Conference Report: “Nation, Nationhood and Theatre”

“Nation, Nationhood and Theatre”: 26th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

Reading (Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading/UK),
29 June–02 July 2017

Julia Boll (Konstanz, Germany)

The 26th CDE conference, hosted at the Minghella building (Dept. of Theatre and Film) at the University of Reading, provided a platform to discuss the representation of issues of nation and nationhood in contemporary theatre and drama in English, a very topical theme in the year after the referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and in times of a global rise of nationalisms and populist movements.

The conference started with a welcome address by local organisers Vicky Angelaki and John Bull. They stressed the uniqueness of CDE and how the background of many members of the society is intricately connected to questions of nation and nationality. They also commented on the society’s spirit of community, reflected in the practise of avoiding parallel sessions, and then spoke about the critical momentum of the conference, the case of worrying nationalism, of jingoism, and how theatre might be the best way of approaching these issues. Continue reading “Conference Report: “Nation, Nationhood and Theatre””

Conference Report: Education and Cultural Heritage

“Education and Cultural Heritage” Conference

Brussels (Belgium), June 10, 2017

Marisa Kerbizi, “Alexander Moisiu” University of Durrës (Albania) and CEO of “Association of Heritage and Education”

Picture Gallery

“Education and Cultural Heritage” Conference was organized by Association of Heritage and Education in cooperation with Cultural Association Konitza, on June 10, 2017. The conference was hosted by Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Brussels, Belgium. Scholars from well known academic institutions and universities in the region took part in this conference; worthy to mention a few, La Sapienza University of Rome, Tirana University, “Alexander Moisiu” University, Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education of Indonesia, Volgograd University, Danubius University of Galati, South-East European University, “Ismail Qemali” University, European University of Tirana,“Fan Noli” University but also Institute of National Economy Bucharest, FEDRA, Young Ambassadors Program Initiative, Centre for the Modern History Documentation of Volgograd Region, etc.

The conference featured a welcoming note by Counselor for Education, Associate Professor Pranvera Kamani, representative of Mission of Albania in EU. A very interesting speech was held by Ms.Amet Gjanaj, Deputy in Belgium Parliament. A Special Guest in ICECH Conference was Ms.Haxhi Bajraktari, Minister-Counselor in Embassy of Kosovo Republic in Brussels. Conference keynote speakers were Prof. Dr. Dhimitër Doka, Tirana University and Associate Professor PhD Gabriela Marchis, Danubius University of Galati, Romania.

Continue reading “Conference Report: Education and Cultural Heritage”

Conference Report: Letters: International and Interdisciplinary Academic Conference

Letters: International and Interdisciplinary Academic Conference

Interhotel Cherno More, Varna, Bulgaria

27-29 April 2017

Peyo Karpuzov, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Picture Gallery

Convened at the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea, the conference gathered scholars with a wide range of interests within the humanities from China through Europe to the USA and Canada. It was organised jointly by the Bulgarian Society for British Studies (BSBS) and the Bulgarian American Studies Association (BASA) in conjunction with the Alma Mater Centre of Excellence in the Humanities at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Faculty of Modern Languages at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. The topic of the conference, ingeniously devised to accommodate papers on the two principle meanings of the word “letters” as graphic signs and written messages and all the space between them, gave the participants generously free licence to unfold their creativity and self-expression which everyone took due advantage of. Additionally, the conference hosted a Transatlantic Seminar on the US recent presidential elections.

The conference featured a welcoming note by Ludmilla Kostova (University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria), who presided diligently over the organising committee and the smooth flow of the event, three plenary lectures by prominent scholars, twelve concurrent sessions – among which an experimental Skype panel which proved a daring but altogether successful endeavour – and an afternoon sightseeing trip to the botanical gardens and Queen Marie of Romania’s summer residence in nearby Balchik. The first-day keynote lecture by Tsenka Ivanova, Dean of the Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Veliko Tarnovo,  focused on alphabets as crossroads of culture and politics. The keynote speaker on the second day was ESSE’s President Liliane Louvel (Université de Poitiers, France) who dwelled on the mediating role of letters between texts and images, exemplified by a vast array of pictorial representations from the past and present. Distinguished poet and scholar Nick Norwood (Columbus State University, GA, USA) delivered the last plenary lecture on the third day of the conference, capturing the audience’s attention with his talk on Richard Howard’s epistolary strategies. The papers, presented in the concurrent sessions, built on the plenary insights and brought the discussion of “letters” into the multifarious directions and beyond new horizons. The conference was held in the spirit of mutual respect and fruitful exchange of ideas and heated, but friendly, discussions marked especially the third day of the conference, after the joyful trip to Balchik had served as a socialising catalyst among the participants.

