Manifestations of Love and Hate in American Culture and Literature: 38th Conference of the American Studies Association of Turkey
Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 1-3 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 3 March 2017
35th Anniversary Conference
“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object. Philosophically considered, therefore, the two passions seem essentially the same, except that one happens to be seen in a celestial radiance and the other in a dusky and lurid glow.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Two of the most perennial topics in art and literature throughout human history, love and hate, in their multifarious forms and contexts, have always appealed to a large number of readers and audiences. Not only inspiring thousands of works of art and literature, but also giving birth to genres and sub-genres, love and hate have been essential elements of all popular cultural forms, including music and cinema. American literature and culture are no exception in terms of its keen interest in this binary. Some cultural critics have even pointed out the uniquely American way of dealing with matters of the heart. For instance, both Henry Adams in the well-known “The Dynamo and the Virgin” chapter of The Education of Henry Adams, and Leslie Fiedler in Love and Death in the American Novel, have pondered, with a critical tone, why American society has always been uneasy with the topic of love. Whether it is an uneasiness, as Adams and Fiedler claim, or another distinctive characteristic that distinguishes love in the United States, this conference hopes to stimulate discussion about representations of love, and its antitheses, in the American context.
We invite the submission of individual abstracts, panels, and proposals by
graduate students from any branch of American Studies. Possible areas may
include, but are not limited to:
- Literature/literary criticism
- Gender and queer studies
- Cinema, (social) media, communication
- Music, art, theater, and performance
- Cultural studies
- Life writing (travel writing, journals, diaries, and memoirs)
- History of emotions
- Psychology and psychoanalysis
- Visual culture
- Environmental studies/urban studies
Proposals should be sent to the American Studies Association of Turkey (email@example.com) and should consist of a 250–300 word abstract, three to five keywords, as well as a short (one paragraph) biography for each participant. The time allowance for presentations is 20 minutes. An additional 10 minutes will be provided for discussion.
While the conference language is English, we will accept a limited number of abstracts in Turkish for a Turkish-language panel at the end of the conference.
Deadline for proposal submission: March 3, 2017
All presenters residing in Turkey must be/become ASAT members.
Selected papers will be included in a special issue of the Journal of American Studies of Turkey (JAST) based on the conference theme.*
More information will be posted on our website as it becomes available: http://www.asat-jast.org
(posted 12 October 2016)
Evidently Set Forth: God and the Human Stage
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK, Saturday 4 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2017
Offers of papers are invited on aspects of the history and theory of drama, tragedy, drama in Biblical narrative, mystery plays, Biblical dramas, Puritanism and the theatres, and modern drama, including poetic drama, closet drama and studio drama. Performance is within this remit, as also is theo-drama. Papers may adopt a historical or thematic approach, or may discuss individual plays or books, or draw comparisons e.g. as between King Lear and the Book of Job. The CLSG interest is in Exploring Christian and Biblical themes in Literature.
The deadline for proposals, which should be emailed to Dr Roger Kojecký (firstname.lastname@example.org), is 31 May. Your proposal should give a provisional title, should state in a few words how you will tackle your topic, and give brief information about your background.
The full form of the Call for Papers can be found on the website of the Christian Literary Studies Group, http://www.clsg.org/html/conference.html
(posted 20 February 2017)
Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France, 9-10 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2017
Confirmed keynote speaker: Professor Alan Male
An international conference organised by IDEA, Illustr4tio and Illustration Research Network
This conference invites participants to explore the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural means through which illustration, in all of its forms, contributes, and has contributed historically, to the shaping of ‘identity/ies’.
The study of illustration provides powerful insights into not only the representation, but also the construction of identity – including gender identities, national and political identities, subcultures, hybrid identities and performative identities. Illustrators as cultural agents have the power to both reinforce and problematise ‘the visual vocabulary of politics’ (Steven Heller, Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State, 2008; rep. 2010) through their use and manipulation of cultural narratives and stereotypes.
