24th Annual International Conference of The English Department, Literature and Cultural Studies Section: Humour and Pathos in Literature and the Arts
University of Bucharest (Romania), 9-11 June 2023
Deadline for proposals: 10 April 2023
The English Department of the University of Bucharest (Romania) invites proposals for the Literature and Cultural Studies section of its 24th Annual International Conference:
Humour and Pathos in Literature and the Arts
In memoriam Mihaela Irimia, Irina Pană and Octavian Roske
To be held in hybrid format at
The University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, 7-13 Pitar Moș St., Bucharest, Romania
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
- Professor Annie Gagiano (Stellenbosch University)
- Professor Flavio Gregori (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice)
- Professor Valentina Sandu-Dediu (National University of Music, Bucharest and New Europe College)
- Professor Bogdan Ștefănescu (University of Bucharest)
- Professor Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)
Humour and pathos have been essential elements of literature and the arts – and of life – from ancient times to the twenty-first century and they pose many fascinating questions for literary and cultural criticism, theory and practice and for a range of related fields of intellectual inquiry such as aesthetics, anthropology, musicology, philosophy, psychology and sociology. They present an especially intriguing challenge to intellectual analysis because they are bound up with fundamental human emotions and the physical expression of these through laughter and tears and their impact on readers and audiences is greatest when they are immediately and intuitively understood – when we “get the joke” laugh or grasp at once at the pity of a particular situation and feel moved to tears. This intrinsic connection with physiological manifestations is reflected by the etymology of the two terms. Humour comes from the Latin humor (moisture) and the original meaning was bodily fluid, which led to its being used for the cardinal humours and subsequently for mood and whim. On the other hand, pathos was the Greek word for suffering and the word passion, derived from its Latin counterpart, came to be associated with Christ’s crucifixion and His bleeding wounds. But as pain and pleasure are sometimes so close to each other, passion came to denote a form of excessive love.
The emotional, immediate and intuitive aspects of humour and pathos, however, mean that the attempt to analyse them can seem to diminish, dissipate and even destroy their impact and essence – explaining a joke or a scene of pathos may reduce or remove its capacity to produce amusement or pity. What language and concepts can we find or formulate that will enable us to write and speak of humour and pathos in the arts in ways that adequately encompass both their experiential quality and their intellectual significance?
Through the ages, many writers and thinkers have addressed these and related questions: key examples include Aristotle in Rhetoric [ῥητορική], which sees pathos [πάθοςas] as a means of persuasion that uses language to arouse emotion (and, in Plato’s view, is therefore suspect); the Earl of Shaftesbury’s Sensus Communis: An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour (1709); Ben Jonson in his comedies Every Man in His Humour (1598) and Every Man out of His Humour (1600), which play on the sense of “humour” as an inclination to behave in a certain way that produces “humour” in the sense of amusement; Alexander Pope’s prose piece “Peri Bathous or The Art of Sinking in Poetry” (1928), which introduces the term “bathos” (meaning a failed attempt at pathos) into the English language; Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872); Henri Bergson’s Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic [Le Rire. Essai sur la signification du comique] (1900); Sigmund Freud’s Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious [Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten] (1905); and Trevor Griffith’s play Comedians (first performed 1975), which, set in an evening class for would-be comedians, dramatises issues around the nature, ethics and politics of humour. There is also a vast swathe of literary criticism that examines humour and pathos in specific writers and texts, perhaps most extensively in relation to Charles Dickens, who makes copious use of both elements in his novels and short stories in ways that have attracted a host of readers but troubled some literary critics who feel that they detract from the stature of serious literature.
The challenging questions raised by the theme of humour and pathos in the arts include: What makes us laugh and cry? What is going on (cognitively, emotionally, physically, semiotically) when we do either or both? What is the relationship between humour and the genre of comedy, and pathos and the genre of tragedy? What is the relationship between humour and satire (a satire aims to be humorous, but not all humour is satire)? How does humour work in comic subgenres such as “low comedy” (a term coined by the seventeenth-century English poet and playwright John Dryden), black comedy (which jokes about serious matters and is akin to the “sick joke” and dark comedy (a term developed by Shakespeare critics for plays such as Measure for Measure, which come dangerously close to full-blown tragedy). How does humour work in popular modes like burlesque, farce, musical comedy and vaudeville? How does pathos work in popular genres such as melodrama and romantic comedy? What distinctions might there be between humour and wit? How culturally and temporally specific are humour and pathos (a joke or scene that may make one kind of audience laugh and cry may fall flat with another, or indeed with the same audience at different times). How far can humour or pathos be conveyed through translation (one of the texts mentioned above, Freud’s Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious presents particular difficulties in translating the jokes it uses as examples, especially those that depend on wordplay)? What happens when attempts at humour and pathos inadvertently go wrong (a joke falls flat or results in a blunder, a scene of pathos seems funny, resulting in what Alexander Pope dubbed “bathos”)? What is the dividing line between pathos and bathos? What are the boundaries to humour and pathos at any given time (for example, some jokes that might once have been acceptable and amusing would now seem racist or sexist, such as the line in Noel Coward’s romantic comedy Private Lives: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs”, which might once have been thought witty but would now seem to make light of patriarchal violence; scenes that provoked tears in one generation may provoke laughter in another generation, as in the observation on Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop attributed to Oscar Wilde: “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing”). Why have the adjectives “pathetic” and “sentimental”, which originally had positive connotations connected with pathos and sympathy, acquired such derogatory meanings?
