Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in October 2017

The American Short Story: New Horizons
Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany, 5-7 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2017

In cooperation with:
– the Society for the Study of the American Short Story,
– the American Literature Association, and the Obama Institute

Program coordinator: Oliver Scheiding
Organizing Committee:
James Nagel, Olivia Edenfield, Elke D’hoker,
Jochen Achilles, Dustin Anderson, Damien Schlarb

Throughout its history, the American short story has been praised either as a highly polished gem or condemned as literary fast food. Despite such rise-and-fall predictions, the short story has always been a demanding form. Its narrative economy in terms of time and space records decisive, intimate moments of life that give the American Short Story a broad social resonance. As such, the short story offers a vibrant field of research. There is a renaissance in progress not only in terms of the short story’s productivity but also in terms of innovative theoretical questions. The current state of research is, however, probably best described as “ripening.”

The conference “The American Short Story: New Horizons” invites both panels and papers that address fresh and original questions relevant to studying the American short story: how the genre works as performance in itself; how it conveys a theory of culture in which aesthetic structures and the presentation of cultural problematics interrelate; how the short story and the practices of text-making are related to the cultures of print in which textual circulation and economic exchange are homologues; how we can read the short story as an expressive form alongside its material dimensions, its vitality of forms (i.e., short-short fiction, flash fiction), and the multiple meanings of such concepts as authorship and genre; how we can reassess the short story as a field to map out exchanges not just among authors, but also among editors, publishers, reviewers, readers, and the physical text, with its advertisements, illustrations, and editorial changes. The conference thus seeks to explore the American short story as a coming together of the enduring narrative practice of compression and concision in American literature, presently culminating in a digital culture in which brevity rules.

Suggested Topics:

  • History of the American Short Story
  • American Short Story and Ethnicity
  • Gender/Sexuality Studies and the American Short Story
  • American Short Story and Literary/Cultural Theory
  • American Short Story and Linguistics
  • American Short Story and Psychology
  • American Short Story and Religion
  • Early Short Narratives prior to 1800
  • American Short Story and Periodicals
  • American Short Story and Graphic Narratives
  • American Short Story and Print Culture/Material Culture
  • American Short Story and Translation/Translators
  • American Short Story and Storytelling
  • New and old Forms: Short and Short-Short Stories
  • American Short Story Cycles
  • The American Short Story and Life Writing
  • American Short Stories and Authors
  • Flash Fiction and Microfiction
  • American Short Story and Visual Arts/Film
  • American Short Story and Digital Research
  • American Short Story and the Digital Age
  • American Short Stories and Globalization
  • American Short Stories and Transnationalism
  • American Short Stories and Medical Humanities
  • American Short Story and Literary Periodization/Movements
  • American Short Story and MFA Programs
  • American Short Story and Music/Theater
  • Editing and Anthologizing the American Short Story
  • Publishing and Reception of the American Short Story
  • American Short Story and Pedagogy
  • American Short Story and Genres (Novel, Novella, Essay etc.)
  • New Literary Histories on American Short Stories (1980s to the Present)

Panels and roundtables have three presenters, although some may have more. Proposals for pre-arranged panels should include a 250-300-word description of the topic and full contact information for all members of the group. The person submitting the proposal is the chair of the session. He or she may also be a presenter, but need not be.

All persons wishing to give a paper at the conference, including all members of pre-arranged panels, should give a one-paragraph abstract of the paper to be presented along with a biographical paragraph giving the credentials of the presenter to address this topic. Individual papers should be scheduled for 20 minutes.

The organizing committee screens all proposals and abstracts, issues acceptances, and arranges the presentations on the program.  It will form panels to accommodate papers not included in pre-arranged groups.
Please submit all proposals and abstracts to Oliver Scheiding ( by June 30, 2017.

(posted 22 November 2016)

Industrial Heritage in the UK: Mutations, Conversions & Representations
University of Rennes, France, 10 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2017

University of Rennes, France – Research team ACE (EA 1796)


Since the mid-1950s, the UK has been experiencing a growing interest in the study, protection and conservation of industrial heritage, and is often considered as a forerunner in the advocacy of this idiosyncratic heritage and of its significance and potentialities. This rise in public awareness started with the development of industrial archaeology as a discipline in its own right, which later led industrial heritage to be seen as a resource for regeneration. In this respect, regeneration through the provision of new uses for derelict buildings also corresponded to a surge in urban renewal policies in the context of deindustrialization and to the current calls for sustainable development.

