Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in June 2017

Pynchon’s New Worlds: International Pynchon Week
La Rochelle, France, 5-9 June 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2017

Convenors: Gilles Chamerois (Université de Brest) and Bénédicte Chorier-Fryd (Université de Poitiers)

The 2017 International Pynchon Week will be held on the French Atlantic coast in the old harbor of La Rochelle, from which a number of Europeans set sail for the New World. The conference will be hosted by the Musée du Nouveau Monde, among its collection of Allegories of America. The conveners hope this liminal space on the margins of Europe will inspire Pynchon scholars to sail out towards yet unexplored territories, following some of the leads below or picking up any related or unrelated Pynchonian line.

Literary new worlds
Pynchon’s early fiction was published under the auspices of “new worlds:” “Low-Lands” was issued by New World Writing, a paperback magazine (volume 17, 1960); speculative fiction writer Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds magazine ran “Entropy” in 1969. How “new” were and still are Pynchon’s fictional worlds? How do old and new interweave in the fabric of his texts – intertextuality, syntactic and lexical archaisms, variation and invention?  Is Pynchon a belated modernist, a post-modernist, or a post-post-modernist? Is he forever striding in-between worlds?

A New World inhabited by the Old
Pynchon’s novels cast half-nostalgic, half-ironic glances back at America’s history – from the most remote to the most recent – and both conjure up and challenge visions of the New World as an earthly paradise. Is the new, revolutionary world of Mason & Dixon ‘the elder World turned Upside Down’ (M&D 263)? Or is it reclaimed by melancholy as its ‘Borderlands’ are gradually included into ‘the bare mortal World that is our home, and our despair’ (M&D 345)? And to what extent is the Puritan heritage of its founders, so pervasive in the earlier works, still at work in Pynchon’s most recent America, in Gordita Beach or post-9/11 Manhattan?
Phantoms from the old world haunt America, just as its songs and music haunt Pynchon’s texts; to wit, the resilience in America’s most native expressions of the oldest European musical modes, the songs of Europe carried across to the bars and stages of the New World and the modern avatars of the ancient mixolydian mode – the most bluesy / jazzy /funky mode, a sound made flesh in the person of Fergus Mixolydian in chapter 2 of V. What distant echoes from the old world can still be heard through the “surf music” beating in Mason & Dixon or in the Californian trilogy?

America Revisiting the Old World
Pynchon’s fictions also foray with characteristic ubiquity – bilocation applying both to characters and texts – into European history, from the Mediterranean’s most ancient shores (V.) to the waste lands of WWII (Gravity’s Rainbow). The Old World is an archival trove for American figures wandering in search of elusive roots, roaming free regardless of historical and geographical boundaries (Benny Profane, Tyrone Slothrop, but also Against the Day’s Chums of Chance). Can it be argued that Pynchon’s writings, from the very beginning (starting with “Under the Rose”), have been composing an alternative, de-centered narrative of European history, a series of Baedeker guides gone rogue?

Fantasized new worlds
At their most utopian or dystopian, balancing as they do between social, revolutionary or anarchist forms of idealism and post-modern nihilism, the novels of Thomas Pynchon offer pictures of “America as it might be in visions America’s wardens could not tolerate” (ATD, 51). Do parallel worlds – other worlds ‘humming along out there’ (Slow Learner) – underworlds, the ghostly presence of Thanatoids and other Preterites offer alternatives, if but fleetingly, to an impossible “New” World? Under the cover of novelty, is scientific and technological progress the mere re-combination of the old?  Is the virtual Deep Web of Bleeding Edge a new world, or the continuation of the old by other means?

Following the democratic tradition of IPW, the whole conference will be held in plenary mode. Individual contributions as well as full-panel proposals will be welcome. For individual papers, please send 500-word abstracts for twenty-minute presentations; for full panels bringing three or more papers under one common heading, please provide an overall statement of the panel’s aims as well as the contributors’ abstracts (1000 to 1500 words in all). The notification of acceptance for both individual paper submissions and panel/roundtable submissions will go out by mid to late November.

Please send your proposals to by September 30, 2016.

