Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in October 2018

Nadine Gordimer, Jump and Other Stories: “the alternative lives I invent”
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, 4-5 October 2018
Deadline for Proposals: 30 June 2018


This international conference seeks to offer new perspectives on Nadine Gordimer’s collection of short stories Jump and Other Stories, published in 1991, the year Nadine Gordimer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Contributors are invited to adopt a variety of approaches that will illuminate the main themes, narrative strategies, literary traditions, modes of writing, generic traits, structural principles and any other component of the collection. We encourage contributors to take into account the whole collection rather than individual stories. Proposals may focus on, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

  • home and homecoming
  • politics and poetics
  • post-apartheid literature
  • specificity of the genre of the short story
  • violence
  • polyphony / multivocality
  • silence and the unsaid
  • Nadine Gordimer as an “interpreter of South Africa” (Clingman)
  • self-reflexivity
  • fragmentation vs unity
  • vulnerability
  • the local and the global
  • the ex-centric
  • the private and the public
  • animality
  • horror and irony

All papers will be delivered in English. They will be peer-reviewed for publication in the scholarly journal CYCNOS, a publication of the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Récits Cultures Et Sociétés of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

Contributors are invited to send a title and an abstract in English (300 words) along with a short biography (200 words) to Vanessa Guignery ( and Christian Gutleben ( by 30 June 2018.

Scientific and organising committee:
Vanessa Guignery, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon
Christian Gutleben, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis

(posted 13 April 2018)

Secrecy and community in contemporary narrative in English
University of Granada, Spain, 4-5 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 1 May 2018

Organized by the Research Project “Secrecy and Community in Contemporary Narrative in English”

This two-day international seminar welcomes proposals about the role of the secret in contemporary narrative in English in order to articulate the relation between the individual and community. Secrecy may adopt different forms, often in dialectical confrontation. It may stand for the essence or substance (purity, sacrifice/violence, the sacred, political conspiracy) upon which the exclusive and excluding character of a community is built. On the other hand, secrecy – manifested as silence, interruption, marginality, alterity or death – may emerge as the space and language of illicit social bonds, forbidden identities and peripheral voices in the face of normative and essentialised forms of community and their discursive codification. Finally, we also find communities of secrecy that do not respond to traditional and conventional collective forms based upon national identity, social class, ethnicity/race, gender or sexuality. The secret articulates the disembedding from totalitarian communities, such as the patriarchal state, heteronormative relationships, the colonial empire, or the ethnically/racially pure nation, and the emergence of new relationships and spaces of freedom, based on a secret sharing of love, friendship, or other non-homogenising communitarian bonds, perpetually open to the difference of the other.

The concept of the secret traverses the communitarian thought of Jean-Luc Nancy, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, the three of whom have argued against immanent communities, through an ethico-political gesture that puts the emphasis on collective forms characterised by irreducible singularity, secrecy and otherness. Critics and theorists such as Frank Kermode, Matei Calinescu, Derek Attridge, Nicholas Royle, J. Hillis Miller, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, or Esther Rashkin have also offered important insights into the narrative, thematic, ideological, ethical or political role of secrets.

Suggested paper topics may deal with the secret in relation to the following concepts: the inoperative community (Nancy), tensions between traditional and elective communities of secret sharers (Blanchot), cryptonomy and the ‘transgenerational phantom’ (Abraham and Torok), unconditional secrecy (Derrida), Attridge’s singularity of literature, the uncanny (Royle), speech acts in literature, autobiography, trauma, the body, death, ethics.

We welcome proposals dealing with any of these topics and related ones as articulated in contemporary narrative/fictional texts in English. Please submit your 400-500 word abstracts by May 1st, 2018 to Abstracts should include a short biographical note.

Selected papers will be considered for publication.

Confirmed keynote speakers
Prof. Derek Attridge (University of York, UK)
Prof. Nicholas Royle (University of Sussex, UK)

Organizing Committee
University of Granada:
Mercedes Díaz-Dueñas
Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas
Pilar Villar-Argáiz
University of Córdoba:
María Jesús López Sánchez-Vizcaíno
Paula Martín Salván
María Luisa Pascual Garrido
Juan L. Pérez-de-Luque

(posted 20 April 2018)

Taking Place
Sorbonne Université, Paris, France, 4-6 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2017

Research group VALE (Voix Anglophones, Littérature, Esthétique, E. A. 4085, Sorbonne Université) is pleased to host a three-day international conference at Sorbonne Université on October 4-6, 2018 to conclude its two-year seminar on the theme “avoir lieu” / “taking place”. The call for papers is available below.

400-word abstracts bearing on anglophone literature and arts of any period as well as brief bio-bibliographies will be sent to by December 15, 2017.
20-minute papers will be followed by ten minutes’ questions. Papers may be delivered in either English or French.


  • December 15, 2017: deadline for abstract submissions
  • January 31, 2018: notification of accepted speakers
  • June 1 – September 20, 2018: conference registrations (registration fees: €25; €15 for post-graduate and doctoral students).