Illustrators often navigate several personas when creating artwork – for example the desires of the client, the reception of the audience, and the voices within the text. They may also produce highly personal and subjective work documenting emergent or performed identities in relation to historical, geographical, social, cultural and phenomenological matrices.
We are keen to encourage critical and theoretical frameworks which foster understanding of the cultural relevance of illustration, and to examine the links between book history, print and digital culture and identity. Both practice-led and theoretical papers are welcome. Papers may cover any form (book illustrations, extra illustrations, press cartoons, digital art, etc.) or type (decorative, narrative, scientific, technical, historical, educational, satirical, etc.) of illustration from the Early Modern period or Renaissance to the present day.
Subjects for discussion may address (though are not limited to) the following themes and questions:
- The political agenda of illustration/illustrators: illustration as critique and social or political protest
- The illustrator as agitator, mediator, witness and/or opinion former
- The performance and performative aspects of illustration
- Illustrating identity/ies and changing technologies
- The participation of illustration in the construction and definition of individual identity
- The participation of illustration in the construction and definition of collective / cultural / social / political / ethnic identity/ies
- The illustration of historical and ‘grand narratives’ relating to national identity/ies
Please submit 300 word proposals for a 20 minute presentation to Nathalie Collé (IDEA & Illustr4tio) at email@example.com and Desdemona McCannon (Illustration Research) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposals for workshops and poster presentations are also welcome.
Deadline: Monday 15th May 2017.
EA 2338 IDEA, Interdisciplinarité Dans les Études Anglophones, Université de Lorraine
EA 4182 TIL, Texte Image Langage, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté
EA 4343 CALHISTE, Cultures, Arts, Littératures, Histoire, Imaginaires, Sociétés, Territoires,
Environnement, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambrésis
EA 4363 ILLE, Institut de recherche en Langues et Littératures Européennes, Université de Haute
(posted 15 February 2017)
Dennis Kelly International Symposium
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, University of Lincoln, UK, 18 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 3 April 2017
Keynote Speaker: Dr Clare Finburgh, University of Kent
Following the success of its previous International Playwriting Symposia (Churchill, 2011; Kane, 2012; Ravenhill, 2013; Greig, 2014; tucker green, 2015), the Lincoln School of Fine and Performing Arts is delighted to announce its 2017 Playwright’s Symposium, dedicated this year to the works of Dennis Kelly. On 18 November 2017, there will be a one-day symposium bringing together scholars, theatre practitioners and students to discuss one of the most distinctive and compelling voices to emerge in the first decade of 21st century theatre.
Kelly’s imaginatively daring and often politically acerbic plays have been performed worldwide and translated into nearly forty languages. In a relatively brief but wide-ranging career that spans stage, television, radio and film, award-winning plays include Osama the Hero (2006), Taking Care of Baby (2007), for which he won the John Whiting Award and Best Foreign Playwright from Theater Heute, Orphans (2009) and Matilda the Musical (2010), which won both a Tony and an Olivier for Best Book of a Musical. Plays for young audiences include Our Teacher’s A Troll (2009) and DNA, which in 2010 became a set text on the English Literature GCSE syllabus. Kelly co-wrote the award-winning BBC 3 comedy Pulling (2006-2009) and his Channel 4 television drama, Utopia (2013-14) won the International Emmy for Best Drama Series.
We invite 20 minute papers on all aspects of Dennis Kelly’s plays for stage and screen. Papers may, for example, address specific works dramaturgically and/or thematically, consider Kelly’s position within contemporary cultures and traditions of British (and European) theatre-making, focus analysis on a particular medium, or critically reflect upon the material challenges of staging Kelly’s plays.