The proceedings of the conference are to be published in the annual STUDIA PHILOLOGICA UNIVERSITATIS TARNOVENSIS series at the beginning of 2018.

Conference Report: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

“Theatre and Mobility”: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

Eichstätt (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt),
26–29 May 2016

Sarah Heinz (Mannheim, Germany)

In what has been termed the ‘mobility turn’ by scholars like John Urry or Tim Cresswell, research has analysed the complexities of economic, social, and political spaces, dealing with both the historical development of movement and mobility and today’s world of social networks, airtravel, multinational corporations, and SMS texting, among others. Contemporary stages have in the last decades addressed this issue of mobility in a multicultural and global world. Playwrights and audiences alike have been fascinated with aspects and processes related to mobility and its many aspects, e.g. ethical issues like hospitality and unequal access to mobility, technological and virtual mobility, migration and displacement, or mobile and immobile bodies on stage. The 25th CDE conference, hosted at the historical Collegium Willibaldinum at Eichstätt, provided a platform to discuss what mobility might mean in the ‘here and now’ of contemporary theatre and drama and how aspects like gender, race, or class might reflect and inflect issues and representations of mobility. Continue reading “Conference Report: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)”

Conference Report: ESSE 13 Conference, 22-26 August 2016, Galway, Ireland

The 13th ESSE Conference

22-26 August 2016, NUI Galway, Ireland

Patrick Lonergan and Aoife Leahy

galway2016-logo We were delighted to host the 13th ESSE conference at National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.  There were 3 plenary lectures, 17 sub-plenary lectures, 80 seminars, 10 round tables, 5 special PhD sessions and a poster session as well as the ESSE General Assembly and book awards ceremony.

esse-13-photoApproximately 800 delegates attended this very busy conference. Special events included the Welcome Reception, a Sean Nós Song and Dance Performance from The Centre of Irish Studies, readings by the novelist Mike McCormack and the poet Mary O’ Malley, the conference dinner in the Radisson Hotel (including Irish music and dancing performances), three plays by the Fishamble theatre company, and a special closing seminar on women and contemporary theatre from the Druid Theatre Academy. Delegates could enjoy a tour of the library and special collections on any day of the conference and the exhibition “Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen” was on display in the library.

Emma Smith, the Cultural Studies plenary speaker, entertained us with “The Biography of a Book: Shakespeare’s First Folio.” Since the theme of this issue of the ESSE Messenger is Shakespeare Lives, Emma Smith has kindly published her lecture. Paul Baker was the Linguistics plenary speaker, delivering a fascinating lecture entitled “Divided by a Common Language? A Comparison of Recent Change in American and British English.” Colm Tóibín, the Literature plenary speaker, captivated the audience with “As Things Fall Apart: The Response to Violence in the Work of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.”

Liliane Louvel, ESSE’s President, addressed the ESSE membership at the General Assembly. There was applause for Alberto Lazaro and Smiljana Komar, who have been re-elected as ESSE’s Treasurer and ESSE’s Secretary for another three year term. The prestigious ESSE book awards were presented to the prize winners.

Photographs of the General Assembly and book awards can be seen on the ESSE Facebook page at  Important decisions made at the ESSE Board meeting can be seen on the ESSE Messenger blog at

We look forward to the next ESSE conference in Brno in 2018!

Conference Report: Borders and Crossings Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016

Borders and Crossings: An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing,

Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016

Eva Oppermann, Kassel

Picture credit: Pjotr Burda

Held for the second time in former Eastern Europe, this conference, which is the 13th Borders and Crossings Conference since 1998, was hosted by the Department of Modern Languages of the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland. Dr. Agnieszka Szwach and associate professor Magdalena Ożarska, as its main organizers, did an excellent, extremely supportive, job. In eighteen sessions, more than fifty speakers from nearly twenty countries and about fifteen disciplines have covered a wide range of topics concerning travel writing of all ages. The two keynote lectures, “Illusion, immediacy, and the “vehicle of description” in travel writing and travel illustration” by Benjamin Colbert (university of Wolverhampton) and Ludmilla Kostova’s (St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria) “Intercultural mediation in travel writing and its (dis)contents: the cases of Mary Wortley Montagu and Rebecca West” introduced various topics of wider interest in the field: Colbert discussed the concepts of both the picturesque and subjectivity in connection with travel writing, especially with description and illustration. Kostova introduced xenophilia, interpretation and mediation as means of understanding the “other” in women’s travel writing. The topics of the sessions included a concentration on various national literatures (e.g. Polish, French, Russian and British), gender (women’s travels), non-human travel (esp. animals; the space travel of science fiction was not represented), or travel in important works of literature. Continue reading “Conference Report: Borders and Crossings Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016”