(posted 6 April 2016)

Voice(s) and Silence in the Arts
Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, 15-16 June 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1st October 2016

 The objective of this conference is to look into various artistic experiences — in music, in performance poetry, in visual arts and the performing arts — that are built in the space where art produces a fusion of voice and silence, of what is said and what is withheld, of speech and its deliberate omission. Voice and silence take different forms depending on the medium, the physical set-up, the places of production and reception. The physiological definition of voice is the emission of sounds produced by the vibration of the vocal chords at the moment of exhaling. It is thus not only a means of transmitting breath, but also the physical embodiment of speech and the medium of transmission of the emotions; furthermore, it cannot be dissociated from the notion of a speaking subject and subjectivity. The voice, according to Henri Meschonnic, is “the intimate exterior,” and its texture is specific to each person. In the same way, silence, a notion which is equally complex, is not simply the absence of speech or sound. By its very nature, a painting is silent and its meaning can only be verbalised metaphorically. As far as music is concerned, as John Cage pointed out, absolute silence does not exist, for we are immersed in a ceaseless hum. In the theatre, voice and silence cannot be separated, for the theatrical experience is composed of an intermingling of voices, words, gestures, glances, silences, breathing…. In the improvised poems of David Antin, the hybrid voice and body language are at the origin of the creative process, and so are breathing and the silent pauses in Gary Snyder’s poems. As for the cinema, its power and the fascination it exerts are for the most part linked to the formal processes and the various configurations of the interactions of voices, silence, and images.

This conference aims to put into perspective the numerous studies devoted both to voices and to silence. Its objective is to focus on the way in which concepts might interact, on the shifts, contacts and echoes between one another.

Submissions may examine, but are not limited to the following questions:

  • As a physical mechanism, what is the connection between the voice and silence as pure materiality? The link between voice-silence and rhythm deserves being looked into.
  • What about the recorded voices included in musical performances, plastic arts, stage productions, and films, or the hidden voices in multimedia installations?
  • What formal devices do painters use for voices and silence to be heard and seen? In contemporary productions, what use do performing artists make of their voices and how do they distribute their silent pauses?
  • In tales/storytelling, how do voices and silence combine and converse to create the estheticism typical of oral traditions?
  • In drama, in the performing and living arts, how does the body language of the actor, the poet, the performer, and the choreographer contribute to creating a presence? In the more specific field of stage directions, how does one go about translating the interplay of language and silence translated from one language to the other? How are voices and silence indicated through scenography, the interaction of shadows and lights, and that of various multimedia devices?
  • In the cinema, some film techniques are worth analyzing, like cutting and mixing, for example. They provide voice-silence-body links and the special effects specific to that medium and its many genres. Silent movies and hybrid ones, those which preceded the advent of the talkies, may also be examined, as well as that paradoxical contact when, within the silent space of animated images, voices attempt to make themselves heard?
  • When dancers perform, to what extent do the breaks and ruptures in their gestures and the language of their breathing make listening to their bodies easier?
  • In music, how does the dialectic between voices and silence work out in the process of composition? How are the silences in the score perceived, translated and interpreted by the instrumentalists? In opera, for example, what does the exchange between singers, instrumentalists and the conductor consist of? The conductor is an actor whose voice is condemned to remain silent but is “mimed analogically” with the moves of his hands through space (Sémir Badir, Herman Parret)
  • What is the impact on the listener’s reception of the very moment when silence takes over within the interstices between music and applause?

“Voice(s) and Silence in the Arts” is part of five-year project organized within the IDEA research group. It results from the collaboration between the IDEA and ERIBIA research groups in partnership with the Théâtre de la Manufacture – Centre Dramatique National Nancy Lorraine and the CCN-Ballet de Lorraine. It welcomes theoreticians as wells as performers (musicians, producers, actors, choreographers, stage designers, storytellers…) in France and from abroad. Besides the presentation of papers, workshop performances of voice(s) and silence will be organized, along with debates and round tables.

Proposals including a title, a 250-300-word abstract with a short bio-bibliography in English or French are to be sent to Claudine Armand, Gilles Marseille, Gilles Couderc and Marcin Stawiarski by October 1st 2016.

Paper presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Keynote speakers

  • Philippe Claudel (to be confirmed), (writer, film director, and playwright)
    Stephen Langridge (stage director and artistic director of The Göteborg Opera, Sweden)
  • Estelle Pietrzyk (curator of the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)

Invited film director and artists

  • Performance by James Luna (Native American artist, La Jolla Reservation, San Diego, California)
  • Film Le Complexe de la Salamandre by Stéphane Manchematin and Serge Steyer, in film director Stéphane Manchematin’s presence

(posted 11 June 2016)

The Dark Sides of the Law in Common Law Countries
Paris, France, 15-17 June  2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2016

The Panthéon-Assas University “Law and Humanities” research centre (a part of CERSA) is pleased to announce its first international conference to be held in Paris (France) on June 15-17, 2017. As an interdisciplinary group working on the connections between law and politics, economics, and literature, we are seeking papers exploring the dark sides of the law from a wide range of perspectives in the United Kingdom, the United States and Commonwealth countries.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Mrs. Judith Resnik, Professor of Law at Yale Law School.
Mr. Paul Raffield, Professor at the School of Law, Warwick University.