Possible topics or themes might include (but are not limited to):
- New writing and formal experimentation
- Lineages of aesthetic influence (theatrical, literary, filmic, televisual)
- Narrative/generic conventions and their subversion
- Theatrical adaptation (parody, pastiche, bricolage)
- Story-telling as mise-en-abyme
- The contemporary ‘grotesque’
- The mediatization of public (political) spaces
- Class and consumerism
- Disaster capitalism’ and its aesthetics
- ‘State of the Nation’ theatre in an age of globalisation
- Ecology and economics
- International (geo)politics on the British stage
- Representation and ontological (in)stabilities of truth, authenticity and belief
- Representation and metaphor
- Ethics and spectatorship
- Language and its rhetorical operations
- Media exploitation and hypertheatricalization
- Utopias and dystopias
- The playwright as ‘portfolio’ writer – writing for stage, film and television
- Writing for Young Audiences
- Directorial approaches and staging challenges
- Critical receptions of Kelly’s works overseas
Deadline for abstracts of 200 words: Monday 3rd April
(posted 2 February 2017)
Memories, Marks and Imprints
Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, France, 20-21 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2017
An international and interdisciplinary conference organized by Elisabeth Bouzonviller, Floriane Reviron-Piégay and Emmanuelle Souvignet
Memory as the faculty to keep and recall past states of consciousness and what is associated with them cannot be distinguished from the numerous forms adopted by its expression. If, at first, “marks” and “imprints” can be perceived as synonymous, their interconnections are more subtle and complex. Marks and imprints seem to involve the body rather than the intellect, on the other hand, memories seem more intangible and pertain to a more intellectual sphere. Nevertheless, they rely on the individual’s capacity to register impressions related to the body, in a manner which is more or less perfect or flawed. Despite the enmity between memory and writing pointed out by Plato’s Phaedrus, memory cannot be dissociated from the writing process with its deletions, erasures, drafting and re-writing, which are so many marks of it. Marks are far less formal than prints since marks are almost always linked to some sort of injury, abduction, aggression, which is not the case for imprints which rely on the input of material (Jacques Clauzel). This material aspect of things requires that we should consider the very nature of marks and prints: is the memory act accidental (outbreak memory) or is it the result of a remembering effort (reconstructing memory)? In both cases, we shall consider the relationship between the three terms from the standpoint of omission, oblivion or, on the contrary, comprehensiveness. If, in both cases (marks and imprints), the body is involved, memory and its relationship with injury and pain shall be considered: is the created work a remedy, a suture, or, on the contrary, a simple scar, a stigma of the painful past? In other words, what is the role of this mark or imprint? Imprints, which are related to impression, also lead us to think of the links between perception and sensation as memory –whether individual or collective, whether the result of an outbreak or a reconstruction– is a form of impressionistic perception: it works, like impressionism, by association of ideas and selection. Memory mixes sensations and images linked by similarities and closeness, thus a memory calls forth another one, like a dot, in an impressionist painting, which cannot be read independently.
One of the goals of this conference will be to reconsider the link between memory and its various ways of being expressed: memory particularly expresses itself in introspective and intimate works like memoirs, an in-between literary genre at the crossroads of annals, diary, autobiography, which will need to be redefined. But fiction can also convey memory when it tries to evoke significant historical events. The writer’s task is then to pay tribute, to make a memorial, to leave marks for those unable to do it or to leave traces of previous texts or works. In this respect, presentations on the contemporary use of canonical works, the way some texts recall other texts, and any other forms of intertextuality, will be welcome.
Lastly, another aspect could be considered; the link between memory and space, since collective memory necessarily involves a spatial frame (Halbwachs). Thus, the artistic monument, whether literary or real, might be studied, together with the links between architecture and text. No matter what its nature is, the memorial work is supposed to build and perpetuate a memory –maybe one’s own first– if we assume that famous works by great writers are more enduring monuments than marble ones. In that respect, marks and monuments are different since the formers are the result of a distortion, a rupture, a deposit that can always be erased, whereas the latter assert their presence massively and materially; marks pertain to unintended residues Jean-Luc Martine says, which is not the case of monuments as they freeze presence in a sort of eternity. It will then be necessary to go beyond the monuments/marks dichotomy to see how memory is embodied in certain specific places (like mausoleums, epitaphs, funerary monuments, historical conservation sites, any type of monument designed to pay tribute to certain events, social groups or memorable figures).
The various literary, sociological, philosophical or artistic forms of expression of memory in Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic cultures will be the object of interest of this conference, whether they are collective, familial or individual.