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Pr. Elaine Freedgood (New York University)
  • Pr. Glenda Norquay (John Moores University, Liverpool)

The phrases “take place” and “avoir lieu” intertwine time and space into such a tight knot that they can scarcely be thought of independently from one another. Folded up on each other, time and space are not only the cornerstones of Bakhtine’s concept of the chronotope; they are also two essential paradigms informing the history of fiction (novels and short stories alike) of drama, and of poetry. Above all, they frame any empirical experience. Perhaps more than a mere event, whatever takes place irrupts with all its material strength and brings to light a subjective perspective from which this irruption – whether a minor story or a historic moment – is perceived and experienced.

What takes place involves a spectator, who might be a witness, or even a reader. Thereby a writing figure, a writer, is also implied, who commits the thing which takes place to words, and shapes its narrative. The English language “takes place” too. It occurs in all parts of the world and always with a little more variety; it compels its reader to take sides for or against post-structuralism, for or against contextualisation.

The English “take place” and the French “avoir lieu” refer to what is happening – which might be a literary work – through a metaphor which, interestingly, emphasises space over time. Reading the phrases as catachreses may help us once again get hold of the sense of place they convey, which now mostly goes unheard. Both languages not only tie down any human action and authority – or authorship – to a given space, but they also imply the appropriation of the latter, whether as an act in progress or as a result (“take” / “avoir”). It seems relevant to question the conquest or possession of a given place in today’s world. Indeed, on the one hand, in the field of literary theory, a number of centrifugal perspectives are gaining ground (dispora studies, for instance, in a world where London is not so much the cultural and literary capital of a country any more as a global city at the crossroads of all cultures). On the other hand, centripetal trends are embodied by conceptions of space that no longer see it as a mere “landscape” but as a territory freed from human intrusion (“ecopoetics” and “environmental studies”, in the wake of Buell’s reappraisal of American transcendentalists).

From a more general vantage point, “taking place” is what also characterises the English language, which, more than any other, has migrated across the world, first and foremost under the influence of a colonial enterprise born in Shakespeare’s time and whose effects are still felt today. The 18th and 19th centuries, in turn, churned out countless exploration narratives and descriptions of the colonies, which participated in a centripetal motion that made “Englishness” emerge and undermined it at the same time.

The topic of this conference may additionally encourage discussions of the relations between the arts. Some arts may reach out to other art forms beyond their initial boundaries but also appropriate new performance spaces (whether they be theatrical or, strictly speaking, poetic) by becoming transmedial.

The conference topic can also be of interest to scholars working on time, and particularly on such questions as rhythm, iteration and reiteration since memorialisation haunts anything that takes place, whether by repeating or reducing it (see Didi-Huberman on “not-taking-place”).

“Taking place” is a notion that furthermore affects gender, as some spaces can be strictly gendered; for example, certain spaces have been stereotypically reserved for women (the house, the kitchen, the attic, and more generally intimate or domestic spaces), thus simultaneously depriving them of any authority beyond those premises.

Scholars in American studies may feel interested in exploring anew the seemingly founding (and yet endlessly problematic) theme of the wild territory. Admittedly, it no longer needs mapping out in the 21st century, but since the early 19th century, it has been depicted as a prison, whether literally or metaphorically. Approaches in cultural materialism may focus on the way in which works have no longer taken place or have not taken place as they used to since the moment, as Walter Benjamin noted, when artworks became reproducible. Conversely, what takes place can be considered from the perspective of its reception, a question which is likely to become increasingly topical in an era when the circulation and transmission of texts are being radically revamped.

Some further theoretical discussions may consider Deleuze’s rhizome, Derrida’s fragment, Appadurai’s modernity or Lyotard’s “il arrive”. The notions of actualisation and ritual that have played a central role in performance studies can be explored again in the light of the conference topic. The conference topic also lends itself to analyses of utopian, dystopian as well as of regional literatures.

Finally, as it embodies the rise and actualisation of a chronotope, what ‘takes place’ jointly raises questions about the negative counterparts against which it is held, namely the non-place and / or the non-event. For all the twists and turns that they stage, are fiction and drama not also built around what does not or will never occur? As their discourses take the form of large-scale preteritions, isn’t what takes place in them of a strictly verbal nature? Except when poetry is explicitly narrative (such as in epic), does anything take place in it but the act of writing and the words on the page?

We are inviting papers on British, American and post colonial literatures and arts, from the Early Modern period to the 21st century. Proposals may address but are not limited to the following:

  • historical fiction / historical essays
  • science fiction
  • textual materialism, book history, publishing writers, digital literature
  • committed literature, how it can arise and how it can endure
  • realism in literature and in the visual arts
  • regional literatures
  • reception theories
  • performances, performing arts
  • -he English language and its developments world-wide, in former colonies and beyond.