Darkness and obscurity, in the literal and figurative senses, are very much present in the law and legal language.
One of the main roles of the courts is to clarify obscure legal issues in order to improve access to law and justice. For example, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby 573 U. S. (2014) or Director of Public Prosecutions v Dziurzynski [2002] EWHC 1380 (Admin), the judges asked the parties to “enlighten” them.
Legal language has been criticised for the intricacies of its jargon, starting with the 1362 Pleading Act rejecting the use of “Law French” in common law courts, to the extensive use of legalese that has been recently limited by the Plain Language Movement. Legalese has been removed to some extent, but some dark areas remain, due to an almost irreducible procedural formalism.
The increased liberalisation of the legal market is giving rise to issues of translation, not only from one language to another but also from one common law jurisdiction to another.
In the political world, darkness may characterise the relationship between the various branches of government or between the government and the private/public sectors and/or the People. For example, in the UK, the voluntary sector has long been intertwined with the government, thus endangering its independence.
Darkness is present in the literary and visual representations of the law and the legal world. Ever since the English Renaissance, drama and other literary genres have challenged the dark aspects of law and justice, mocking the legal professions or exposing unfair court procedures or decisions. For the past sixty years, cinema and TV series have explored the darkest aspects of the law. The dynamic relationship between darkness and light, opacity and transparency, may also be embodied in the architecture of courts.
Since the 19th century, judges have resorted to psychological analysis. Nowadays expert psychiatrists are summoned to court in order to explain the dark workings of the mind, in particular in criminal law.

For this interdisciplinary conference, we welcome proposals or contributions from scholars and academics as well as PhD students addressing any issues on darkness in relation to the law in common law countries. Papers may examine the interdisciplinary relationship between Law and any of the fields mentioned above, but also others such as economics, sociology etc.

The language of the conference will be mainly English, but papers may be given in French.

Potential speakers are invited to submit a title and an abstract of 300 words along with a brief bio-bibliography to the organising committee at
Deadline of submissions is December 15, 2016.
Selected speakers will be notified by February 4, 2017.

Organising committee: Geraldine Gadbin-George, Yvonne-Marie Rogez, Armelle Sabatier, Claire Wrobel

(posted 15 September 2016)

Complicity and the Politics of Representation
Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, 16-18 June 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2016

Keynote Speaker: John Storey, University of Sunderland

While the concepts and manifestations of religious sin, moral guilt and legal culpability have been defined and categorized expansively, the notion of complicity, especially regarding forms of cultural representation, still remains a rich source for closer scrutiny and examination. Most broadly defined as the position of contributing to or benefiting from a moral wrong that one does not directly perpetrate, complicity is an elastic concept with political, moral, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions and implications. Even though complicity critiques have become increasingly important in cultural and literary studies (J. Pfister), the concept has seldom been properly defined or systematically analysed. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to continue a discussion about the vexed complexities of complicity initiated at Brighton University’s “Complicity Conference” in 2015, and places a particular emphasis on the politics of representation, broadly defined to include forms of cultural production including literature, film, new media, and so on.
Appropriating James Phelan’s 2014 differentiation of four levels of narrative ethics, we would like to explore complicity within the ethics of production, representation and reception, as well as investigate intra-textual negotiations of the concept. Geoffrey Hartman, for instance, argued in 1974 that texts can initiate us into complicity because “spying is complicity raised to an art, and the novelist [or ‘agent’] is a socially tolerated spy in league with many of our cruder instincts”; in addition, there are critiques of the way our engagement with texts can lead us as readers into broader complicities, either because we may be “amusing ourselves to death” (N. Postman) or pursuing the satisfaction of “false needs” (H. Marcuse). In addition to such questions concerning the ethics of production, representation and reception, we are interested in intra-textual ethics, i.e. in ways in which cultural products negotiate issues of complicity, either explicitly or implicitly.
We invite contributions from the fields of literary and cultural studies, media studies, sociology, psychology/psychoanalysis, art history, history of ideas, law, theology and political theory. Themes for papers could include, but are not limited to:

  • Definitions of the term complicity
  • Types of complicity (e.g. complicit silence, complicit hypocrisy, or involuntary complicity)
  • Complicit language
  • Complicity in racism, ableism, patriarchal ideology, etc.
  • Complicity as part of a polemic moral or political critique
  • Resistance to complicity
  • Complicit writing
  • Complicit representations
  • Critical complicity; complicit reading/reception
  • Complicity critique as a method

Please email 200-300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers to Cornelia Wächter (Ruhr University Bochum), Alex Adams (Independent Scholar) and Robert Wirth (University of Paderborn) at by 30 September 2016.