We invite papers that explore examples of humour and pathos in literature and the arts from the present or past and from across the world, whether in verbal, aural, visual or hybrid forms – for example, poetry, fiction, drama, music, opera, song, painting, sculpture, photography, film, dance, comics, graphic novels and multimedia work. Papers may focus upon individual works or bodies of work by one or more writers or artists and may also consider broader and more abstract issues around conceptualising, defining and theorising humour and pathos, drawing where appropriate on other disciplines that seem relevant and illuminating.
Possible topics may include (but are not confined to) the following:
- Humour and pathos as means of artistic expression in literature and the arts
- Humour and comedy
- Pathos and tragedy
- Humour as relief in tragedy
- Pathos and parody and caricature
- Humour and satire
- Humour, pathos and catharsis
- Humour and pathos seen from a historical perspective
- “Pathetic” as a positive and pejorative adjective
- “Sentimental” as a positive and pejorative adjective
- The boundaries of humour
- Humour, pathos and ethics
- Humour, pathos and aesthetics
- Humour and wit
- Humour as strategy of survival
- Humour and comedy as vehicles of social criticism and catalysits of social change
- Women’s humour versus feminist humour
- Humour and gender
- Humour in relation to culture, society and historical period
- The double-edged sword of humour as healer and/or destroyer
Conference presentations should be in English and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 200 words. Proposals should be in .doc or .docx format and should also include (within the same document) name and institutional affiliation, a short bio (no more than 100 words) and e-mail address. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organised by the participant) will also be considered.
A selection of papers from the conference will be published in University of Bucharest Review (ISSN 2069–8658) – listed on ERIH PLUS, Scopus, EBSCO (Literary Reference Centre Plus), CEEOL and Ulrichsweb. See the guidelines for contributors at https://ubr.rev.unibuc.ro/.
Deadline for proposals: 10 April 2023
Please send proposals through this form: https://bit.ly/3IZfOQJ
Enquiries may be sent to our email address: email@example.com
Conference fee: 50 euro (or 250 lei if paid in Romanian currency) to be paid by bank transfer into the account of the Alumni association (IBAN TBA) by 15 May 2023
For further details and updates, see: https://engleza.lls.unibuc.ro/conferinte/
(Enquiries regarding the Theoretical and Applied Linguistics section of the conference, which will be running at the same time, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Organising and Selection Committee:
- Dr Alina Bottez
- Dr Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru
- Dr Eliana Ionoaia
- Dr Dragoș Manea
- Dr Andrei Nae
- Dr Andreea Paris-Popa
- Dr Oana-Alis Zaharia
- Dr Nazmi Ağıl (Koç University, Istanbul)
- Prof. Bart Eeckhout (University of Antwerp)
- Prof. José Manuel Estévez-Saá (University of A Coruña)
- Dr Felicity Hand (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
- Prof. Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow)
- Prof. Thomas Leitch (University of Delaware)
- Dr Chris Louttit (Radboud University, Nijmegen)
- Prof. Domnica Rădulescu (Washington and Lee University, Lexington)
- Prof. Kerstin Shands (Södertörn University)
- Prof. Nicolas Tredell (University of Sussex)
(Posted 9 February 2023)
Contemporary British Poetry in the Long 1980s: From Deregulation to Self Regulation
Sorbonne Université, Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC), 15-16 June 2023
Extended deadline: 15 November 2022
Event organised by
- Bastien Goursaud, Université Paris-Est Créteil
- Elise Brault-Dreux, Université Polytechnique des Hauts de France • Claire Hélie, Université de Lille
- Juliette Utard, Sorbonne Université
- International conference
- Two keynote speakers
- Poetry reading sessions
Website and CFP
(Posted 9 Sept. 2022. Updated 27 October 2022)
16th annual Norwegian Forum for English for Academic Purposes summer conference: EAP and Time
Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), Oslo, Norway, 15-16 June 2023
Deadline for abstracts: 15 February 2023
NFEAP this year is about the relationship between EAP and time. Time – the amount of it, the quality of it, conceptions of it – is everywhere in learning support, language education and writing development, but rarely comes into focus. Is it a paradox, for example, that we consider writing development a lifelong process but often expect students to master the essentials of writing in a matter of weeks? In contrast, might there be things that are better taught quickly than slowly? In what time does learning take place? What are the relationships between psychological time and institutional time?