Organizing board: Guillaume FOURCADE, Juliana LOPOUKHINE, Benjamine TOUSSAINT, Kerry-Jane WALLART

(posted 29 September 2017)

Feminisms In Motion: Migrations, Upheavals, Relocations
CINiBA Katowice, Poland, 4-6 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2018

This conference aims to explore the ways the idea of movement and the act of moving underlie and propel feminist sensibilities and practices; and how feminisms, in turn, draw on movement, both real and imaginary, in order to envision and arrive at better futures and more liveable lives. “Moving” and “movement” seem to unsettle the stabilities of social and political lives. It is enough, perhaps, to note how the notion of citizenship relies on and requires stasis more than movement; how political participation and subjectivity call for anchorage more than flux and floating; how the political order as envisaged by liberal democracies has always called for immobility more than motility (incarceration being a characteristic example) for the reproduction of their orders. The political and social censorship of movement can also be seen in the policing of affects we sometimes express in a language which calls upon movement to convey their meaning. To say one is moved, that is, affected by a particular feeling, is already to step into a murky terrain beyond the pale as this moving has often been rendered hysteric, diseased, and subject to all sorts of confinement.

The conference aims to raise (but is not limited to) the following questions:

  • What does it mean for women to move or to stay put?
  • What are feminist responses to movement?
  • How does movement affect feminist community? What does it mean to be un/able to move? And for whom?
  • How do feminist disability studies approach the concept of movement?
  • Can movement become shelter from power? Or fodder for it?
  • How does feminism (itself a movement) move? In turn, what moves feminism?
  • Whom and why does feminism move? Has #metoo moved feminism? If so, how? To where? If not, why not?
  • What is the relationship between the dismissal/erasure of women and movement (or between movement, feminism, and all the ways minorities are urged to take up less space)?
  • How has feminism shored up or dismantled the foundations of “the master’s house” (to quote Audre Lorde) making movement more/less difficult or more/less necessary both for women and for transpeople?
  • Who/what decides and to what effects about the movement of (other) women?
  • What does an ethics of feminism in motion look like?
  • What is being moved by feminist practices and theories?
  • Can migration in its political and cultural variety be a feminist act?
  • What does it mean to gender movement? How does the fluidity of gender impact, support, or threaten feminism? How does feminism redefine or reconfigure movement?
  • How is movement (exercise, travel, emotional impact) constitutive of feminist practice?
  • What feminist shapes does movement assume?
  • What roles do boundaries and borders play? How does feminism meet up with, cross, and affect them?
  • What are the relationships between movement, feminism, and extremism and terror? Or persistence and resistance?
  • What role do creativity, art, and/or literature play in the movements of and within

Do you have another way to think about movement and feminism? If so, surprise us!
Confirmed keynote speaker: dr. Ruth DyckFehderau (University of Alberta)
Please send 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers or thematically linked panels and a short bio to by 31 March, 2018. Accepted speakers will be notified by 7 April, 2018.
The languages of the conference will be English and French.
The conference is organized by the Institute of Romance Languages and Translations Studies (University of Silesia, Katowice) and will be held at the Centre for Scientific Information and Academic Library in Katowice (abbreviated as CINiBA).
Conference organizers: Ewa Macura-Nnamdi (Phd), Zuzanna Szatanik (Phd), Magdalena Malinowska (Phd)
For more info, visit our website:
Facebook: Feminisms in Motion

(posted 14 February 2018)

Australian Perspectives on Migration: Biennial Conference of the Association for Australian Studies / Gesellschaft für Australienstudien (GASt)
Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany, 4-6 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018

The 2018 biennial GASt conference will address cultural, social, historical, legal, and (geo)political issues related to the contemporary global challenge of migration and displacement – with more than 60 million displaced persons world-wide – from an Australian perspective.

The interrelation of these issues is apparent in the long history of migration on the Australian continent, from its earliest settlement to the colonial period, to the 20th and the 21st centuries. From its colonial beginnings the political, legal, social and cultural implications of migration have featured prominently in the formation of the Australian nation and its cultural “imaginary” (Anderson). This is evident in exclusionary politics during different periods of a White Australia Policy, and the forced detention of aliens from 1992 onwards. More recently, campaigns like the “Pacific Solution” or “Operation Sovereign Borders” foreground the necessity to reflect the situation of immigrants and refugees in Australia in a global context causing migrations for political, economic and climate-related reasons on an unprecedented increasing and accelerating scale.

We are, no doubt, living in an “Age of Migration” (Castles, de Haas, Miller), and the “long summer of migration” (Kasparek and Speer) in 2015 has made the importance of comparative views on migration in a globalized world apparent. Can we still speak of “another cosmopolitanism” (Benhabib) or do we rather have to think of “neo-cosmopolitan mediators” (Gunew)? How do we deal with “indefinite detention” (Butler) and how do we define “bare life” (Agamben)? What are the “paradoxes of human rights” (Douzinas) in imperial and colonial contexts?

Based on these questions, GASt 2018 invites papers and panel proposals from all academic fields to engage in topics that include but are not limited to:

  • policies and histories of migration
  • issues of nationalism and national sovereignty
  • the legal status and governance of refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs etc.
  • biopolitics and the de-humanization of migrants
  • the acknowledgement of climate refugees
  • isssues of displacement, resettlement, home, and diaspora
  • questions of precarity in the context of migration
  • issues of gender
  • migrant and refugee stories in life writing, novels, drama, performance, and other artistic expressions and negotiations
  • the use and impact of digital and social media

The conference will be hosted by Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf and organized by GASt and the Section for Anglophone Literatures and Literary Translation of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (chair: Prof. Dr. Birgit Neumann).