If the intentional disappearance of industrial vestiges caused popular outrage in the past and if industrial archaeologists and conservationists are sometimes unable to keep up with the quick pace of creative destruction in today’s redeveloping urban areas, the rhetoric of the tabula rasa is nonetheless increasingly contested. This is partly due to the positive contribution that innovative reinterpretations of existing industrial structures can make towards the retention of the palimpsestic quality of the urban fabric, as well as towards the promotion of a sense of place also based on an interconnection between past and present. Last but not least, nowadays the demolition of sound industrial buildings as if they were disposable resources runs counter to the promotion of a rational, cost-efficient – and environmentally friendly – urban revitalization.

The research project will mainly revolve around industrial buildings such as former textile mills, factories, warehouses, industrial infrastructures – whether they are listed or not – as well as on their surroundings when they constitute a landscape and/or are integrated into a conservation area. The scope of objects of study is not limited to sites inherited from the 18th and 19th centuries as it also includes those which came into being throughout the 20th century. The ambition of this one-day conference is to explore changes in the field of industrial heritage, its instrumental role in the provision of spaces for tourism, culture, and urban regeneration in general, and potential conflicts arising from the relationship between those various processes. Yet it will also be crucial to examine representations of industrial society and the tangible traces of industry in order to foreground mutations in terms of how industrial heritage has been depicted and perceived ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Thus it will offer a more comprehensive picture of the contrasting visions of a once neglected heritage.

The chosen perspective for this one-day conference is an inter- and pluri-disciplinary one and it is therefore articulated around a variety of approaches such as cultural geography, cultural history, art history, media studies, urban studies, heritage studies, architecture, etc. Possible subthemes of research may include:

  • Industrial ruins and post-industrial landscapes: creative acts inspired by engagements with physical testimonies to the past, their otherness and unstable state.
  • Recycling industrial buildings and their immediate environment through culture and heritage.
  •  Reinterpreting industrial sites for creative uses: questioning the inventiveness, viability and durability of adaptive re-use by the creative industries.
  • Assessing the legibility and permanence of the past in the conversion of industrial buildings.
  • Conservation and conversions: conflicts arising amidst architectural, cultural, historical, economic and promotional priorities.
  • Contemporary architectural interventions on the industrial urban fabric: an act of enhancement, detraction or debasement of heritage?
  • The protection and conservation of the industrial built environment: a challenge for urban planners and developers.
  • Representations of a vanishing industrial society and its heritage: depicting the industrial past, its people and its physical reminders in urban and rural landscapes.
  • The contribution of industrial heritage to tourism in post-industrial areas.
  • The birth of environmentalism in an increasingly industrial and urban British society in the late 18th century and its development in the 19th century onwards.
  • New functions for vacant industrial buildings: the discourse of sustainable development in cities.

Scientific Committee : Aurore Caignet, Renée Dickason, Tim Edensor, Julian Holder, David Haigron, Guillaume Clément, Nicole Cloarec, Jose-Manuel Lopes-Cordeiro, Laurence Gourievidis, Lesley Lelourec.

Please send your proposals (maximum 500 words) in English with a short biography to Aurore Caignet by 15 May 2017.

(posted 21 November 2016)

Last pages, last shots
Université de Caen Normandie, France, 13-14 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 27 March 2017

This conference continues a sequence of international events exploring the question of closure  as well as the question of adaptation.[1] We would like to turn now to the adaptation of the last pages of a novel to the screen.

In this conference, we intend to measure and comment the stakes of adaptation to the screen at the end of a novel. An adaptation is necessarily the product of a specific reading of a text; it is an appropriation that can lead to a change in the end of the source text. The close of a novel, however, is both the moment when literary traditions hold strongest – and when the author may take up the challenge to buck those traditions, to distance the work once and for all from foregone conclusions (Larroux). Can the same be said of film? Does the filmmaker’s vision replace that of the novelist? Does the end of a film also signal its tendency to either follow or challenge tradition? Classic Hollywood films end with a concluding scene, followed by an epilogue (Bordwell), thus imitating the traditional novel, but adaptations are frequently the subject of narrative and structural changes, for various reasons. Hollywood’s love of the happy end is well known, while the transformation of Jane Austen’s novels into simple love stories is a striking example of Hollywood’s need to appeal to a mass audience. In animated adaptations of fairy tales, the trend is even more obvious: Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989) is but one example, born of a desire to not shock children (or their parents). Beyond this, a change to the ending can be a selling point: the producers of the recent adaptation of Gone Girl (2014) actually promoted the film by promising that it rewrote the final act, thus maintaining the suspense that readers felt, or perhaps correcting an ending that was somewhat controversial.

Beyond these transformations made to the storyline, writing for the screen necessarily engenders structural changes, be it the transition from the last images to the credits, or the move from a last chapter to the last act of a film. When the adaptation is to the endless present of television, where the ending (or conversely, the continuation) of a story is often decided not by creative choice but by ratings and network dictate, these structural changes are even more pronounced. Thus we are interested in both the ideological implications of changes made in adapting these final pages to the screen, as well as the aesthetic stance taken in modifying (or on the contrary, maintaining) the ending of the source text.

