Calls for papers for conferences taking place in May 2023

The Pragmatics of Cringe Humor on the Screen and on Digital Media
University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France. 4-5 May 2023
Extended deadline for submissions: December 20, 2022

CfP: “The Pragmatics of Cringe Humor on the Screen and on Digital Media”
Venue: Auditorium St Charles 2, University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France
Date: 4-5 May 2023
Research labs: EMMA, Études Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone, University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3; Centre Interlangues, Texte Image Langage, University of Burgundy
Conveners: Dr. Lynn Blin, Dr. Virginie Iché & Dr. Célia Schneebeli
Keynote speakers: Pr. Marta Dynel (Łódź University, Poland and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania), Pr. Alexander Brock (Martin-Luther Universität Halle Wittenberg, Germany), Pr. Salvatore Attardo (Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA)
Website: https://cringe

The Pragmatics of Cringe Humor on the Screen and on Digital Media


This conference intends to examine the pragmatics of cringe humor in the English language on the screen (in sitcoms, TV series, filmed stand-up comedies, films etc.) and on digital media (in audiovisual, textual or multimodal forms). “Cringe humor” should not be taken as yet another coinage to be added to the long list of terms already used to account for humorous phenomena (as Attardo puts it (2020, 8), “there is no reason to coin a new term if there is a perfectly good one already”). Indeed, Schwind uses the expression “embarrassment humor” (2015) and Schwanebeck, in his introduction to his special issue devoted to painful laughter (2021), refers to the expression “cringe humor” along with Moore’s “comedy of discomfort” (2007). However, the widespread use of “cringe humor” since the success of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s BBC mockumentary sitcom, The Office (BBC Two, 2001-2002) as well as of the hashtag #cringe on digital media pleads for retaining this term over others. “Cringe humor” points to the specific embodied reactions to cringeworthy/humorous contents found both on the screen and on digital media, i.e., “an involuntary inward shiver of embarrassment, awkwardness, disgust” (OED), “shudder and discomfort” (Schwind 2015, 67), “psychic unease” or “physical pain” (Duncan 2017, 37), and even “intense visceral reaction” (Dahl 2018, 19).

Cringe humor has originally been associated with the small screen (the best known examples being The Office BBC Two, 2001-2003; The Office NBC, 2005-2013; I’m Alan Partridge BBC Two, 1997-2022; South Park Comedy Central, 1997-; Da Ali G Show Channel 4, 2000; Curb Your Enthusiasm HBO, 2000-; Louie FX, 2000-2015; Nighty-Night BBC Three, 2004-2005; Crazy Ex-Girlfriend The CW, 2015-2019; Haters Back Off Netflix, 2016-2017…) and stand-up comedies (with stand-up comedians such as Louis CK, Dave Chappelle, Lisa Lampanelli, Margaret Cho, Hannah Gadsby). These sitcoms, TV series and filmed stand-up comedies (and others) can all be analyzed through the lens of cringe humor because of their sensitive subject matter (sex, sex orientation, gender, race, disability, aging, mental health, death, …), their form (in particular, their repeated use of silence, pauses, the absence of laugh track, the use of extreme close-up shots, the direct addresses to the audience whether on screen or beyond the screen…) and/or the type of awkward relationship created with the viewers, often based on “differentials in perception and affect among filmmaker, subject, and spectator” (Middleton 2014, 26).

Cringe humor seems to be less typically associated with the big screen, but many documentaries have been said to have taken “the awkward turn” (Middleton, 2014)—Rob Reiner’s 1984 This is Spinal Tap, Michael Moore’s 1989 Roger and Me, Larry Charles’s 2006 Borat being three examples of such cringey mockumentaries)—and movies (in particular black comedies) do include what Schwanebeck calls “cringe elements” (2021)—Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Dr. Strangelove, Todd Solondz’s 1998 Happiness, Jason Reitman’s 2005 Thank You for Smoking, the Coen brothers’ 2008 Burn After Reading and Roman Polanski’s 2011 Carnage specifically coming to mind.

