRTI) and the philosophy department at the University of Liège, aims at exploring recent research on connections between philosophy and translation. Two approaches will be developed.
Translating philosophy
As a rule, a first requirement when translating philosophical texts is to adequately convey the various underlying concepts. In this respect each translation or retranslation offers its interpretation of the theories and notions used by the translated philosopher. How can translation choices (conditioned by the nature of the respective languages?) change the way a given work is perceived? Can misunderstandings (or plain mistranslations) open the door to new interpretations of the translated work in the target language? More generally, what is the impact of translations and retranslations of philosophical texts on the development of both philosophical and translatological theory? Is the approach of a translating philosopher in any way different from that of a translator without any philosophical training? Is there a specific branch of translation studies devoted to the translation of philosophical works?

The philosophy of translating
The second approach that will be developed is related to philosophical issues involved in translating. Is translating an act of violence, a form of cannibalism or does it provide a way of overcoming violence? Is not translation also a heuristic concept that provides a map of the mental and cultural networks that structure each culture at a given time as well as an epistemological tool that brings up issues emerging at the crossroads of areas such as philosophy of language, sociology, or indeed environmental studies?
In this context what is the function of untranslatability? Is it an obstacle to the universal project inherent in translation or is it the very condition that makes it possible? Does it reflect the fundamental instability of meaning? Does not translation open onto new perspectives on both language and otherness? Cannot the emergence of “translation ecology” (Michael Cronin, Translation and Globalization) help us to redefine and renegotiate the bond between humankind and its own diversity, and beyond, to its environment and to the world?

We have only sketched some possible avenues on affinities between translation and philosophy.
Papers will be delivered in English or in French and will not exceed 20 minutes.
A short abstract of no more than 500 words will be sent to Valérie Bada and Bernard Smette by 31 July 2016.

(posted 12 July 2016)

New Stage Idioms: South African Drama, Theatre and Performance in the Twenty-first Century
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, 11-13 May 2017
New extended deadline for proposals: 26 September 2016

In the years that followed the end of Apartheid, South African drama, theatre and performance were characterized by a remarkable productivity, which entailed a process of constant aesthetic reinvention. In the post-apartheid period, South African playwrights and theatre makers sought to come to terms with the traumatic legacy of the pre-democratic past. Witness thereof are performance works documenting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. After 1994, the “protest” theatre template of the apartheid years morphed into increasingly more diverse forms of stage expressions, detectable in the works of Mike van Graan, Craig Higginson, Zakes Mda, Lara Foot, Paul Grootboom, Omphile Molusi, Fatima Dike, Nadia Davids, Aubrey Sekhabi, Magnet Theatre, Yael Farber, and Neil Coppen to name only a few. This conference will seek to document the various ways in which the “rainbow” nation has forged these new stage idioms, inviting contributions about different forms of performance modes. In order to foreground theatre, the keynote speakers will be active figures from the contemporary post-apartheid stage: Mike van Graan, Craig Higginson, Greg Homann, Nadia Davids, and Omphile Molusi. Here is a list of potential topics for consideration:

  • Contemporary theatre makers working in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, and/or other African languages. How can Indigenous playwriting be defined?
  • New thematic and aesthetic trends in playwriting.
  • Impact of globalization on South African playwriting and stage practices.
  • Theatre making from marginalised voices (expressing gender, social or ethnic differences; LBGT voices on the stage; playwriting by women) and other issues of identity representation.
  • Contemporary township and community theatre.
  • Reinterpretations of European classics for the South African stage;
  • How are of issues of trauma, violence and cultural memory/amnesia enacted on the contemporary stage?
  • New forms of political theatre.
  • Alternative dramaturgies (installation art, site-specific performance, contemporary dance).
  • The politics of festivals; politics of funding.

A selection of conference presentations will be considered for publication. Prospective participants should send a short proposal and a brief vita to the convenor, Professor Marc Maufort, Université Libre de Bruxelles, by the extended deadline of September 26, 2016 ( Notifications of acceptance will be sent in late October 2016.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Mike van Graan, Craig Higginson, Greg Homann, Nadia Davids, and Omphile Molusi.

An evening of readings from these playwrights’ and theatre practitioners’ works will be held during the conference.

(posted 4 September 2016)