(posted 16 August 2016)

Systemic Functional Linguistics at the Crossroads: Intercultural and Contrastive Descriptions of Language. 27th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference
University of Salamanca, Spain, 29 June-01 July 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 November 2016

esflaContributions are welcome for the following thematic strands and colloquia, albeit, as in previous conferences, papers with a systemic functional focus will also be considered even if they do not address the conference themes:

Thematic Panel Sessions

  • SFL at Intercultural Crossroads
  • SFL at Contrastive Crossroads
  • SFL at Crossroads in Linguistics and Beyond
  • SFL at the Cutting Edge of Descriptions of Language


  • 1er Coloquio ‘La LSF en/del Español’ / 1st Colloquium: ‘SFL in/of Spanish’ (Language of this colloquium: Spanish) (please check the conference website for this CFP)
  • 2nd Colloquium ‘Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Assumptions in SFL’ (Language of this colloquium: English) (please check the conference website for this CFP)


Abstracts (300 words maximum, plus a short list of key references) should contain a statement of the aim of the contribution, and should make clear how the paper relates to previous and/or current work within SFL and to the panel and/or colloquium chosen. Abstracts should provide a description of the main contents and results to be presented.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

Jorge Arús Hita (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)
Tom Bartlett (Cardiff University, UK)
Adriana Bolívar (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela)
Elsa Ghio (Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina)
Mick O’Donnell (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)

Dates and Deadlines

Submission period opens: 1 October 2016
Deadline for submissions: 30 November 2016
Notice of acceptance: 15 January 2017
Early-bird registration (all): 15 January to 31 March 2017
Ordinary registration period (all): 1-30 April 2017
Extension of registration period for attendees only: up to 25 June 2017

More information at:

(posted 23 September 2016)

Nation, Nationhood and Theatre: 26th Annual CDE Conference
Reading, UK, 29 June – 2 July 2017
Deadline for proposals: 16 Dcember 2016

CDEThe German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (Deutsche Gesellschaft für das englischsprachige Theater und Drama der Gegenwart e.V.) is pleased to announce its 26th Annual Conference. It is organized by the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading (UK) and will be held as a residential conference at the University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus.

With the referendum on Britain’s EU membership on June 23, 2016 – ‘exit or remain’ – definitions of both nation and nationhood are being stretched on both sides of the question. As the EU undergoes severe difficulties – such as the economic imbalance between the constituent countries, the increasing clamour for the re-recognition of smaller nations within larger entities, and controversies about migration – now seems a very good time to take a fresh look at the representation of issues of nation and nationhood in contemporary theatre and drama in English.
This is not an area of debate exclusive to the UK. The ever-growing refugee crisis is creating pressure on western governments and governments worldwide to effectively close borders, or at the very least severely curtail the movement of the thousands of people seeking to find a new life. It is a pressure that is frequently xenophobic, sometimes patriarchal and homophobic and it can be related to the emergence and re-emergence of strongly nationalistic movements. They seek to define ‘nation’ and ‘nationhood’ in ways that oppose all pluralistic policies, and any programme of multi-cultural aspirations, in particular. At the same time immigrants tend to find themselves in the conflicted position of engaging with the cultural assumptions of their adopted country even as they also wish to hold on to cultural values of their nation of family origin.
It is not long since the ‘state of the nation’ play was declared a thing of the past. More recent evidence suggests that its obituary notices were somewhat premature, and that it has re-emerged – as it is always prone to do in periods of crisis – albeit in very different theatrical forms and deploying very different theatrical voices. As the theatre continues to search for ways to consider questions of nation, nationhood and national identity, this conference will seek to explore the voices and topics as well as the politics and dramaturgies contemporary plays and performances bring to the stage.

We invite proposals for papers in English of 20 minutes length, with possible topics including (but not being limited to):

  • the Dis-United Kingdom and its nations
  • national aspirations in Western Europe
  • the global rise of nationalisms and populist movements
  • borders, mobility and national identity
  • the representation of national stereotypes in theatre and performance
  • nations within nations: seeking to find a voice: seeking to find an audience
  • issues of race/class/gender in defining the nation
  • whose ‘state of the nation’ plays?
  • National Theatres?

In accordance with CDE’s constitutional policy, papers should deal exclusively with contemporary (i.e. post-1989) theatre and drama in English.
Abstracts: Abstracts (300 words) for papers proposed (20 minutes maximum delivery time) should be accompanied by a short biographical note, plus full address and institutional affiliation.
Deadline: 16 December 2016
Send to: John Bull
N.B. Only paid-up members are eligible to give papers at CDE conferences. Membership subscriptions may be taken out or renewed during the conference. For details, please contact CDE’s treasurer Monika Pietrzak-Franger

(posted 22 June 2016)