Please send paper and panel proposals (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion per paper) in English or German (200-300 words per paper) by 30 April 2018.

We also invite proposals for posters as well as work in progress presentations of undergraduate and graduate students in our new format “Forthcoming”. Please submit abstracts for project presentations (200 words) by 18 May 2018.

Contact: Dr. Katrin Althans (e-mail:

(posted 29 March 2018)

Negotiating, subverting, reconfiguring borders in the English-speaking world
University of Strasbourg, France,  5-6 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2018

 Organised by SEARCH (Savoirs dans l’Espace Anglophone: Représentations, Culture, Histoire; Université de Strasbourg)

Confirmed Guest speaker: Philip Ursprung, Dean and Professor for the History of Art and Architecture, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

Considering borders as pliable and multifaceted, this conference aims to examine the notions of subjective borders and normative borders as dynamic and malleable objects seen both through daily experiences and through literary, artistic or historical representations. Indeed, individuals are likely to try and negotiate any institutionalized border at any scale, whether to cross, reinforce, ignore, move, destroy it, or subvert its use. Questioning these practices will allow for multiscalar temporal and spatial approaches, ranging from daily deeds (going from one neighborhood to the next) to longterm changes and their subsequent  representations  (the appearance/disappearance of national borders, the transformation of cities and their literary resonance), from  domestic spaces (for ex. the spatial differentiation of activities within the house, along social and gender lines, for instance) to international spaces. These questions relate to physical borders, natural or manufactured (wall, road, river) as well as discursive, social, imaginary or disciplinary borders.

Papers will look not only at practices that impact  borders directly, but also at the dynamic relationships between the communities and cultures that live nearby. Issues of perception and representation will be paramount in that they will show how and why existing borders can be accepted or contested, what small-scale strategies are conceived to transgress impractical or oppressing borders, reinforce those which seem essential, or even how individuals create self-imposed borders.

The drivers for these negotiations, reconfigurations and subversions will be analyzed, ranging from political resistance to practical daily actions, whether these be conscious or not, the focus being as much on lived experiences as on artistic representations. Papers may focus on relationships between institutions and individuals, between normative spaces and their subversive reappropriation, both in the realm of cultural practices (exhibition spaces, literary genres, etc.) and that of daily experiences (negotiations between public and private space). These relationships will be examined in their short or long-term dynamics, including the impact they might have on the border itself, resulting in its utter destruction, its dislocation, its re-creation, or its increased porosity, etc. Choosing certain time scales may also reveal palimpsests through which borders can still be relevant even after they disappear, as in the case of successive treaties on Native territories.

Discourses on and representations of the border will also be examined: the official and alternative cartographies of a territory reveal perceptions and political stakes; literature and other forms of art from a given period can deny or reinforce social differentiations; researchers can reveal borders of which the actors themselves are not aware. The example of the American Frontier, created solely through discourse to justify the myth of the American pioneer triumphing over wilderness, frontier which was then said to have disappeared in order to signify victory over that wilderness, testifies to the performative nature of the word itself,  and to the role it can play in the history and representation of a nation.

Papers related to any English-speaking country, at any historical period, are welcome.

Keywords: normative borders; subjective borders; experiencing borders; distorting borders; representing borders

Proposals in English or French (300 words) should be sent to Sandrine Baudry (, Hélène Ibata ( and Monica Manolescu ( before May 31st, 2018.

(posted 29 March 2018)

43rd European Studies Conference
University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, October 5-6, 2018
Deadline for proposals: 18 May 2018

The 43rd European Studies Conference welcomes papers on a range of topics in all disciplines. Founded in 1975, our interdisciplinary conference has drawn participants from colleges and universities from across the United States and abroad. Areas of interest include European art, history, literature, current issues in cultural, political, social, economic, or military areas; education, business, international affairs, religion, foreign languages, philosophy, music, geography, theater, and film.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center, Manhattan College, New York City, author of “Shoah through Muslim Eyes”

Please include your name, address, institutional affiliation, and email address with the proposal. Graduate students are invited to apply for Award for the Best Graduate Student Paper.
Please send an abstract of 250-words by May 18, 2018
We encourage submission via e-mail:

More information:
Fax: (402) 554-3445 | Tel: (402) 554-4840

Download the Conference Poster.

(posted 2 April 2018)

Frederick Douglass across and against Times, Places, and Disciplines
Paris, France, 11-13 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2018

In an article entitled “Frederick Douglass, Refugee,” published in the Atlantic in February 2017, historian David Blight argued that “[o]ne place to begin to understand our long history with the controversies over immigration is with Douglass.” In his 2015 The Strangers Book: The Human of African American Literature, American Literature scholar Lloyd Pratt insisted on Douglass’s engagement with the figure of the stranger, his inhabitation of the stranger persona as a tool to build up a polis and found a demos on what Pratt calls “stranger-with-ness.” This conference, organized on the occasion of the bicentennial of Douglass’s birth, proposes to reconsider Douglass’s practice and “art of estrangement” (Giles) broadly understood as spatial and temporal displacement and philosophical, epistemological and disciplinary decentering.