We welcome work that is conceptual (e.g. EAP and cultural memory, the politics of time in higher education) and practical (e.g. the supposed linearity of the writing process, the timing of interventions, transfer of learning). We invite work that considers time in relation to EAP concepts; EAP training methods, principles, practices and research; needs analysis, syllabus and materials design, teaching strategies and methodological issues; group/interdisciplinary teaching; critical EAP; learning technologies; academic identities; academic literacies; any other relevant topics.
- Bronwyn T. Williams, University of Louisville, USA
- Alke Groppel-Wegener, Staffordshire University, UK
Please submit your proposal using this link. The standard length for presentations is 30 minutes (20 minutes for presentation, plus 10 minutes for discussion). You will be notified of the outcome of the review process by April 1st 2023.
Ann Torday Gulden Scholarship
Ann Torday Gulden has been, for many years, a tireless and vital advocate for EAP in Norway, and this scholarship is named in her honour. This annual scholarship contributes up to 5000 NOK to the expenses of an EAP teacher or researcher to come to the conference and present their work. We seek to support work that is distinctive and original and that exemplifies innovative approaches to EAP theory and practice. It is open to all, but we particularly encourage graduate students and early career researchers to apply – please check the box in the submissions form if you would like to be considered for the scholarship.
The 2200 NOK conference registration fee includes refreshments and lunch for both days of the conference and the conference dinner on Thursday evening.
Please note that the NFEAP is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to assist with conference travel or subsistence.
- Deadline for abstracts: 15 February 2023
- Registration opens: mid-March 2023
- Notification of acceptance: 1 April 2023
- Conference programme available: mid-April 2023
- Deadline for registration: 20 May 2023
- NFEAP conference 2023: 15th-16th June 2023
(Posted 28 January 2023)
Un/Building the Future: The Country and The City in the Anthropocene
University of Warwick, UK, 15 & 16 June 2023
Abstract submissions: 20 February 2023.
The climate crisis is inextricably bound up with the divide between the country and the city. It is no accident that the burning of fossil fuels and the urbanisation of the world have advanced in lockstep in recent centuries, while the demands of agribusiness, especially livestock farming, have simultaneously displaced sustainable farming practices and contributed to the emission of greenhouse gasses. The imagination of climate futures is also shaped by the shifting contours of the urban and the rural. Whether it be visions of flooded cities or scorched forests, the future seems to hold destruction for both the city and the country.
Just as the climate crisis has disturbed some of the other dualisms of the modern world (human/nonhuman, nature/culture, and so on), the dichotomy between the city and the country also seems to be increasingly precarious. One thinks of climate fiction imaginaries of abandoned cities being slowly rewilded or experiments in new modes of living (like urban community gardening) that introduce the rustic into the town. Moreover, the conventional connotations of the urban and rural are coming under strain in the Anthropocene; it appears that neither the modernity associated with the city nor the tradition of the countryside will survive the encounter with the wild weather of the future unscathed.
Our interdisciplinary conference, Un/Building the Future: The Country and the City in the Anthropocene, will explore the co-constitution of the urban and rural in the face of the Anthropocene. Raymond Williams’s iconic The Country and the City (1973), which our title alludes to, scrutinised how the emergence of capitalism in the nineteenth century capsized ingrained narratives of urban and rural life. Un/Building the Future is concerned with whether the shifting environmental contours of the twenty-first century are having a similarly radical effect.
We are interested in contributions that examine how the unfolding environmental catastrophe is disturbing and reforming the symbolisations of the country and city, producing new locales, both real and imaginary, that are not quite contained by our traditional spatial horizons. How are the categories of the country and the city morphed by the ecological crisis? What does thinking these concepts together help us to understand about current climate trajectories? Are these ideas of the urban and the rural even viable, or must they be radically rethought? How are the spatial imaginaries of the Anthropocene approached from different perspectives in the field, whether that be feminist, queer, anti-racist, decolonial, Marxist or posthumanist?