We could also compare open and closed endings when they are adapted to the screen; if we think of the open endings that Torgovnik referred to as “scenic” that proliferate in the novels of Henry James, and are themselves a testament to the influence of the theater, ending with an ongoing dialogue – can we find a similar technique at work in film, or does the adaptation tend to offer a more definitive ending?


  • Bordwell, David. “Happily Ever After, Part 2”. Velvet Light Trap 19 (1982): 2-7.
  • —.  Narration in the Fiction Film. London: Routledge, 1985.
  • Hock, Tobias.  “Film endings”. In Last Things: Essays on Ends and Endings. Ed. Gavin Hopps et al. Aachen British and American studies 19. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2014. 65-79.
  • Larroux, Guy. Le Mot de la fin. La clôture romanesque en question. Paris : Nathan, 1995.
  • Neupert, Richard. The End, Narration and Closure in the Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995.
  • Torgovnick, Mariana. Closure in the Novel. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1981.

Proposals are to be sent to Dr Armelle Parey, Université de Caen Normandie ( and Pr. Shannon Wells-Lassagne, Université de Bourgogne Franche Comté ( by March 27th, 2017. Answers will be received in the following month.

[1] Happy Endings and Films (dir. Armelle Parey, Isabelle Roblin et Dominique Sipière). Paris : Michel Houdiard, 2010; Literary Happy Endings : Closure for Sunny Imaginations. (dir. Armelle Parey and Isabelle Roblin). Aachen : Shaker Verlag, 2012; L’Inachevé ou l’ère des possibles dans la littérature anglophone, Récits ouverts et incomplets. (dir. François Gallix, Armelle Parey et Isabelle Roblin). Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2014; Character Migration in Anglophone Literature. (dir. Armelle Parey et Isabelle Roblin).  E-rea [on-line], 13.1 | 2015.

L’adaptation cinématographique : première pages, premiers plans. sous la direction de D. Letort et S. Wells-Lassagne, Mare &Martin, 2014.

(posted 7 November 2016)

Translating the Senses in Children’s Literature
TRACT Conference, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France, 13-14 October 2017
and issue 31 of Palimpsestes
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2017

This is both a call for papers for the TRACT Conference and a call for contributions to issuse 31 of Palimpsestes.
Center for Research in Translation and Transcultural Communication

In Orbis Sensualium Pictus (1658), Comenius, established a parallel between the physical pleasure that results from a child’s relationship with the book and his/her connection to the surrounding world. Comenius’s encyclopaedia enabled children to learn new words through the visual representation of objects. The book relied on the movement between languages and modes of representation, in keeping with the maxim beloved of both Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas: “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses” (“Nihil est in intellectu nisi prius fuerit in sensu”).

Children’s literature emerged as a distinct genre a century after the publication of Comenius’ work. At that time, the notion of the pleasure of the text became more firmly established. From its earliest stages, the central role of the image in children’s literature was consolidated by printing’s technical progress. The importance of the non-verbal dimension of the children’s book has made it the multimodal corpus par excellence. The materiality of the book as object plays with size, form, texture, and graphics, thus allowing for forms of physical interaction which are close to those provided by toys (pop-up books, kamishibaï, fold-out books, tactile books, lift-the-flap books) which have a strong meta-linguistic dimension.

Translating a book for children implies far more than simply translating the written text. The translator is only one of the different mediators involved in the process of recreating the sensorial experience. Both the text and the relationship between text and image need to be translated, as indeed does the non-verbal dimension of the book (graphics, layout, the texture of the paper).

Translation has played a fundamental role in the emergence of young people’s literature from the 18th century, as illustrated by the development and circulation of a European literary corpus for children, via a continuous process of translation, retranslation, rewriting and adaptation. Since children’s literature is the only genre defined by its readership, the translation required in the expansion of children’s literature further complicated the relationship this corpus had to the translated book. As a result of the founding paradox on which children’s literature is based (the adult writing for the child he once was), the notion of reception and the specificity of the corpus is vital. The translation process reproduces the inextricable equilibrium between the adult and the child. Translation also takes account of the sensorial links that characterize this asymetrical relationship, in which the senses occupy an essential place. For the young reader the connection to his/her mother tongue, the physical presence of the adult and the timbre of the adult’s voice when s/he reads aloud to the child are part of the peculiar challenges that this literature represents. Yet, translating orality for older readers is also difficult, implying the transposition into the target language of the musicality of a form of writing ever more resolutely multicultural and diverse.