2018 will mark the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth. The wide array of events and activities already planned testifies to Douglass’s relevance to present debates in the United States and other countries. Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI)’s “One Million Abolitionists” plans to print one million copies of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave for distribution in schools as well as the creation of projects addressing present social justice issues. In 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) will organize public and educational programs at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (NHS) in Washington, D.C. Likewise, the bicentennial conference that will be held in Paris in 2018 will be an opportunity to reexamine the figure of Frederick Douglass across times, places, and disciplines. It encourages contributions that read Douglass’s writings—not his serial autobiographies and speeches only, but also his antebellum journalism, his letters, his (rare) poetry and his one foray into fiction—as well as his life beyond the familiar chronological and geographical boundaries. It thereby hopes to contribute to revisiting the heuristic coordinates of Douglass’s scholarship.

The purpose of this conference, however, is not to commemorate Douglass as a solitary, exceptional figure, but rather to consider him in relation to his contemporaries and to his world, as one voice, powerful though it was, among others. Douglass collaborated with and opposed other black and white intellectuals, activists, artists and politicians. He was a man involved in the conflicts and ruptures of his time, in the United States and beyond. His authority and centrality also must be re-examined.

Panels or individual papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Reading Douglass across and against times

  • Reading Douglass reading his time as a “witness and participant” but also as a promoter of anachrony used as a political tool to “repeat history in order to deform it” (Castronovo).
  • Reading Douglass’s writings “against 1865,” against the “before-after narrative of emancipation” (Hager and Marrs), in the hope of complexifying our interpretation of Douglass’s use of the genre of the slave narrative.
  • Reading Douglass’s “lives” beyond the chronology of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Levine), in particular his ambivalent career as a diplomat (Bourhis-Mariotti), a Republican appointee, and an activist in the 1890s.
  • Douglass and radical democracy and activism: considering Douglass’s role in a larger history of abolitionism understood as “a radical, interracial movement, one which addressed the entrenched problems of exploitation and disenfranchisement in a liberal democracy and anticipated debates over race, labor and empire” (Sinha).
  • Douglass’s engagement with an ecological antislavery logics (Ellis).
  • Re-reading Douglass’s reception. Reading Douglass within an enlarged canon of African American writing (White & Drexler; Hager) in conjunction with other North American slave narratives and early African American fiction, history and journalism (William Wells Brown, Harriet Jacobs etc.). How does this enlarged canon affect Douglass’s critical reception and his status today as the greatest black pre-Civil war author?
  • Reading Douglass today so as to open new perspectives on the interplay between history, memory and activism at play in Douglass’s and our times.
  • Douglass and the discourse of liberation, human rights and humanitarianism; Douglass’s practice of a stranger humanism based on mutually acknowledged and always evolving differences (Pratt).
  • Reconsidering Douglass and public history: What aspects of present debates are illuminated by Douglass’s words (Davis)? Why teach Douglass today?

• Reading Douglass across and against spaces

  • Changing the maps and geographical coordinates that have shaped our understanding of Douglass. Using Martha Schoolman’s “abolitionist geographies,” for example, which include both the local and the circum-atlantic, invites us to explore imaginative routes for Douglass’s legacy, from Canada to Rome and London to Haiti and Liberia, via the more expected yet still understudied Afro-Caribbean geopolitical spaces (Nwankwo).
  • Reexamining issues of mobility and displacement in Douglass’s life; Douglass as an American and international figure; Douglass and transnationalism; Douglass and the Americas (Hooker); Douglass and France (how The North Star covered the 1848 Revolution, for example [Fagan, Alimi-Levy]); Douglass and the diasporic self.
  • Translating Douglass across languages and spaces
  • Investigating the different spaces of Douglass’s life and work; Douglass’s “public body” (Fanuzzi); Douglass’s “feminine space” (Fought).
  • Decentering our reading of Douglass may lead us to complicate the genealogy of his writing beyond the racial divide and find other significant intertextualities—not only the “Founding Fathers,” the New England Transcendentalists, his contemporaries Hawthorne and Melville (Otter and Levine) and Harriet Beecher Stowe, but also his Black Atlantic peers (Giles) and a broader intellectual tradition from the political thought of John Stuart Mill to the transatlantic print culture of the time.

• Reading Douglass across and against disciplines

Douglass wrote at a moment when “modern academic fields were becoming increasingly defined” but his writing cut across disciplinary boundaries (Lee). To be considered:

  • Douglass’s use of fiction or of the tools of fiction in his journalism, in his speeches;
  • Douglass’s “rhetorical legacy” (John R. Kaufman-McKivigan);
  • Douglass’s role as an editor (Meer)
  • Douglass and book history: questioning the vision of Douglass and his African-American peers as autonomous author-artisans in the sphere of print, free of white abolitionist control in the pre-Civil War period (Roy)
  • Douglass’s philosophy or philosophies (Lee);
  • Douglass’s “visual affirmations” of himself (Wexler) as well as his celebration of photography “as a great democratic art” (Stauffer, Trodd, & Bernier); Douglass as a celebrity; Douglass and the media.