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- Post-apocalyptic spaces
- Climate resilience
- The rural and the (neo)pastoral
- Suburbia and suburban futures
- The future city; eco- and/or smart-cities
- Multispecies design, including urban design and wildlife corridors
- Cultural representations of un/built futures, including in climate fiction, science fiction/speculative fiction, solarpunk, Afro- and African futurism, Indigenous futurism, Chicano futurism, etc. in any media (novel, short story, graphic novels, podcasts, videogames, fanfiction, fine art, etc.)
- Gender and sexuality, race, dis/ability, class, and/or national identity and the un/built environment
- Un/built environments in utopias and dystopias, including ecodystopias • Green transitions/transformations
- Collapse and breakdown
Please submit an abstract for a 15-minute in-person paper (up to 300 words), which will be followed by 5 min Q&A, and a short bio (up to 150 words) using our application form by 20 February 2023 to email@example.com. This event is open to participants from all disciplines whose research engages with the themes of the conference. There is no conference fee for this event. If you would like to discuss your proposal or you would like to submit work in another form (e.g. art, music, film), please get in contact.
For more information, please see https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/calendar/event/ We very much look forward to receiving your submissions!
Conference Convening Team
- Dr Emrah Atasoy
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Dept. of English and Comparative Literary Studies & IAS University of Warwick
- Nora Castle
Early Career Fellow, Dept. of English and Comparative Literary Studies & IAS University of Warwick
- Dr Joe Davidson
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Dept. of Sociology
University of Warwick
(Posted 8 December 2022)
Colonising and Decolonising the Irish Nineteenth Century
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 22-23 June 2023
Deadline for abstracts: 1 March 2023
Colonising and Decolonising the Irish Nineteenth Century
SSNCI Conference 2023
Research Institute for Cultural and Historical Studies (RICH)
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
22-23 June 2023
Though it had been part of the United Kingdom since 1801, Ireland’s position within the British Empire during the long nineteenth century was complicated. The Irish were a colonial people, yet in many ways they also contributed to the expansion and administration of the British Empire. Moreover, Irish emigration, particularly to the United States, raised the issue of Irish ‘whiteness’, but also saw many Irish endorse chattel slavery in the southern United States and contribute to the removal of the Native population in the US south and west. And as colonised or colonising subjects, or indeed both, many Irish writers, artists, and policy makers at home and abroad imagined and reimagined the country’s position within the British Empire and beyond.
In recent years, the legacies of (Western) colonialism have received increased – and necessary – scrutiny in both the academic and public spheres. This has led to initiatives such as Rhodes Must Fall, which quickly became a global phenomenon, and efforts to decolonise academic curricula and scholarship. It also sparked renewed attention to issues concerning problematic heritage, such as the statue of John Mitchel in Newry, and the presence of colonial art and artefacts in Western museum collections. While the question of whether or not Ireland was a colony has occupied scholars for several decades (see for instance work by Stephen Howe, Joe Cleary, and David Lloyd), in recent years Irish Studies has also started to become more self-reflective with regard to the complicated question of Irish complicity in colonial and racist systems and the ongoing ramifications of this in education and research – issues discussed, for instance, in a recent roundtable in Irish Historical Studies (2021).
This conference seeks to consider Ireland’s and the Irish diaspora’s position in relation to colonisation and imperialism during the long nineteenth century, as well as the reverberations and reconsiderations of this past in recent and ongoing scholarship and education. We are particularly interested in papers on the following topics, but would of course also welcome papers on related themes not mentioned here, from many disciplinary perspectives.
- The Irish and the British empire
- The Irish and settler colonialism
- Decolonising the curriculum and the museum
- ‘Irish whiteness’, racism and colonialism
- Ireland, Irish North-America and issues of slavery
- “Was Ireland a colony?”
- Anti-imperialism/ anti-colonialism
- Educational systems and colonialism
- Colonialism, the visual arts and literature
- Comparative colonial networks: Britain-Ireland and beyond
- Religion and the ‘religious empire’
- Colonial and imperial institutions
- Ireland, cartography and empire
- Revisionism and the colonial question
- Representations of the Empire and the imperial other
- Comparative perspectives on colonialism: Ireland and beyond
- Immigrants from British colonies to Ireland
- Land and language
Abstracts of 250 words for 20-minute papers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 March 2023. Please also include a 50-word biographical note. We also welcome proposals for panels of no more than 3 papers.