Presentations will be in English, Spanish or French.
Abstract (about 300 words) and short autobiographical notices should be sent by May 31st 2017 to:
Elisabeth Bouzonviller email@example.com
Floriane Reviron-Piégay firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuelle Souvignet email@example.com
(posted 27 March 2017
Space, Place and Hybridity in National Imagination (Colonial and Postcolonial English-speaking World, 18th – 21st century)
Grenoble-Alpes University, France, 23-24 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 6 January 2017
The research group ILCEA4 is pleased to announce the organisation of an international conference on “Space, Place and Hybridity in National Imagination” to be held at Grenoble Alpes University. It proposes to examine the notion of hybridity or cross-fertilization in the highly controversial field of national identity–namely the spaces, figures and historical events that best symbolize it, as exemplified in the cultural productions originating from a nation or an ethnic or community group. The concept of “third space” as developed by Homi Bhabha in his seminal book The Location of Culture, is particularly productive in that it suggests a vision of space based not on confrontation, binary oppositions or antagonistic relationships of lordship and bondage, but on interactions involving exchange, transfer and mediation.
The conference shall examine the foundations of any “imagined community” (Benedict Anderson) and the ways in which artistic productions cause this set of images, values and references to evolve. These both reflect a history and a heritage but also expose their inherent limitations and underlying ideology, thus paving the way for the progressive transformation of such national figures, values and spatial representations.
All the elements pertaining to culture in a general sense and commonly considered as representative of national identity are within the scope of the symposium:
- Iconography: flags, posters (nationalistic or otherwise), emblematic figures (specimens from the local flora and fauna for example), the representation of the national landscape in painting or photography, allegorical figures of the nation.
- The short form as a medium for the national sentiment: national anthems, songs, poems.
- Literature in a general sense: fiction, children’s and young adult literature, textbooks, political speeches, philosophical essays, history books.
- Places, types of geographical spaces but also historical events crystallizing what the nation is supposed to represent (map making, memorial ceremonies, official events).
- Cultural productions: film, dance, street art.
Every nation perceives itself as articulated around the concept of origin: a choice then emerges between a founding myth specific to it (a sort of self-generation devoid of any hybridity), and an impure, problematic genesis, born out of the contact with another cultural, historical and geographical sphere. Thus, within the British world itself, Scotland for example can be said to have been defined, both historically and culturally, in close relation to its rival and double, England. Similar considerations are relevant for Ireland and Wales.
More generally, former colonies of the British Crown have founded themselves in an ambiguous relationship to the “motherland” while trying to free themselves from its influence. After the colonial period, the goal was for the settler colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) to found their identity antagonistically to that of the motherland, especially by focusing on their new land and the type of relationship they had with it so as to invest both with distinctive national characteristics.
An interesting and contentious point of study is the undeniably hybrid character of such early identity formations devoid of any cultural heritage or history except for those bequeathed by the motherland. Another essential and no less challenging issue is that of the relationship to the Indigenous populations of the colony whose culture and values, whose very existence sometimes, were voluntarily erased. The question of a possible hybridization between the culture of the colonizer and that of the colonized could be seen as a form of defilement, corruption or degeneration. Conversely, the appropriation and even the instrumentalization of symbols, places and values specific to Indigenous peoples in national mythologies is a highly controversial issue deserving careful scrutiny.
In what is commonly referred to as the “postcolonial” period, the discussion often centres on the denunciation or re-definition of national figures, symbols and places as well as the great texts and events constitutive of the core of a nation’s identity. Examining those shows how much they have evolved, across generations, through an underlying hybridization allowing greater representativeness, not only of the first inhabitants but also of new migrant communities or minority groups.
Space and place are not to be apprehended as exclusively geographical or referential but also as textual, thus enabling new hybrid subject positions within national mythologies. The rewriting or new adaptation of famous works into other forms (with generic, gender or modal variations) characteristic of the postmodern approach also allow the reevaluation of what constitutes the core of a nation’s identity, changing it into a field of experimentation and cross-fertilization. The contribution of historians, geographers, sociologists and semiologists will also enable the conference to examine the complexity and variety of the forms and functions of hybridity in national representations.
