Calls for papers for conferences taking place in August 2024

What Remains? Literature and Ethics in a Time of Crisis.
Stockholm. 20-22 August 2024.
Proposal submission deadline: 16 February 2024.

The conference is organized by Mid Sweden University, Stockholm University, Károli Gáspár University, and KU Leuven.

Presentation of the event

The relation between ethics and literature became a topic of intense academic debate at the end of the twentieth century—at a time, that is, when that relation was no longer self-evident after the challenges of postcolonial, feminist, and deconstructive critique. Humanist proponents of literature’s role as an empathy engine (Nussbaum, Rorty) entered into conversation with theorists who took inspiration from the work of Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas to valorize literature as a site of singular otherness—as an occasion of ethical encounter rather than moral instruction (Attridge, Eaglestone, Miller). In the decades since, the debate over the relation between ethics and literature has never completely disappeared: discussions of affect and empathy never stray far from ethical considerations; the attention in ecocriticism to human-nonhuman relations implicitly but controversially transports ethical claims to the object world; in narrative theory, rhetorical narratology continues to center ethical relations between author, text, and reader; and considerations of the “uses of literature” explicitly raise question of literature’s ethical affordances, also but not exclusively in the fields of the health and medical humanities. 

This conference aims to bring these different strands of twenty-first-century reflection on literature and ethics together to update the debate on the ethics of literature for the present —for what can by now uncontroversially be termed “a time of crisis.” In light of environmental, epidemic, technological, economic, demographic, and geopolitical upheavals, the question of the ethics of literature may seem peripheral; at the same time, in an age of diminished prospects, it becomes more urgent than ever to raise questions of what values remain or can be salvaged. Capitalizing on Theodor W. Adorno’s contention that art’s ‘powerlessness and superfluity in the empirical world’ make it a paradoxically potent site of ethical and political interrogation, this conference will focus on the juncture of literature and ethics in the present—in light of contested pasts and uncertain futures. 


We invite contributions on the relation between literature and ethics that both engage with particular case studies and situate themselves in ongoing debates on these issues. Possible topics include, but are definitely not restricted to, the following topics:

  • the affordances of rhetorical narratology for a literary ethics 
  • storytelling and human wellbeing
  • storytelling, storylistening, and public reasoning 
  • the values of the unexamined (or unnarrated) life 
  • the ethics of life-writing
  • literature and ethics in the Anthropocene 
  • literature as a mode of witness in an age of mass extinction  
  • the value of literature and literary study in a climate changed world
  • literary ethics in a posthuman age
  • literary ethics in postsecular times
  • the ethics of literature and storytelling in aging societies     
  • medium- or genre-specific accounts of literary ethics 
  • the ethics of authorship in the age of generative AI 
  • collaboration and other ethical dimensions of authorship
  • literature, ethics, and politics in a hyperpolitical age
  • ethics and literariness in the literary marketplace  
  • empirical approaches to literary ethics 
  • literature, ethics, and intersectionality 
  • the limits of ethical approaches to literature

While the conference focuses on the interface of literature and ethics, case studies on other cultural forms (film, theater, performance, …) that contribute to the debate are also very welcome. The conference language is English, but we welcome papers on texts and documents in any language from any period, as long as they contribute to an understanding of the relation between literature and ethics today.  

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: 

  • Hanna Meretoja (University of Turku)
  • James Phelan (Project Narrative, Ohio State University)


Please send an abstract of 200-300 words with a short biographical note (50 words) to by 16 February 2024. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Please submit your proposal in Word-format.


  • Abstract submission deadline: 16 February 2024
  • Notification of results: 15 March 2024
  • Registration: 15 March 2024 – 15 June 2024
  • Conference dates: 20-22 August 2024


Contact details

Please direct all queries to

Original CFP

(Posted 7 December 2023)

“Johnson-Reed 100 Years Later”: Critical Reflections on the Global Legacy of US Immigration Quotas, 1924-2024.
University of Debrecen, Hungary. 22-23 August 2024.
Deadline for submission of proposals: 12 January 2024.

This international conference is organized to mark the 100th Anniversary of the US Immigration Act of 1924.

Abstract: Provide a structured abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the key points, methodologies, and their relevance to the conference theme.

Presenter’s information: Include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), email address, and a brief biography of up to 150 words on the following website under ‘Abstract submission’:

Event organised by

the Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Debrecen, Hungary in partnership with the American Hungarian Educators Association

Conference organizers

  • Dr. Balázs Venkovits (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Dr. Zsuzsanna Lénárt-Muszka (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Dr. Helga Lenart-Cheng (Saint Mary’s College of California, USA)

Rationale / Presentation of the event

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Johnson-Reed Act, we are delighted to invite scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners from diverse disciplines to participate in an international conference to critically reflect on the perceptions and impact of the US Immigration Act of 1924 and other restrictive measures of the time on global migration trajectories and policy. More broadly, this interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the multifaceted dimensions of migration and its complex interactions with history, literature, cultural studies, film studies, inter-American studies, and various other academic fields. We encourage submissions that offer innovative insights, historical analysis, and contemporary interpretations of the implications of migration and immigration restriction in shaping societies, cultures, and identities.

The conference will be held in person with an opportunity for participants joining from outside Hungary to present in hybrid sessions.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

1.     Ashley Johnson Bavery, Associate Professor, Eastern Michigan University, USA
2.     Anna A. Mazurkiewicz, Associate Professor, University of Gdansk, Poland
3.     Mónika Szente-Varga, Associate Professor, Ludovika University of Public Service, Hungary

We welcome proposals that delve into a wide range of topics related to the US immigration quotas introduced in 1921 and 1924, and in more general the reasons for and impact of immigration restriction, including but not limited to:

  • Historical analysis of the Johnson-Reed Act and its implications for immigration to the United States
  • Impact of the American regulations on other countries in the Americas
  • The role of the Johnson-Reed Act in shaping European migration trajectories
  •  Immigration to the Americas from Central and Eastern Europe after 1924
  • The interplay between immigration quotas and notions of identity, race, and ethnicity
  • Comparative approaches to the history of immigration and immigration restriction in the Americas and Europe
  • Intended and unintended consequences of immigration restriction
  • Cultural products (e.g., art, music, theater) reflecting on immigration and/or immigration restriction; literary and filmic representations of the migration experience
  • The role of film in shaping public perceptions of immigration and migration policies
  • Human rights perspectives on immigration quotas and their effects on vulnerable populations
  • The influence of immigration quotas on transnational communities and diasporas
  • Evaluations of American immigration policy and reforms

We invite proposals for:

  • Individual (20-minute) papers focusing on specific research topics, case studies, or theoretical perspectives related to the conference theme
  • Work-in-progress presentations by PhD students (10 minutes)
  • Themed panels of three papers addressing a cohesive topic related to the conference theme
  • Roundtable discussions


  • Proposal submission deadline: January 12, 2024
  • Notification of acceptance: January 26, 2024
  • Registration deadline: February 29, 2024

All participants, including presenters and attendees, are required to register in advance.

Publication Opportunities: Selected conference papers will be considered for publication in a special edition of the peer-reviewed, Scopus-indexed Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies and/or Hungarian Cultural Studies, and in a peer-reviewed volume of essays to be published by an international publisher (currently under negotiation).


Contact details

Contact information: for inquiries and further information, please contact Balázs Venkovits – Associate Professor, Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen (

(Posted 7 September 2023)