In the case of the translation of children’s literature the following aspects may be addressed:

  • the translation of the relationship between text and image in children’s picture books and graphic novels
  • the case of manga, especially the translation of onomatopoeia as expressions of the senses
  • the translation of non-verbal elements in children’s books
  • the book as object in translation (layout, colours, graphics, materials, textures, format, cut-outs)
  • the translation of orality and musicality in children’s books
  • the specificities of the translation of e-books for young people
  • the senses/meaning and translation of nonsense

Propositions (a half page in English or in French) plus a short CV should be sent, by 31 March 2017 at the latest to Clíona Ní Ríordáin ( and Virginie Douglas (

(posted 2 February 2017)

The Reformation in Europe and its Echoes: Marking the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses
Osijek, Croatia, 19-20 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 April 2017

osijekThe Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek, Evangelical Theological Seminary, and the Department of Cultural Studies at the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, together with the Croatian Institute of History, Department for the History of Slavonia, Syrmia and Baranya in Slavonski Brod invite paper proposals for an interdisciplinary conference marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation
Venue: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jägerova 9, Osije, Croatia
The sixteenth century saw the beginning of the Reformation, a religious and social movement which, based on the ideas of Renaissance and Humanism, constitutes one of the most significant events in the theological, cultural and political history of Europe, its effects long-lasting and visible to this day. The Reformation challenged the structure, practice, and theology of the Church resulting in its schism, but the Reformation’s consequences greatly transcended the area of theology and religious practice. Religious conflicts instigated wars, altered borders and political structures in Europe, and left a deep mark on European culture and art. The translations of the Bible into national languages, the freedom and the right of an individual to interpret the Bible for themselves, as well as the belief that it is everyone’s individual responsibility to provide for their own salvation increased the interest in and reverence for the written word. This has effected a great change in the perception of national (vernacular) languages which changed the general attitude toward literature, and brought about the development of new literary genres and a new style in art.
Based on the comprehensiveness of the causes, consequences, and effects of the Reformation, the conference organizers invite scholars from various disciplines to reflect on the following topics, or other topics related to the conference theme:

  • Pre-Reformation Period: movements and leaders
  • Leading figures of the Reformation
  • Reformation and Humanism
  • Pontificate during the Reformation
  • Catholic Revival and Counter-Reformation
  • Historical development of Protestant confessions and denominationsReformation and political history
  • Reformation and social history
  • Reformation and cultural history
  • Reformation and source criticism
  • Reformation and history of mentality
  • Reformation and Protestantism in Croati
  • Leading figures of the Reformation in Croatia
  • Reformation and historiography


  • Reformation and (post)modernisation
  • Reformation and social values
  • Reformation and secularization
  • Reformation and demographic changes
  • Reformation and economic development


  • Ethics and Reformation
  • Philosophy of politics
  • Philosophy of religion


  • Theoretical precepts of Reformation pedagogy
  • Luther’s views on education
  • Criticism of scholastic pedagogy from the point of view of Protestantism
  • Attitudes to higher education and universities
  • Family education in the spirit of Protestantism
  • Education in the spirit of the Reformation and its main regional proponents
  • Echoes of the Reformation in educational practice in Croatian schools
  • Impact of the Reformation on education in Croatian lands


  • Cultural and literary echoes of the Reformation
  • Sermon as a literary gen
  • Reformation and the Bible
  • Lollards and adaptations of orthodox texts
  • Precursors to the novel
  • The Book of Common Prayers and prayer-books
  • Echoes of the Reformation in the methodology of literary scholarship
  • The character of Martin Luther in the realm of literary fiction
  • Reformation, drama, and theatre
  • Reformation and the German language
  • Echoes of the Reformation in Croatian linguistic and literary traditio
  • National and European frameworks of Croatian Protestant literature during the Reformation
  • Croatian Protestant translators in Urach and Regensburg
  • Reformation movement in the realm of Croatian Glagolitic literary and linguistic history
  • Dissemination of Reformation teaching in Croatian religious literature for common people
  • The working languages of the conference are Croatian, English, and German.

Please e-mail your 300-word abstracts by 1 April 2017 to the official address of the conference:
The conference fee is 300 HRK or 50,00 EUR (student fee: 100 HRK or 15,00 EUR) and is due by 10 September 2017.
Payment details:
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek, Croatia
IBAN: HR8423600001102484368
Reference: Reformation Conference

The deadline for submission of papers to be published will be announced at a later date. All papers will undergo peer-review. The accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

Conference secretary: Luka Pejić, mag. educ. philol. angl. et mag. educ. hist.
Organizational board:
Assistant professor Dubravka Božić Bogović, Ph.D., Full professor Peter Kuzmič, Ph.D., Stanko Andrić, Ph.D., Full professor Ružica Pšihistal, Ph.D., Full professor Milica Lukić, Ph.D., Associate professor Zoran Velagić, Ph.D., Associate professor Jelena Lakuš, Ph.D., Assistant professor Željko Pavić, Ph.D., Assistant professor Ljubica Matek, Ph.D., Assistant professor Mirko Lukaš, Ph.D., Sonja Novak, Ph.D., Zdravko Perić, Ph.D., Gabriela Dobsai, mag. philol. hung. et mag. educ. hist.