Cringe humor seems to have expanded into various directions on the Internet and social media, where a multitude of cringeworthy but humorous content can be found:

  • YouTube channels such as Miranda Sings, the cringe-inducing alter-ego of actress Colleen Ballinger, or multiple channels specializing in reaction videos, pranks and FAIL videos,
  • Twitter accounts such as “cringe worthy tweets”, “images that are unbelievably cringe”, or more simply Twitter posts which bear the hashtag #cringe,
  • blogs and micro-blogs (for instance Tumblr blogs or more specialized blogs such as Awkward Family Photos, People of Walmart) that collect pictures presented simultaneously as funny and cringeworthy,
  • humorous content websites (Cheezburger, Bored Panda, Buzzfeed) that list “awkward moments” in life and embarrassing anecdotes or ideas that people share with their community of viewers for the sake of entertainment,
  • satire and parody websites (such as The Onion) where cringe humor borders on black humor and / or the politically incorrect,
  • “RoastMe” subreddit, where users post selfies for other users to “humorously mock or humiliate” them with a “well-timed joke, diss or comeback” (as defined in the “about” section of RoastMe).

The conference is predicated on the idea that two levels of communication (at least) need to be taken into account when one analyzes discourse mediated on the screen or computer-mediated discourse, and that cringe humor may pervade all these interactional levels. Film discourse relies both on the “inter-character/characters’ (communicative) level” and the “recipient’s (communicative) level, on which meanings are communicated to the viewer” (Dynel 2011, 49). Brock terms these levels Communicative Level 2 (the level of the characters’ communication) and Communicative Level 1 (the level of the collective sender’s communication with the viewer) to emphasize the primacy of CL1 over CL2 in terms of what he calls “real level of communication” (2015, 30). Thus, film discourse can comprise interactions that some characters deem cringeworthy and humorous and/or communicate in a cringeworthy/humorous way with the viewers.

Computer-mediated communication may involve more communicative levels, with, notably, YouTube videos including the additional level of comments (Dynel 2014, 50), on which third parties may interact in a cringeworthy/humorous way with the speaker and other parties regarding the cringeworthy/humorous content posted. Blogs, micro-blogs and content websites sometimes involve initial interactions between two or more speakers, which are later discussed in the comment section, to emphasize their humorous side, to reject them as too cringey or to exchange jibes with other Internet users—playfully “roasting” them but sometimes going as far as “burning them” (Dynel 2020).

Cringe humor relies on a delicate balance between the negatively connoted “cringe” and the positively connoted “humor”. What does it take then to turn cringe into humor and make the awkward become funny or vice versa? According to the Incongruity-Resolution model of humor (Suls 1972, 1983, Shultz 1972), humorousness relies upon unexpected associations that go against “our normal mental patterns and expectations” (Hye-Knudsen 2018: 15). What is more, according to the Benign Violation theory (Warren and McGraw 2015), which builds upon the incongruity theory, the violation of our expectations that is necessary for humor “must have a negative valence instead of simply departing incongruously from one’s expectations or mental patterns, hence why slipping on a banana peel is often considered humorous while winning the lottery is not.” (Hye-Knudsen, 2018: 15). However, most violations do not make people laugh. The Benign Violation theory holds that to remain humorous, those violations have to remain benign, which is why they stop being funny if they are too threatening, too aggressive, or too serious. Yet, if they are too benign, do they still make people cringe? One of the goals of the conference will therefore be to determine when cringe humor fails or succeeds and to identify the “felicity conditions” for cringe humor on the screen and on digital media (pauses, intonation, facial expressions, illocutionary force markers online such as emoji, emoticons, GIFs…)—and whether these (or some of these) felicity conditions hold for both media or are media-specific.

The conference will also address the issue of the politeness of cringe humor in English (or lack thereof) on the screen and on digital media. Humor has been interpreted as one of the strategies of politeness, speakers engaging in humorous interactions claiming common ground, which can be seen as a form of positive politeness (Brown and Levinson 1987, 103-104; Attardo 2020, 274). However, cringe humor seems to complicate and potentially destabilize interactions at all communicative levels. If cringe humor is meant to “enhance the rapport” with the other speaker and/or the audience (see Spencer-Oatey 2000, 2005 on “rapport-management”), how can we account for its physical manifestations? If, alternatively, cringe humor unintentionally or deliberately aggravates the rapport with the other speaker/the audience, how can we account for its success? Is cringe humor meant to create “an in-group perception for the speaker and the addressee(s)” or “an out-group division between the speaker and (some members of) the audience” (Attardo 2020, 277)? In other words, what (mis)alignment between the speaker and the addressee(s) is involved in cringeworthy and humorous content, and to what effect? Are addressee(s) expected to empathize with the target of cringe humor (and bond with them—in keeping with what Billig after Goffman (2001, 27) calls the ‘nice-guy’ theory of embarrassment) or sneer at them (and distance themselves from them as highlighted by Kanzler) or both? Do addressee(s) tend to approve or disapprove of the speaker’s use of cringe humor on CL1, and for what reason(s)? Do they feel cringe humor is meant to reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes or denounce and satirize them (Tsakona 2017)? Can there be, therefore, such a thing as an ethics of cringe humor?