We plan to organize activities before and after the conference in relation to community-based teaching, performances and public readings.

Deadline for all submissions: January 31, 2018.
Proposals (500 words in English or French and a short bio) to be sent to:
(We welcome papers from graduate and doctoral students.)

Proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Committee:
Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, Université Paris 8; Agnès Derail, ENS; Hélène Le Dantec-Lowry, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle; Claire Parfait, Université Paris 13; Hélène Quanquin, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle; Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, Université Paris Diderot; Cécile Roudeau, Université Paris Diderot; Michaël Roy, Université Paris-Nanterre.

Keynote speakers (confirmed): Leigh Fought (Le Moyne College), Lloyd Pratt (University of Oxford), Michaël Roy (Université Paris Nanterre).

(posted 9 September 2017)

Tourism, cinema and TV series
Université de Lille 3, France, 12 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018

Over the last thirty odd-years, a growing number of film and TV productions have left the confines of Hollywood studios, either to benefit from interesting tax incentives or to find new scenery that can visually surprise audiences.

The popular success of some of those ‘runaway’ films or TV series then prompted many fans to walk in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker in Tunisia (Star Wars), of Frodo in New Zealand (Lord of the Rings), of Harry Potter and his friends in Great Britain, of Katniss Everdeen in North Carolina (Hunger Games), of Daenerys or Jon Snow in Ireland or Malta (Game of Thrones), thus significantly increasing the number of visitors to those places and countries.

Some of those tourists strongly wish to re-live on site what they saw on screen while others are simply curious to visit the filming locations.

Film-tourism is therefore a multi-layered experience as demonstrated by the many visitors at Warner Bros. studios. Leavesden (home to the Harry Potter franchise), the tourists taking part in the Da Vinci Code tours in Paris, the Game of Thrones packages launched by travel agencies, or the guided tours organized in Dunkirk in the aftermath of the shooting and release of Dunkirk (C. Nolan, 2017).

This day symposium therefore intends to study the relationship between tourism and location shooting, whether it be as the mere result of that shooting or as part of a growing number of local or national policies designed to attract productions (American or European) so as to benefit from them.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Tourism and films/film franchises
  • Tourism and television series
  • Tourism, soft power and local/national film location incentives
  • Tourism, films, series and remembrance (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, War Horse, Band of Brothers, etc.)

Please send an abstract (about 400 words), 3 key-words and a short bio before April 30, 2018 to both following addresses: and

Organizing committee: Nathalie Dupont, Raphael Eppreh-Butet and Laëtitia Garcia

(posted 16 March 2018)

The Reception of Contemporary French Thought Through the Prism of Translation: TRACT Conference
Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle, France, 12-13 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018

This call for papers is valid both for the TRACT Conference and for issue 33 of Palimpsestes.

The problems posed by the translation of the social sciences and the humanities have by and large been overlooked by those engaged in translation studies both in France and elsewhere. Gisèle Sapiro’s work on the sociology of translation and cultural exchanges underlines this fact in the report she wrote in 2014 for the Institut français: Although the financial dimension of the translation of [texts in the humanities and social sciences] is problematic the major obstacle to the circulation and reception of French thought is the unsatisfactory quality of the translations which is due both to the poor working conditions of the translators and to the absence of a specialised training programme for translating the humanities. […] While much critical thought has been devoted to literary translation in the US and the UK, the translation of the humanities and the social sciences have yet to find an advocate within the translation community. (Sapiro, 2014: 209/213).

François Cusset’s pioneering work, French Theory, examined the reception and what Sapiro has called the recreation of French thought in the Anglophone world. It is clear however that today the quality of the reception has been modified because of the disappearance of certain key authors (like Lacan and Derrida). This disengagement from the translation sphere has been exacerbated by the increased specialisation of the texts produced and because of the lack of public interest. (Sapiro in Charle et Jeanpierre, 2016: 805).

Questioning the translation of “French Theory” abroad, especially in English, since it has emerged as the language of global communication, also leads one to question this expression of “French thought”. Do major “exportable” theories, such as structuralism or deconstruction, still represent French thought in the 21st century, and is the publication of new translations of these works still relevant? What about the aura of French thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault or Julia Kristeva, whose influence in the United States François Cusset, in his book, compared to that of Hollywood actors? What are the new “stars” of French thought on the English translation market?

There is no doubt that the translation of the humanities and social sciences is hampered by a number of factors, including the ever-increasing economic constraint, and above all the weakening of the book sector and the rise of digital technology, which could, however, prove to be another alternative. On the other hand, as Gisèle Sapiro points out, since 2010 at least 270 translations of French into English have been published by an American or English publisher, according to the data collected by the Bureau Français du livre in New York. There would therefore still be reasons to translate French works into English, and to practice what Barbara Cassin in her Eloge de la traduction calls “la gymnastique du ‘entre’” [The gymnastics of ‘in-betweenness’] so as to “complicate the universal “.