The deadline for proposals is 6 January 2017. Please send an abstract (max. 300 words) either in French or in English, and a short biographical note (max. 150 words) to both Christine Vandamme (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Cyril Besson (email@example.com) by January 6, 2017. The notification of acceptance will be sent by February 10, 2017, at the latest. Selected papers will be considered for publication (in English).
(posted 24 June 2016)
Thinking the Sea in the Global World: Discourses and Practices
Brest, France, 23-24 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2017
The international conference “Thinking the sea in a global world: discourses and practices” aims at examining the convergences and the tensions between the representation of the sea in global discourses, whether from the media or from the political, advertising or environmental spheres, and the sea as a space shaped by the everyday practices and the arts of the local populations. Three major areas of research can be identified:
1. How sea discourses are built
Even though the sea may be indifferent to mankind, human beings have always sought to project upon its surface or on its shores their desires and anxieties. Marine debris materialize, to a certain extent, those human projections. As Pierre Cassou-Noguès in Métaphysique d’un bord de mer argues, “the sea has been humanized […] we leave oil spills and all kinds of waste, bottles, cans, beach balls, etc”. Pollution, like global warming, is a worldwide phenomenon, which may obscure the question of its exact provenance. Contributions are invited to examine how sea imaginaries in various cultures seize those global phenomena and voice or construct their own sea discourses.
• How do aesthetic theories influence the way we look at and conceptualize the sea?
• What concepts, ideas, values shape our aesthetic consumption of the sea?
• How can we analyse cross-cultural phenomena in relation to the sea?
• How is the sea taught in school curriculums and innovative projects? How are the seas and oceans represented in children’s literature or TV series?
• How can “sound practices” in relation to the sea be defined? What is their final objective, and how are they spread? (one may here think about leisure fishing, the protection of coastal systems, sailing, maritime transport, marine protected areas,…)
2. The sea in practice: a consumer resource?
We invite contributions that question the definition of the sea as a source of minerals, fossil fuels, vegetable matter, food, but also of landscapes, services, leisure, tourism, culture and identities. Do all human practices in relation to the sea amount to a form of consumption?
• Can the sea envisaged as a resource accommodate the idea of the sea as a living entity?
• How do advertising, environmental and health discourses influence our consumption of sea products?
• Can we identify normalized and normalizing discourses on the sea? How different are they from one culture to the next?
• Does maritime tourism take the risk of turning sea cultures into commodified simulacra?
3. Conflicts, resistance, creativity
As the space of various forms of both exchanges and conflicts, the sea generates original patterns of social organisation or artistic creation that may lead in turn to new uses and practices. Contributions may identify and analyse these original social and cultural uses of the sea, as well as the instances of one-sided, partisan representations. Contributions may also examine how discourses and representations affect cultural forms related to the sea, whether in the field of sociality or art.
• What discourses, what forms of action are deployed against dominant economies and ideologies?
• How is conflict between users of the sea played out? What are the discourses used by the different parties involved?
• To what extent have the concepts of ‘environment’ and ‘ecosystem’ been recycled, and their meaning altered, by political discourses?
• How is the sea expressed in popular art forms, from sea shanties to leisure painting?
• Are certain practices or users linked to the sea changed into myths, or on the contrary made invisible, in keeping with current dominant visions of the sea?
• How are the practices linked to the sea represented in literature?
• Can the practice of writing or other forms of art reshape a globalized perception of seas and oceans?
• How can the sea help us rethink our understanding of the artistic practice?
Abstracts of no more than 1,500 signs for 20-minute papers in English or in French must contain the following:
• First and last names, contact e-mail.
• Academic affiliation
• Research interests and recent publications
• A provisional title for your paper
Proposals should be sent no later than 15 March 2017 to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Notification of acceptance will be given around 15 April 2017.
A selection of papers will be published in a collective work.