Downland the call for papers in English or in German.

(posted 21 November 2016)

Landscape / cityscape : Writing / Painting / Imagining Situational Identity in British Literature and Visual Arts (18th – 21st centuries)
Senate House, London, UK, 19-20 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2017

Joint conference of the SEAC (Société d’Etudes Anglaises Contemporaines) and the SAIT (Société Angliciste – Arts, Images et Textes)

The very etymology of the word “landscape,” derived from the Dutch “skip”—view—from the start underlines the constructedness of our relation to space. The space we inhabit is a lived space inscribed with the cultural traces of a collective imaginary itself informed by the art of landscape painting and writing. This conference organized jointly by The Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and the Société Angliciste – Arts, Images et Textes (SAIT) aims at exploring the complex relation of identity to site and the way this relation may have been transformed across the centuries.

Several studies have, since the late 70s, stressed the tight correlation between the fashioning of collective identity in Britain, the rise of a specific sensibility to landscape and the underlying political and economic agenda of nature engineering, from Raymond Williams’ famed The Country and the City (1973) to David Matless’ Landcape and Englishness (1998). In 2012, the British Library’s contribution to the Olympic’s festivities took the form of an exhibition focusing on Britain’s spatial imaginary: Writing Britain. Wastelands to Wonderlands (see Christina Hardyment, Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, London: The British Library, 2012), although, at the same time, Iain Sinclair lamented the depletion of that same collective imaginary at the hands of urban speculators. More recently, such explorations have also turned to the weather imagination and the way it informs English literature and visual arts (see Alexandra Harris’ Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies [2015]), as well as to the affective impact of site and space (see Christine Berberich, Neil Campbell and Robert Hudson [eds.], Affective Landscapes in Literature, Art and Everyday Life, London, Ashgate [2015]).

From Gainsborough’s early insights into the discursive potential of landscape painting to Turner’s modern take on landscape and seascape painting under the double injunction of myth and modernity (see The Fighting Temeraire, 1839) or L.S. Lowry’s industrial scapes, landscape painting has captured the mutations of English identity in its relation to space and vision. Similarly, from Romantic poetry to Thomas Hardy’s or D. H. Lawrence’s mytho-poetic visions and Simon Armitage’s reappropriation of that tradition, English literature has invented itself in an organic embrace with landscape, i.e. nature always already culturally inscribed.

Although specific emphasis may be placed on the 20th and the 21st centuries, papers may also address the longue durée of such imaginary and the specific intertextuality and inter-iconicity produced by the landscape and cityscape aesthetic tradition. One may choose to turn to turn-of-the-century morphing visions of landscape as it was harnessed to nascent metroland modernity, or to the lasting pastoral model as explored and deflated both by Virginia Woolf in Between the Acts (1941) and Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited (1945). Intermedial treatments of landscape and cityscape are also crucial to the understanding of the fashioning of identity in relation to site-specificity. Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet (1979), as well as Hamish Fulton’s blend of poetry and site-specificity art are examples of the way writing, images, and site-specific works allow art to reinvent England’s relation to its own situational memory. Such intermediality has also been of key importance to the exploration of England’s conflicted urban imagination: from Dickens’s foundational definition of urban city-writing, to Zadie Smith’s new take on urban identity fashioning or Howard Jacobson’s recent dystopian vision of a world that may no longer be mapped in J (2014).

The conference will also be the occasion to explore the epistemological distinctions between landscape and nature-writing and between landscape and nature-studies or Green studies as defined by Jonathan Bate or Lawrence Buell.

Proposals will be examined by a scientific committee.

Selected papers will eventually be submitted to two peer-reviewed academic journals (Etudes britanniques contemporaines and Polysèmes), both available on the platform (

Abstracts (300 words + selected bibliography and short biographical note) should be sent to Isabelle Gadoin (, Catherine Lanone ( and Catherine Bernard ( by May 31st 2017.