In an effort to chart the exportation of French thought in the Anglophone world, the following points could be addressed:

  • What are the specific characteristics of the translation from French to English of the social sciences and the humanities
  • Is there a French touch/style of writing in philosophy, history and, more generally in the social sciences?
  • How is this “continental”, or “structural” writing, viewed by Anglophone publishers and what specific problems does it pose?
  • Are certain concepts in French thought untranslatable?
  • How does one account for the high proportion of translated texts in philosophy and history?
  • Who are the representatives of French thought whose work continues to be translated?
  • What space in translation is accorded to the work of women writers of humanities and social sciences? Why does their work seem to be undertranslated in English although this linguistic domain would seem to be more open to their work than other domains?
  • What publishing houses translate their work? How do the publishing houses identify the authors representative of French thought? What are the criteria used in making their choice?
  • Who are the translators of these French authors? Have they been trained in this domain or are the translators themselves academic specialists in those particular disciplines?
  • Should the translation of the social sciences and the humanities be reserved for academic specialists?

Propositions (a half page in English or in French) plus a short CV should be sent, by 30 April 2018 at the latest to Marion Naugrette-Fournier ( and Bruno Poncharal (

(posted 20 February 2018)

The Humanities and the Challenges of the New Europe Culture, Language, Identitiess: SELICUP 8
Alcudia, Majorca, Spain, 24-26 October 2018
New extended deadline for proposals: 15 April 2018

8th International SELICUP Conference (Spanish Society for the Study of Popular Culture)
organiser: University of the Balearic Islands
Venue: Portblue Club Pollentia Resort (Alcudia, Majorca, Spain))

After centuries of almost universally acknowledged respect, the humanities are now widely perceived to be in crisis. And this may be seen as a twofold crisis, coming from both within the humanities themselves—no longer, if they ever were, exclusively centred on “the study of the human” (hence what in some quarters is referred to as “posthumanism”)—and from the world outside—no longer universally acknowledging the value of humanistic thought.
Therefore, as Summit suggests, the humanities need to prove themselves relevant. And this could be achieved should they (1) stop looking at themselves as guarantors of disciplinary knowledge; and (2) go back to the original spirit of humanistic study, which had “aims, effects, and [a] social mission” (2012: 668).
Inspired by such principles, the University of the Balearic Islands will host the 8th International SELICUP Conference, which aims at becoming a suitable forum in which a wide range of approaches can be presented and discussed from the different branches of the humanities, addressing some of the main challenges of contemporary European society. This seems to be a timely occasion, as there is strong evidence that a new paradigm is beginning to visibly alter the principles regulating cultural sensibilities.
One of the main features of the late 20th century was globalisation, while the so-called “postmodernism” was very much the cultural system underlying late capitalism.
However, the social and economic environment in the 2010s is (or at least seems to be perceived as) different: capitalism, the driving force behind globalisation, has shown its weaknesses, plunging a good many countries into the deepest recession in decades. As a result, life and work conditions have been substantially altered. Likewise, the geopolitical order has also changed: political and economic power seems to be shifting eastwards (especially to Asia) while the perception exists that Europe cannot manage crises (international politics, immigration, Brexit) efficiently enough. Other factors should be added to the mix, and these include the digitalisation of culture and the very human experience, the impact of tourism as an economic force, the growing perception of immigration as a social problem and the widespread fear resulting from globalised terror. This changing environment, as Vermeulen and Akker partly suggest (2010, 2015), seems to be resulting in a new sensibility, which might even become a new cultural paradigm. Thus, as opposed to postmodern a-historicism, fragmentation and de-centralisation, this new context seems to have fostered a return to historical memory and conscience (see e.g. Todorova 2004 on the Balkans), which has in turn resulted in different reactions. On the one hand, there has been ‘a revival of conservative nationalism’ (e.g. in the USA, UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and some countries of the former Eastern Bloc). On the other, the anti-systemic Syriza, Five-Star and Indignados movements in Greece, Italy and Spain, respectively, have gained notoriety, and the same goes for positions questioning hegemonic national identity discourses, as can be seen in Spain (Borgen 2010), the UK (Guibernau 2006) or the countries of the former Yugoslavia (Bieber 2015).
While this new sensibility is beginning to draw academic attention in the field of the plastic arts, research is badly needed in other areas. It is because of this that SELICUP 2018 aims at analysing this changing context and its effects on all kinds of cultural and linguistic manifestations. This will be done in the unique environment of the Balearic Islands: an officially bilingual territory which, due to its location and importance as a tourist destination, has witnessed a profound yet surprisingly rapid social transformation, becoming an extraordinarily dynamic multicultural and multilingual space.
The Scientific Committee will consider conference paper and round table proposals relating to the Conference’s main topic, prioritising those in line with the following thematic strands:

  • Traditional popular culture: survival and challenges in the new millennium
    o Continuity vs adaptation
    o Re-signification
    o Commercialisation
    o Tourism and culture
  • Artistic traditions vs the globalised market
    o National artistic tastes and preferences
    o The absorption of international trends
  • The re-negotiation of identity discourses in contemporary cultural products
    o Literature
    o Audiovisual products
    o Music
    o Visual and plastic arts
    o Digital media: virtual, un/real identities
  • Gender and sexuality in the new Europe
    o Gender identities in the new social environments
    o Feminisms in the 21st century
  • Language (acquisition) and identity: the multilingual individual in the new Europe
    o Linguistic repertoire and world views
    o Language ecology
    o Translingualism
    o Alteration of linguistic landscapes
    o The linguistic impact of tourism
  • The identity of the tourist destination: reality and commodity
    o Social attitudes to tourism
    o Branding destinations
    o The commodification of space
    o New challenges in the preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage
    o Literature as a tourist product
    o Tourism and travel narratives in the 21st century
  • Post-humanism and the new Europe
  • Memory and utopian / dystopian views in literature and the arts


  • Roberto A. Valdeón-García (University of Oviedo, Spain; editor-in-chief of Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice; General Editor of the Benjamins Translation Library; Member of Academia Europaea)
  • Sabine Coelsch-Foisner (University of Salzburg, Austria)
  • Estella Tincknell (University of the West of England; Cabinet Member for Equalities, Culture and Events at Bristol City Council, UK)

Attendance and participation certificates will be issued.

(posted 23 October 2017)

Aftermath: The Fall and the Rise after the Event – Incorporating the Seventeenth International Conference
on the Literature of Region and Nation
Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, 25–27 October 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2018

You emerge with your cohorts out of the jungle of middle life,
each possessing your own private knowledge of courage or cowardice,
and do a quick headcount, an inventory of missing limbs.
Rachel Cusk, Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation

What happens in the wake of the event – this surprising and unanticipated arrivant, as Jacques Derrida would call it; this “unexpected, unforeseeable arrival” of something or someone whose “visitation […] is such an irruption that [one] is not prepared to receive [it or them]” (Derrida, “A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event”). Is the event’s aftermath always characterised by the experience of disorder, fragmentation and impermanence, by “the gears of life [going] into the reverse” (Cusk, Aftermath)? Or, alternatively, can aftermath be seen as a new growth, a second crop of grass that can be sown and reaped (“the second mowing”) and which gives rise to the “dark strings of creativity” (Cusk, Aftermath)? Shouldn’t the aftermath of the event also be recognised as the “advent […] of future-to-come […], of adventure, and of [new] convention” (Derrida, Psyche: Inventions of the Other)?

The goal of our conference, jointly organised by the Institute of English Studies (Jagiellonian University in Kraków), the Institute of Art History (University of Warsaw) and the Region and Nation Literature Association, is to explore the notion and representation of aftermath, understood as a consequence/result/after-effect of a seminal event (to an individual, a community, society, regions and nations) whose nature is not necessarily unfortunate and disastrous but certainly transformative and life-changing. We are particularly looking forward to receiving proposals addressing the issue of aftermath’s revolutionary and subversive potential in literary fiction and non-fiction, art and various types of visual narratives.

Suggested themes include but are not limited to:

  • after historic/social events (e.g. after the Great War, the Holocaust, de-colonisation, the Stonewall, the 9/11, the financial and migration crisis, the Brexit);
  • after pleasure and trauma (e.g. jouissance, affect, motherhood, disability, la petite morte);
  • after-lives (e.g. biographies, biopics, grief/death memoirs, illness memoirs);
  • after memory boom (e.g. the study of history, forms of commemoration, memory sites, micro-histories, oral narratives, new actors of history, history vs. memory studies, heritage);
  • after theory (e.g. after the contemporary, after postmodernism, after postcolonialism, after postfeminism, after psychoanalysis, after Marxism, new “turns” and “booms”);
  • after-images (e.g. the crises of representation, the pictures generation, appropriation, the Nachleben of images, object biographies);
  • after art (e.g. post-production, the institutionalisation of art and the art world, participatory art, art criticism);
  • after humanism (e.g. anthropocene and capitalocene, posthumanism, transhumanism);
  • after globalisation (e.g. local vs. global, periphery vs. centre, nation and nationalism, regionalism, cultural hegemonies, the Global South vs. the Global North);
  • after vs. post.

Proposals for 20-minute presentations should consist of a brief biographical note (including academic title and institutional affiliation) and a 150-word abstract. They should be sent to by 31 May 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 15 June 2018. The conference will be held at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland on 25–27 October 2018.

Conference fee: 120 EURO (or 520 PLN)

Following the conference we plan to publish selected papers (between 4,000-6,000 words in length) in book form.

The conference will be held during The Conrad Festival ( – the largest international literary event in Poland and one of the largest in Europe, which offers a great opportunity to meet world-renowned writers.

Organisers:Institute of English Studies (Jagiellonian University in Kraków), Institute of Art History (University of Warsaw) and Region and Nation Literature Association

Organising Committee: Dr Robert Kusek, Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Dr hab. Beata Piątek, Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Dr Wojciech Szymański, Institute of Art History, University of Warsaw

Visit the conference website at

(posted 13 January 2018)