(posted 7 January 2017)
Beyond the Ruin: Investigating the Fragment in English Studies: 10th International Conference of the Hellenic Association for the Study of English (HASE)
Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 23-25 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2017
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
- Apostolos Lampropoulos, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne
- Carl Lavery, University of Glasgow
- Jyotsna Singh, Michigan State University
- Julian Wolfreys, University of Portsmouth
The ruin and the fragment have enduring, interconnected, yet also distinct legacies, as historical realities, material and/or aesthetic objects, and as categories of thought. The ruin predominantly recalls a classical or distant past, and is valued as a silent yet privileged ground for the reconstruction of the past. On the other hand, the fragment is primarily a conceptual category and a stylistic form, a metonymy of nostalgic wholeness, and a metaphor of and for a modernity that contemplates wholeness as irreversibly lost. In response to historical vicissitudes, the literary and the artistic imagination turned to the fragment in all its forms, as an expression of dislocation, fragmentation, and fragmentariness in modernity. In the wake of the ruin of representation in postmodernism, ruins and fragments may operate as tropes of relatedness and separation, discontinuity and destruction, uniqueness and multiplicity, open-endedness and incompleteness. Whether literal or metaphorical, ruins and fragments bear dualities that are continually recuperated and revisited as they speak of creation and destruction, recovery and silence, memory and forgetting, war and catastrophe, classicism and avant-gardism.
As divisions and conflicting notions about our past and our present are now tokens of our own despair; as quests to restore an illusory wholeness persist; as the tension between the timeless and the crumbling is becoming all the more manifest; as violence and uncertainty are all around us; as ruins make invisible vulnerability visible, this conference invites reflection on the histories, theorisations, and representations of fragments and ruins in Anglophone literatures and cultures.
Possible topics include, but are not restricted to, the following:
- Reception, representations, and the significance of ruins through the ages
- The dialectic between the ruin and the monument
- Fragments and ruins in travel writing
- The ruin as metaphor/metonymy
- Fragments, ruins and incompleteness
- The (un)timeliness of the ruin: silence, erasure, and memory
- Ruins and melancholia
- Fragmented states of consciousness
- Colonial and postcolonial ruins and fragments
- Cultural appropriation, recovery, and/or destruction of ruins
- Narratives of destruction and catastrophe
- Fragments, ruins as palimpsests
- The ruin and/or fragment as spectacle
- Morality, ethics, responsibility, solidarity vis-à-vis the ruin
- The (un)ethics and the politics of material and cultural devastation
- Terrorism as/and the creation of ruins
- Textual fragmentation and contemporary literature
- The fragment in new technologies and the media
The conference will be held at the Main Building of the University of Athens (http://en.uoa.gr/)
The deadline for the submission of proposals for individual 20-minute papers (200-250 words) and of proposals for panel sessions (no longer than 500 words) is March 31st, 2017. Please send a short biographical note (circa 150 words) together with your proposal. Prospective panel organisers should also send the panelists’ names, paper titles, and short bio notes for each panelist and their contact details.
Confirmation of acceptance: 30 April 2017
Proposals should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emmanouil Aretoulakis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), email@example.com
Anna Despotopoulou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), firstname.lastname@example.org
Stamatina Dimakopoulou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), email@example.com
Efterpi Mitsi (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Website: http://www.beyondtheruin.net
(posted 16 January 2017)
Self-portraits in costumes: multiple identities at play
Nantes, France, 24 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2017
Venue: Campus de l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Nantes Métropole, Nantes, France
Self-portraits admittedly waver between earnest confession (as stressed by Philippe Le Jeune in Le Pacte autobiographique, Seuil, coll. “Poétique”, 1975) and concealment. It is often a representation of the self that goes beyond the idea of the artist as subject in order to tackle wider notions. In a similar way, the self-portrait in costume or disguise (in painting, photo or video) may either protect the artist from self-disclosure or put his own self at risk. It is a multi-faceted genre or mode that this conference purports to explore. In painting, clothing has recently received a long-deserved interest: in Fabric of Vision : Dress and Drapery in Painting (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), Anne Holander underscore that clothing does matter as much as any other component of the composition in the eyes of the painter. This applies even more forcefully to self-portraits in costume.