(posed 16 January 2017)

Biography & Verity
Maison de la Recherche – Aix-Marseille Université, France, 20-21 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1st February, 2017

mosaic-verity-of-a-lifeInterdisciplinary Colloquium of Federation CRISIS
Biography Society
LERMA (EA 853) – CAER (EA 854) – IrASIA (UMR 7306)

Biography entertains a peculiar relationship to the notion of verity, by aiming far less at the Truth than at the fluctuating truths of unique individual lives. Indeed, in science and in the humanities alike, truth appears to us today as a construction, always conveyed by a discourse ; indeed, verity is an unattainable horizon, an object of desire that keeps receding on and on as we strive to get closer to it, but the very quest ceaselessly modifies the landscape of our knowledge. The recent development of ‘biofiction’ can be interpreted as a ‘biographisation’ of contemporary fiction, which characterises our time, and is comparable to the ‘novelisation’ of genres one century ago. This phenomenon is what Hans Renders, Binne de Haan et Jonne Harmsma investigate in The Biographical Turn : Lives in History (Routledge, 2016). In historiography and philosophy of history, Hayden White’s theses, especially in The Fiction of Narrative (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), like Ivan Jablonka’s in L’histoire est une littérature contemporaine (Seuil, 2014), clearly pose the problem of the partly fictional, and in any case literary nature of historiography. Biography, commonly described as a hybrid genre, between history and literature (see Michael Benton, Toward a Poetics of Literary Biography, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), is distinguished by a peculiar aesthetics; it is assessed (by readers, critics, and the juries of literary awards) by the double standard of the verity of the knowledge it conveys, and the quality of the style in which it is expresses it.
A biographer is expected, on the one hand, to administrate the proof of what she writes in her texts and paratexts, and, on the other hand, to do so while producing a text where the pleasure to read must satisfy the desire to know: where scientific quest and aesthetic experience cross-fertilize one another. The most interesting biographers are those for whom literary writing is not a mere form but their very method, the very path of their thinking towards a better understanding of their subject. Some are fascinated by the gradual metamorphoses their characters goes through, others keep swinging backward and forward in the chronological unravelling of a life, unwilling to wrench their eyes from the accomplished historical personage. Mixing memory and desire, scientific truth and literary verity, biography is a peculiar field, a crossroads of humanities, where a significant turn is taking place. The biographic turn partakes of a reprise, a new start, a reorientation of writing and reading towards this verity, always surprising, of which we cannot but see that it is the text that our lives are made of.
Contributions can propose theoretical reflexions on the notion of verity in biography, or case studies, interrogating for instance the political uses of biography to inflect the “truth” about a person in the eyes of the public, addressing methods of investigation and verification of the facts, or analysing literary, rhetorical, strategies of administration of the proof. They also be studies of the paratexts (footnote, prefaces, postfaces, documentary appendixes, etc.), or of the iconographic illustrations, taking especially into account the impact of photography. Considerations on the cinema are also expected, investigating the special relationship of biographical films to historical truth. In the field of digital humanities, the truth effect of on-line biographical notices and dictionaries of biography, as well as the impact of digital tools on biographical research are a case in point. Papers should also address fictionalisation as a method of investigative construction to fill in the gaps of documentation.
Proposals, in French or in English, with a provisional title, an abstract no longer than 100 words, and 5 key-words, should be sent before February 1st, 2017, to Pr Joanny Moulin & Pr Yannick Gouchan

(posted 5 November 2017)

Spaced Out: Spatiality in Comics
Cagliari, Italy, 26-27 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2017

26 October / Aula Magna / Department of Humanities
27 October / Conference Hall/ MEM

Keynote speaker: Michael A. Chaney (Dartmouth College)
with the participation of Sara Colaone / Manuele Fior

Scientific project and organisation: Andrea Cannas, University of Cagliari; Claudia Cao, University of Cagliari; Giovanni Vito Distefano, University of Cagliari; Marina Guglielmi, University of Cagliari; Fiorenzo Iuliano, University of Cagliari; Lucia Quaquarelli, Paris Nanterre University

Scientific committee: Giuliana Benvenuti, University of Bologna; Tatiana Cossu, University of Cagliari; Enrico Fornaroli, Academy of Fine Arts Bologna; Donatella Izzo, University of Naples “L’Orientale”; Mauro Pala, University of Cagliari; Bepi Vigna, International Centre of Comics – Cagliari

Space does for comics what time does for film.
McCloud 1994

How is space thematised and transformed, strengthened or weakened in the narrative comic? To what extent do comics rewrite and reinvent space by offering a place where spatial coordinates can be reconfigured in a utopian or fantastic manner? How does this reconfiguration affect perception devices? And again, how can the representation of spatiality in comics be modified within the network of the ongoing transmedia transformations?