Confirmed keynote speakers
- Dr Shahmima Akhtar (Royal Holloway, University of London)
- Dr Timothy McMahon (Marquette University)
- Dr Sarah Roddy (Maynooth University)
- Cauvery Madhavan, novelist
- Prof Dr Marguérite Corporaal
- Dr Giulia Bruna
- Dr Chris Cusack
- Dr Lindsay Janssen
- Sophie van Os MA
(Posted 2 February 2023)
Strange Atmospheres: The Seventh International Flann O’Brien Conference
Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 27–30 June 2023
Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2023
The Department of English at Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj, with the International Flann O’Brien Society
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
- Joseph Brooker (Birkbeck College, University of London)
- Flore Coulouma (Université Paris Nanterre)
- Paul Fagan (Maynooth University)
- Heather Laird (University College Cork)
Since the first, centenary Vienna conference in 2011, this critical conversation has expanded and diversified, turning to the archive, to recontextualizing and rehistoricizing approaches, addressing the aesthetic, political and ethical dimensions of O’Nolan’s/Flann’s/Myles’ experimental texts, as well as their interfaces with questions of agency and authorship, technology and the material world, cultural memory, medicine and epidemiology. During the last decade numerous landmark volumes were added to the corpus available to O’Nolan’s readers—from the short fiction (edited by Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper), to the plays and teleplays (edited by Daniel Keith Jernigan), and, more recently, the Collected Letters (edited by Maebh Long). Reflecting the rapid growth of Flann O’Brien studies, The Parish Review, the first scholarly journal dedicated to this writer’s work, has published articles and special issues on a wide range of topics, including archival studies of O’Nolan’s library, the textual and publishing history of O’Nolan’s journalism, the writer’s fraught relationship with the civil service, as well as O’Nolan’s afterlives in translation, adaptation, and the culture industry. In line with its open-access policy, the journal is hosted by the Open Library of Humanities.
The conference title, ‘Strange Atmospheres,’ foregrounds a concept that sits uneasily on the semantic boundary between environment, embodied space, and mood. Often bending to the fantastic, the uncanny, the fake and unconvincing, O’Brien’s style is itself characterised by a constant apprehension of the ways in which the atmospheric and the literary fertilise each other. The symposium will provide the occasion to reflect more fully on these aspects of his work.
The conference organisers invite proposals for 20 minute presentations on any topic relevant to the symposium theme. Special consideration will be given to the following topics in Flann O’Brien studies:
- Reflections on atmosphere as setting and atmosphere as mood
- Pathetic fallacy and the correspondences between space, place and feeling
- Ecocritical approaches
- Radio transmissions and wireless communication
- Ideas of extended agency and extended subjectivity
- Politicised environments
- Localised and universal spaces
- Gothic spaces, horror and the uncanny
- Life without borders
- Apocalyptic overtones
- Ghost cities
- Social, professional and urban spaces
- Literary discourse and the weather
- Modernist environments and ecological thought
- Non-humans and posthumans in O’Nolan’s fiction
Please send abstracts and a short bionote to the organisers at email@example.com by January 31st, 2023. Proposals will be read and evaluated by February 15th, 2023. The time of delivery for each paper should not exceed 20 minutes. Selected talks will be published in a special issue of The Parish Review: Journal of Flann O’Brien Studies (open-access at the Open Library of Humanities).
(Posted 21 January 2023)
31st Conference of the Polish Association for the Study of English. Communicative 3Ms: Modes, Mediums, Modalities
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, 30th June – 2nd July 2023
Paper proposals until 31 March 2023
Event organised by
PASE, Department of the English Language and Department of English-Language Literatures and Cultures, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
In contemporary humanities, the intersections of insights into modes, mediums, and modalities have stimulated scholars to create new approaches or to invigorate the time-established ways of research into communicative and textual practices that have so far dominated. Following our firm belief that within each theoretical discipline there are ample conceptualizations still to be discovered, we invite scholars from the fields of language, translation, culture, literature, media, and methodology of FLT to contribute papers within this thematic area, including topics inspired by, but by no means limited to, the following topics:
- 3Ms of metaphor, allegory, symbol
- verbal and non-verbal communication and representation
- mono-modal and multi-modal texts: films, graphic narratives, computer games, etc.
- translation, interpreting, interpretation
- modes of cultural relations: post-truth reality, distribution of power, and social relations
- environmental and/or urban modalities
- aesthetics and politics of possible/fictional worlds
- multi-modalities in literature
- genre hybridity and its modalities
- textual dynamics of character, voice, and perspective
- readers, viewers, fandoms – patterns of engagement
- affect, mind, emotion
- modalities of classroom communication
- varied mediums and teaching dynamics
- affordances, limitations, challenges of 3Ms
(Posted 10 November 2022)