Some classical painters have playfully included an image of themselves in period costumes in their compositions or painted self-portraits in costume. Veronese features dressed in white in The Wedding Feast at Cana (1562) while Rembrandt portrayed himself in oriental costume in The artist in an Oriental Costume (1631). The act of self-portrayal –as a creative process—may be viewed as an intimate act and private performance or as a staging of the self for public display, questioning the social and political status of the artist, the individual or his community. The costume inevitably introduces a twist or trick that may be playful or more intriguing: this strategy has not been fully explored and deserves more attention.
Given that self-portraiture is an experimental and mediated exploration of the self (and a nearly unavoidable step for many artists in the intimacy of the creative process), it is an invitation to explore lighting, stances, and costume either humorously or more introspectively. Costuming or masquerading, that is seemingly assuming someone else’s identity, may partake of a documentary or fictitious project and rely on various autobiographical modes. The artist may metamorphose him/herself exploring different time-periods, geographical areas, or identities; the dress may be normative or conversely singular. The manipulation of the self in the visual arts may be liberating, as is the case in the tradition of the masquerade or fantasy photographic portraits: through costuming the artists free themselves from the constraints of society and its prevalent dress-codes. Handicrafts, intermediality and bricolage may be used to costume the self in a process-oriented approach sometimes close to artistic performance. The body may disappear entirely and the artist be buried in the costume, faceless; conversely the artist may be reduced to a shadow or use synecdoche to escape exposure.
The costume (attire, dress, props, or make-up) being more than a sign of belonging entails performative embodiments and blurs the identification process thereby disrupting the conventions of self-portraiture. As a matter of fact, the self-portrait in costume often entails narrativity and fictitious self-representations in which the artist may drift towards fantasy and virtuality to explore complex forms of otherness.
Portraying oneself in exotic attire is a means of drawing the spectator’s attention to the artificiality of portrait-painting and the theatricality of social roles. The self-portrait in costume, relying as it does on shared sartorial norms and social codes, articulates culture and counterculture and may debunk myths, stereotypes and normative discourse centered on the body. The self-portrait in costume thereby constitutes a puzzle for the viewer who finds himself trapped into the contrivances of the staging. When costuming also means revisiting previous images and relies on intericonicity, the viewer may be complicit and laugh or mislaugh at the quote or distortion. Contemporary photographers and video-artists conceive fictional or fictitious autobiographies inducing generic and referential instability. Artists related to postmodern and postcolonial art portray themselves in costume to critically explore identity construction and the notions of authenticity and nostalgia. In a postcolonial perspective, self-portraits in costume tends to question the politics of representation, power relationships in the modern society, representation of minorities and a multiplicity of possible identifications torn between cultural and social contradictions. Other self-portraits are haunted by a nightmarish vision of the artist as Other, referring to the divided self from a psychoanalytic perspective. The advent of the post-human has made these imaginary explorations more tangible.
There is, we suggest, more than imaginary playfulness in these self-staged performances: the self-portrait in disguise may verge on parody or satire and entail carnivalesque reversals; it may conceal, even camouflage, the true personality of an artist for various reasons; it may also challenge the notion of physical integrity, singularity and authenticity especially when produced in series. By changing his/her sexual, ethnic, social identity, the artist may convey a strong message and situate his/her practice within society. This conference is an invitation to consider the complexity of the self-portrait in costume particularly in the contemporary period. Indeed, both postmodern reflexivity and self-referentiality, and the extended possibilities offered by image manipulation have revived this genre, with the success of selfies or avatars for instance raising new questions.
Contemporary creation puts the relationships between animality/humanity, body/machine under scrutiny, and is inspired by ontological theories (E. Kosofsky Sedgwick, Donna Haraway, Mel Y. Chen). The otherization of the self or the incorporation of the other –and the other-self in works concerned with the motif of the doppleganger—are processes of self-investigation that are worth analysing.
Proposals of approximately 300 words may be submitted to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, along with a short biographical note before May 30, 2017.