Comics writers have long shown a preference for setting their works in the city and have implicitly tailored their works for readers, whose lifestyle and way of consuming comics as ‘products’ of the cultural industry single them out as a completely urbanised audience. Alongside this representation, interest has also been growing in internal or domestic space, from houses to artists’ studios, from apartment buildings to nursing homes, from hospitals to prisons. Such spaces are anything but neutral settings and, just like urban spaces, play a decisive role in shaping the narrative and the characters that move therein. Last but not least, space must be considered as a semiotic phenomenon: the language of comics manages to produce its own spatiality on the flat surface of the page, a spatiality that defines the coordinates of perception and the representation of space.

The Spaced Out. Spatiality in Comics Conference calls on scholars to tackle the issue of space in the narration of comics, against the background of the broader contemporary narrative and transmedia landscape, adopting various theoretical and critical approaches. There are two ways to participate:

  • submitting a proposal for a paper to be presented at the general sessions coordinated by the respondent appointed by the Scientific Committee;
  • submitting a workshop proposal for the two roundtable sessions that will focus on how the City and House are represented in the following works:

The city
Andrea Pazienza, Le straordinarie avventure di Pentothal (1982)
Art Spiegelman, In the Shadow of No Towers (2004)

The house
Richard McGuire, Here (2014)
Paco Roca, La casa (2015)

Paper proposals should be around 500 words long. A short bio-bibliography of the author and an essential annotated bibliography must also be submitted. Two papers can be presented if one of these concerns the workshop sessions.

Proposals must be submitted by May 31, 2017 to Authors will be notified of paper acceptance by June 30, 2017. Papers presented at the conference will be peer-reviewed and considered for publication. The deadline for sending the final version of the articles is December 30, 2017.


  • Michael A. Chaney is Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College, Chair of African and African American Studies. He specialises in nineteenth-century American literature and African American literature, visual culture studies and mixed race representation, comics and graphic novels. He has published Reading Lessons in Seeing: Mirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel (University Press of Mississippi, 2017) and edited Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).
  • Sara Colaone is a comics writer, illustrator and animator of short films. She teaches Illustration at Bologna’s Academy of Fine Arts. Her work has been published by Kappa, Dargaud, Coconino, Norma, Schreiber&Leser, Centrala, Stripburger, Giunti, Zanichelli, Pearson and in several journals: Internazionale, Le Monde Diplomatique DE, Rivista Il Mulino, Ventiquattro Magazine. Her latest graphic novel is Leda.Che solo amore e luce ha per confine (Coconino, 2016).
  • Manuele Fior is a comics writer and illustrator. His work has been published by Coconino, Atrabile, Futuropolis, Delcourt and in several newspapers and magazines: The New Yorker, Le Monde, Vanity Fair, La Repubblica, Sole 24 Ore, Internazionale, Il Manifesto, RollingStone Magazine. His latest book is entitled I giorni della merla (Coconino, 2016); his latest graphic novels are L’Intervista (Coconino, 2013) and Cinquemila Chilometri al Secondo (Coconino, 2010), which won the Fauve d’Or (Golden Wildcat) at the 2011 Angoulême Festival.

(posted 21 February 2017)

Adaptation in the Age of Sterne
Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland, 26-28 October 2017
Deadline for poroposals: end of May 2017
“Shall we for ever make new books, as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring only out of one vessel into another?”
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy

the International Laurence Sterne Foundation
the Department of English, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland
invite paper proposals for
The Second International Laurence Sterne Foundation Conference
on the theme of Adaptation in the Age of Sterne

Although the primary concern of the conference will be the work of Laurence Sterne and its afterlife, we are also interested in papers shedding light on the broader context of the Age of Sterne.

Paper proposals (200-word abstracts) should be sent to Peter de Voogd and Jakub Lipski by the end of May 2017.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent at the beginning of June 2017. For more information, see

Delegates wishing to present a paper must be members of the Foundation, the online membership form can be found here.

(posted 23 December 2016)

Is economic inequality also a literary problem? An international conference on culture, society and economy
Uppsala, Sweden, 26-28 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 May 2017

‘We wish, in a word, equality.’ – Mikhail Bakunin

To call economic inequality a ‘problem’ is probably to say too little about it. Equality is not just a function of modern life, which may fail to work under certain conditions. Equality is a horizon of expectation. What then makes advanced contemporary society, especially in nations like the US and UK, so economically unequal? Certainly there are conditions of the market since the Second World War, despite all its successes, that have operated against equality – not as a failure of capitalism but as an expression of its nature. This was observed as early as 1958 by John Kenneth Galbraith and 1970 by Jean Baudrillard. It has recently become a dominant theoretical postulate since the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century (2013).