The following topics and questions may be approached, the list not being exhaustive:

  • cringe humor vs. failed humor (Bell 2015): the felicity conditions of cringe humor in English language on the screen and on digital media,
  • the discrepancy between the presence of cringe humor between characters (CL2) vs. the lack of cringe humor on the recipient’s level (CL1) or vice versa,
  • the cumulated effect of the presence of cringe humor on both CL2 and CL1,
  • the dissemination of cringe humor from the initial post on digital media to the comment section and its pragmatic effects on the various speakers involved,
  • the (im)politeness and ethics of cringe humor on the screen and on digital media—whether on CL2 or CL1, or both,
  • the distancing/bonding effect of cringe humor; cringe humor and empathy,
  • comparative approaches: cringe humor on the big screen/small screen vs. computer-mediated cringe humor,
  • multimodal approaches to cringe humor,
  • diachronic approaches to cringe humor: is present-day cringe humor more rapport-aggravating or rapport-enhancing?
  • the impact of the mode of diffusion (cinema, TV screen, VOD, streaming sites, website, social media) on the type of cringe humor and/or the reaction of the addressee(s),
  • the reception of cringe humor: generational / gendered / sociocultural / historical perspectives.

Deadline for submission: November 20, 2022
Extended deadline for submission: December 20, 2022
Notification of acceptance: January 10, 2023
Proposals of around 400 words (along with a short bio-bibliographical notice, no longer than 100 words) to be sent to

Language of the conference: English

A selection of papers will be considered for publication after double-blind peer-review.

Registration fees: 50 euros (30 euros for PhD candidates)


(Updated 24 November 2022)

Teaching the specialised languages and cultures of the humanities and social sciences in higher education
Toulouse, France. May 11-12, 2023
Deadline for proposals: September 30, 2022

This international conference will take place on May 11-12, 2023, on the Toulouse Jean Jaurès campus, and opens an interdisciplinary and multilingual reflection on teaching specialised languages and cultures to students majoring in the various fields of the social sciences and the humanities, offering a space for different specialities and sensibilities to dialogue.

The conference, jointly initiated by Toulouse’s three universities of Jean Jaurès (UT2J), Capitole (UTC) and Paul Sabatier (UPS) and organised by UT2J’s research laboratories LLA-Créatis, CREG, CAS and EFTS, aims to engage in a common interdisciplinary and multilingual reflection on the teaching of languages to college and university students majoring in the various fields of social sciences and the humanities in higher education1 comprising the arts, literature, history, geography, education sciences, linguistics, psychology, sociology, etc. This conference is building upon and developing the research conducted at Toulouse on speciality languages for humanities by the LLA-Créatis research center for Spanish (two symposiums in 2021 and 2022), and by the CAS research center (two symposiums in 2017 and 2018).

The purpose of this conference is to discuss the teaching of foreign languages in higher education in France and abroad, in conjunction with academic curricula. In France, such teachings may be compulsory or optional, and are designated as “language teaching for non-specialists”, “optional language course”, “foreign language teaching” or are regrouped under the banner of “languages for specific purposes” (Lansad)2. Besides, language instruction can either be thematically congruent with students’ initial study path (such is the case for specialised languages), or remain more general in their content and scope, as with foreign language teaching in secondary schools. Moreover, course titles may not necessarily reflect the nature and content of language teaching in French higher education: the “Lansad sector”, an expression coined by Michel Perrin in 1993, may refer to general or specialised languages. Over the years, the Lansad sector rapidly grew in size and importance; yet it has remained heterogeneous in form and content. Outside of EU initiatives such as the publication of the CEFRL and the European Portfolio for Languages, there has not been any real nationwide and ambitious language teaching policy in higher education (Rivens-Mompean, 2013: 32), even though teaching languages and cultures is a major aspect of higher education in terms of the students’ professionalisation and internationalisation (Van der Yeught, 2014).