(posted 29 March 2017)
The Poetics and Politics of Identity
Hammamet, Tunisia, 24-25 November 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017
The Tunisian Association for English Language Studies (TAELS) organises its 3rd International Conference on: “The Poetics and Politics of Identity”
Venue: Vincci-Marillia Hotel **** Hammamet – Tunisia
Recent scholarship in Identity Studies has engaged in a passionate debate that captures the proliferation of the concept among various academic traditions, seeking to formulate a balance between the aesthetic representations of identity and its political potential. In sociology, literature, anthropology, arts, linguistics and other related disciplines, the question of identity represents a core investigation area, lending itself to an impressive array of political and aesthetic approaches. Reflecting on the versatility of identity, different research paradigms have sought to elucidate the intricate links between social experiences, cultural practices, political standpoints and literary forms, taking into account the collapse of geographic and cultural boundaries in a world dominated by unlimited and multiplying connectivity.
Equally integral to the study of identity is language with its different cultural manifestations. From sociolinguistics to discourse studies, language represents an important venue to examine the relationships of power and to reconceptualize identity within one’s social, political, and cultural contexts. In language teaching and learning, identity has proven to be a central concept in the study of teaching-learning styles, educational policies, and teaching methods and approaches.
In the arena of sociopolitical discourses, the overwhelming waves of immigrants and displaced people have led to a pressing urgency of rethinking the chasm between the Global North and the Global South. Election discourses – and results – have been influenced by a popular glorification of nationalist voices weary of the potential threat posed by immigrants and asylum seekers. Studies on the discourses of recent election campaigns have been attentive to the politics of ‘race’, ‘class’ and ‘national identity’ in the light of the unprecedented surge of ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘bigotry’, and ‘xenophobia’ and the mass manipulation of people to vote for the advocates of nationalist supremacy and ‘protectionist’ policies.
In culture and literary studies, interest in identity has spurred critical debate among theorists, critics and writers, negotiating the intricate crossovers between the literary and cultural domains, on the one hand, and identity construction, on the other. Novelists, for instance, have been attentive to the representation of identity and have sought to engage creatively in dismantling preset models of racial, ethnic and gender straight-jackets to celebrate constructionist approaches to identity. Diasporic literature, for instance, bears witness to the growing interest in negotiating identity formation, adopting a transcultural vision that refocuses attention from scripting essentialist norms to more fluid dynamic attitudes to identity.
The steering committee welcomes proposals related, but not limited, to the following topics:
- The sociolinguistics of identity
- Identity in discourse studies
- Individual/collective identity(-ies)
- Depictions of identity in the media
- Identity politics
- Cultural identity
- Diasporic identities
- Gender identity
- Identity and ethnicity
- Nationalism and identity
- Identity and memory
- Identity and engaged arts
- TEFL and learner identity(-ies)
Participants are invited to send their abstracts through the following link no later than April 30th, 2017. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by May 15th, 2017.
We accept abstracts and papers written in English, Arabic and French.
TAELS editorial board will select a number of papers that will be published after peer-reviewing in a collective volume on the proceedings of the conference.
Presenters of accepted papers will be required to deposit a participation fee of 200 TND (200 Euros for international participants) to TAELS bank account no later than August 31, 2017.
IBAN TN 59 1070 5007 0481 8407 8872
Swift code: STBKTNTT
The amount will cover:
For Tunisian participants
- One full accommodation night at Vincci-Marillia Hotel in Hammamet, Tunisia
- An annual membership in TAELS
- Conference materials
- Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication
For International participants
- Two full accommodation nights at Vincci-Marillia Hotel in Hammamet, Tunisia
- An annual membership in TAELS
- Conference materials
- Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication
For partners accompanying participants, an additional fee of 100 TND (100 Euros for International participants) will be required to cover the one/two-day stay at the hotel.
For Tunisian M.A and PH.D students, participation fees have been reduced to 150 TND to cover all benefits listed above.
For advice and more details about transportation and accommodation, please send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. TAELS team will be happy to assist in making your stay most comfortable.
(posted 1 February 2017)