Does literature have anything to do with this? Does it have something to so with creating a culture where inequality has been increasingly tolerated, or even promoted? Does it have something to do with the effacement of that horizon of expectation of an equality to come?  Or has literature been a force of resistance or a zone of neutral alterity? Is it fair even to ask of literature and literary studies that they address the problem of economic inequality? We know about reformers like Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell. But where are the reformers now? Is anybody listening? Does it matter? ‘The entire U.S. school system, from pre-K up’, wrote Walter Benn Michaels a decade ago’ ‘is structured from the very start to enable the rich to out-compete the poor, which is to say, the race is fixed’. Since then the gap between the rich and everyone else has only grown in most of the developed world, even in Sweden, and we critics and teachers find ourselves complicit in one of the main institutions of economic and cultural division. Our interest in this conference is manifold: first, in the representation of economic relations in literature, and what it may or may not have to tell us; second, in the institutions of literary production, and how they work in relation to economic inequality; third, in the institutions of higher education, which promote cultural aspiration at the expense of inequality; fourth, in the history of all this, going back to the origins of capitalism.

We invite proposals for presentations of up to 20 minutes on literature and theory in any language. The conference language is English. Proposals about any period since 1550 are welcome. We are especially interested in inequality in the context of modern economies, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, and seeing how literature has adapted to changes in productive powers and the distributions of income. We also welcome contributions on subjects related to literature – from film and TV to Internet writing. A limited amount of funding is available for all participants to help cover travel and accommodation costs.

Subtopics may include:

  • The Drives and Drivers of Inequality in the Literary Domain
  • Race and Class in Popular Culture
  • The Forms of Inequality
  • Shakespeare and Inequality
  • Literature and Unremunerated Labour
  • Gender and Economic Inequality
  • Narratives of Success and Their Discontents
  • Queer Inequality
  • Economic Inequality and the Circulation of Objects
  • After Social Democracy
  • Beyond North and South?
  • Extreme Poverty: Literary Representations
  • The Literary Commons and Parallel Economies
  • Literature and Social Reform in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
  • Epic Theatre and Its Social Horizons
  • Literary Reviews and the Problem of Inequality
  • Not Everyone is Getting Poorer: Developing Countries and Their Literature

Submissions of up to 500 words including biographical information should be sent by

1 May 2017 to the conference organisers:

Robert Appelbaum:
Roberto del Valle Alcalá:
For more information about the conference, please go to:

(posted 21 February 2017)

Food and Drink as Symbols: historical perspectives
Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland, 27-28 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2017

Food and Drink as Symbols: historical perspectives. The 2nd International Conference, organized by  the Department of History and Material Culture of English Speaking CountriesPedagogical University of Krakow, Poland

Eating and drinking have always been a part of socialisation. Humans have eaten together and mealtimes are events when the whole family or community comes together. Eating food can also be an occasion for sharing, for giving to others, for example, parents give food to their children, a mother gives her milk to her infant, thus making food a symbol of love and security. Two thousand years ago Jesus taught us to share food with others. He used food for both instruction and revelation, and food items bear a religious symbolism in the way they are made or the way they are eaten. For instance, in Christianity bread and wine have a symbolic meaning. Indeed, many dietary habits are derived from religious laws with certain foods chosen or avoided according to religious beliefs. In Greek mythology, food plays a role in defining the hierarchy of being: there is food for gods, food for men, and food for animals. In modern societies food indicates the status, power and wealth of individuals, and humans often symbolically interact when eating, for example, sitting at the head of the table symbolizes head of the house. Additionally, certain foods symbolize wealth and social class, and foods are symbolic or act as metaphors for body parts involved in sexual relations. In fact, any particular item of food might carry a system of symbolic meaning. Moreover, foods have been an important theme in the arts and various artists have employed them, for instance, to underline social issues.
This conference invites papers to be submitted that explore the meaning of food and drink as symbols, with focus on historical perspectives in different contexts. Although potential areas of interest might include the symbolism of food and drink in life and sensuality, its relation to political consciousness, honour and status, ethnicity, lifestyle, religions or art may also be addressed. The conference is not restricted to any specific historical period.

Keynote Lecture: Prof. Fabio Parasecoli (Associate Professor at The New School, New York; co-editor of Cultural History of Food)

The conference organisers: Andrzej K. Kuropatnicki, Paweł Hamera, Artur Piskorz

Abstract submission: All submissions should include:

  • Title of the presentation
  • Abstract of no more than 200 words
  • A brief biography of the presenter or presenters
  • Contact details

Submissions should be sent to
The closing date for submissions is 15 May 2017.
The conference language is English. The conference fee is 200 PLN or 50€ (130 PLN or 30€ for students and PhD candidates) which will include the conference dinner, tea and coffee, the conference materials and the publication of a monograph (selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed monograph).
Please visit the conference website at for details regarding the venue, conference programme, suggested accommodation, transportation and otherpracticalities.

(posted 14 February 2017)