Calls for papers for conferences taking place in July 2025

ESRA 2025 (European Shakespeare Research Association conference): “Shakespeare and Time: the retrieved pasts, the envisaged futures”.
Location and dates: Universidade do Porto, 9–12 July 2025.
Deadline for Panel, Roundtable and Seminar Proposals: 3 June 2024.

Venue: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto / Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Univ. Porto


Rui Carvalho Homem and Fátima Vieira (convenors)
Miguel Ramalhete Gomes
Nuno Ribeiro
Jorge Almeida e Pinho
Márcia Lemos

Confirmed Guest Speakers

Michael Dobson (Shakespeare Institute, U. of Birmingham)
Evelyn Gajowski (U. of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Shaul Bassi (U. Ca’ Foscari Venezia)
Boika Sokolova (U. of Notre Dame, England) and Kirilka Stavreva (Cornell College)


ESRA 2025 will explore temporality from a variety of angles. Stimulated by Aleida Assman’s description of the “time regime of sustainability”, in which the future “is no longer the opposite of the past but intimately linked to something in the past, which is to be ensured for the future”, this conference will be devoted to discussing that which, though it may please some, tries all, as its personification in The Winter’s Tale announces a little after the middle of the play. Its power “To o’erthrow law”, as well as “To plant and o’erwhelm custom”, makes us ask questions about temporality in Shakespeare: the different times and velocities of the plays and poems, either precisely delineated or vaguely hinted at; the roles, shapes, and valences of the past, between rehearsals of lineage and revivals of Antiquity; time viewed through history and competing historiographies (from chronicle, political history, and antiquarianism to dramatic or poetic histories); time as bringer of ruinous or welcome change, through contingency or necessity, to be resisted in tombs of brass or poetic monuments; and the shaping and political uses also of the future, from prophecy to utopian / dystopian scenarios.

Because this conference is as much about Shakespeare’s Europe as it is about Europe’s Shakespeare(s), it is equally interested in the temporality of afterlives, manifold receptions, and preposterous temporal inversions. Considering the historical engagement with these complex and superimposed temporalities, ESRA 2025 invites investigation into the politics of time, forms of nostalgia and of the regressive imagination, cultures of memory and commemoration, the competing or concerted pulls of historicist and presentist approaches, among other ways of thinking about queer temporalities, natural and human time, anachronism, and even atemporality.

For more details, visit ESRA’s website ( or contact the organisers at

Website address

Contact details

For further details, see the original CFP below.

(Posted 6 May 2024)

18th International Connotations Symposium: Comedy and its Borders.
Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). 29-31 July 2025.
Deadline for submissions: 31 October 2024.

In Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, “these ladies’ courtesy / Might well have made our sport a comedy”, but the standard happy ending is prevented – or delayed – by the death of the King of France. Berowne, the speaker of the lines just quoted, is told to visit the sick and the dying for one year and to entertain them with his jests, a task that he thinks is impossible to accomplish: “Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.” With the unusual ending of Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare tests — and stretches — the limits of comedy. So does his contemporary Ben Jonson. In the preface to Volpone, he admits that the ending of his play “may, in the strict rigour of comic law, meet with censure”, but he defends the harsh punishment meted out to the characters as still falling within the confines of comedy. More than a century later, Richard Steele pushes the limits of the genre in a completely different direction, towards the sympathetic and the sentimental, arguing that tears and “a joy too exquisite for laughter” are legitimate audience responses to a comedy. 

While Shakespeare, Jonson and Steele extend the borders of the genre, other writers wish to redraw them in a more restrictive fashion. In the preface to The Way of the World, William Congreve complains that the “Characters which are meant to be ridiculous in most of our Comedies, are of Fools so gross, that […] instead of moving our Mirth, they ought to excite our Compassion”; in other words, he excludes farce from comedy. Henry Fielding similarly distinguishes laughing at “Ugliness, Infirmity, or Poverty”, which he considers ill-natured, from laughing at affectation, which he considers legitimate. He thus draws on Hobbes’s theory of laughter but adds a moral dimension to it. Laughter is no longer a mere expression of a superiority; it is the expression of a superiority that is morally justified. 

The examples show that playwrights may explore the borders of comedy in the plays themselves, as Shakespeare does in Love’s Labour’s Lost, or in theoretical paratexts, as the other writers do. The examples also show that comedy has many borders and that the adjacent genres or modes are of different kinds: the tragic, the serious, the sentimental, the farcical, the grotesque, the absurd, the cringy, etc. Moreover, the historical dimension of the subject plays a crucial part. The borders between comedy and tragedy or between comedy and farce are drawn differently at different times. In the twentieth century, for instance, writers appear to be particularly keen to extend comedy in the direction of farce; Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw are cases in point. 

The emphasis of the conference will be on the borders of dramatic comedy but proposals on other comic genres (the comic novel or essay, the epigram, nonsense poetry, etc.) will be considered as well.

Please send an abstract (300 words max.) to the editors of Connotations by October 31,


For further details, see the original CFP below.

(Posted 3 May 2024)