Conference Report: ‘Games of Empires’, Saarbrücken 2016

Games of Empires. Historico-Cultural Connotations of Board Games in Transnational and Imperial Contexts

Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, 21-23 April 2016

Katrin Berndt (Associate Professor, University of Bremen, Germany)

erstellt am: 18.07.07 Foto: atb-thiry, Fotograf: Jochen Hans Universität des Saarlandes. Saarbrücken, Campus, Studiengebühren, Studium
Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

As a universally shared human activity and a fundamental form of cultural expression, playing has been an object of research in the humanities and the social sciences since philosopher Karl Groos developed his evolutionary psychological theory of play in Die Spiele der Menschen (1899; Engl. The Play of Man). To sketch out and establish a historico-cultural approach to the genre of board games was the aim of Games of Empires, an interdisciplinary conference organized by the Department of Ancient History and the Chair for Transcultural Anglophone Studies of Saarland University that took place from 21 to 23 April 2016 in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Continue reading “Conference Report: ‘Games of Empires’, Saarbrücken 2016”

Conference Report: EASA 13 Conference, Veszprém, Hungary

EASA 13 Conference: Australia as Topos – The Transformation of Australian Studies

University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary


University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary EASA13 Conference

The town of Veszprém in Hungary has in many ways been at the cusp of history throughout its 7,000 years of known existence. The surrounding hills witnessed the decisive battles fought in the region more than 1,000 years ago. In several ways Veszprém is also a cultural capital: it was the first Hungarian city to have a university level educational institution in the 13th century. We are delighted to announce that the University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary), in cooperation with Topos – Bilingual Journal of Space and Humanities and the Veszprém Regional Branch of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences successfully hosted the 13th biannual international conference of the European Association for Studies on Australia (EASA) between 30 September and 3 October 2015. Continue reading “Conference Report: EASA 13 Conference, Veszprém, Hungary”

Conference Report: “Afroeuropeans 2015”, Münster 2015

“Afroeuropeans 2015”: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe
The 5th Biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network Conference
Münster, Germany

Jean d’Amour Banyanga (PhD Student, Åbo Akademi University, Finland)

Åbo Akademi University
Åbo Akademi University,
Turku (Finland)

From 16 to19 September 2015, the fifth biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network conference took place in the beautiful city of Münster, Germany. There were 170 participants from 15 countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA. The conference featured keynote lectures, paper presentations, panel discussions, and cultural events on the literature, history, music, art, politics, and youth culture of Africans and their descendants in Europe. Since a full report on all events and sessions would be impossible, the following account is limited to a representative selection. The conference opened in the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2015 with the screening of the film Real Life: Deutschland, followed by a discussion with the director, Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye from Cologne.   Continue reading “Conference Report: “Afroeuropeans 2015”, Münster 2015″

Conference report: “Theatre and Spectatorship”, Barcelona 2015

“Theatre and Spectatorship”: 24th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)
University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 4–7 June 2015

Sarah Heinz (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany)

Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar
Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar,
Barcelona (Spain)

Research into spectatorship and the role of audience has stressed that the spectator is a corporeal presence and indispensable to a performance but that as a concept spectatorship is slippery and difficult to define. Seminal publications like Susan Bennett’s Theatre Audiences (1990) or Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2009) have highlighted both the interest of theatre practitioners in the role of the spectator and its comparative scholarly neglect up to the 1980s. In this context, scholarly work has increasingly focused on the productive, collaborative role of audiences and spectators, contributing to a decisive paradigm shift in the field which, with its emphasis on ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ respectively, has long linked spectatorship with passivity. Since then, there has been a gradual yet sustained increase in interventions in the field. The 24th CDE conference at the University of Barcelona, hosted at the 15th-century Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar, reflected on such theoretical, methodological as well as artistic work on spectatorship in the context of contemporary theatre and drama in English. Continue reading “Conference report: “Theatre and Spectatorship”, Barcelona 2015”