The ambition of this conference is to offer a space for research meant to provide guidance on these issues, following what has been done on speciality languages for hard sciences, law or economy, for several languages—English, Spanish, German, French, etc.—and in various cultural contexts. A plurality of approaches and perspectives is what the conference seeks. Papers can focus on all levels—undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, post-doctoral—and on all types of structures—colleges, universities, schools, institutes etc. It will be the occasion to analyse and compare the conceptual approaches, the practices and projects, and the languages policies specific to a given country, trend, or institution. The general aim of the conference is to better grasp the connection between foreign language teaching and curicula in the context of social sciences and humanities. While English can be viewed as the global lingua franca due to its unavoidability in hard sciences, law or economics, it is not necessarily the case in the specialities belonging to the humanities and the social sciences.

The conference welcomes presentations on the epistemological issues generated by specialised languages and cultures in the area of social sciences and humanities (arts, literature, philosophy, languages), on training needs, on teaching practices, on field studies and methodological approaches (e.g. action research, intervention research, creative research, etc.) and also on language policies implemented by the higher education sector worldwide in their quest for a global harmonisation of curricula.

Priority will be given to the following topics:

1- Epistemological considerations: What does the notion of “specialised language” mean in the domains of social sciences and humanities? What are the specificities of those domains and corresponding professional sectors? Is there such a thing as a universal language for academic and research purposes? Are there differences between geographical areas? What is the specificity of languages for academic purposes (FOU, Wissenschaftsdeutsch, Academic English, etc.) for social sciences and humanities? What is the part given to culture in each speciality or language? Are there any degrees in specialisation? What form could they take?

2- Linguistic issues: What speciality languages can correspond to a given field? In what linguistic areas is the specialisation expressed by the professional communities within those fields? What has been done and could be done in terms of research to characterise the linguistic strata that reunite and distinguish those domains? Which methodology should be adopted in field research, data collection and analysis?

3- Pedagogical concerns:

3.1- learners’ needs: what is the added value of specialised languages and cultures for students majoring in humanities or social sciences in terms of education, mobility or employability? How crucial is a given speciality language in the student’s level (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) within a given field? How critical is the proficiency level of the learner in the mastering of the speciality language? What are the needs for specialised language teaching besides English? Can the specialised dimension motivate students in their learning process? What are the minimum language, cultural and intercultural skills for a given speciality? What are the professional know-how and soft skills a given field requires to be mastered?

3.2- teaching contents: what would be the most relevant teaching devices and activities for each field, and for each proficiency levels? How can specialisation manifest itself linguistically, thematically, pragmatically, etc. and to what degree? Where can teaching resources be found? Are there major differences in the availability of resources between languages? How can language and culture be taught together in class while adapting to the targeted professional contexts?

4- Teacher training: how should teachers of specialised languages in arts, humanities and social sciences be specifically trained? Should there be differences in the type of training based on the speciality? Are there variations in teacher training based on the language taught? How do the teaching and research activity of the instructor relate to each other?

5- Political matters: what does the teaching of specialised languages represent for higher education institutions in terms of training offer, attractivity, visibility in a globalised academic sector and in recruitment strategies? What role should the teaching of LSPs play in universities’ language policies? What are the implications of certification for specialised languages? What place does research in specialised language teaching have in universities, when every university’s ambition is supposedly to educate for and through research? What status and role should be given by universities to languages other than English? How can the teaching of specialised languages contribute to the defence of multilingualism in universities?

This international conference expects contributions from all researchers and teachers interested in LSPs in the fields of social sciences and humanities, but also from professional practitioners in the corresponding sectors of activity involved in international projects.

Proposals can be submitted in English, French, Spanish, and German.

300-word proposals, along with a short biography, need to be sent to

by September 30, 2022 at the latest.

Participants will be notified whether their proposal was accepted by the end of October 2022 at the latest.


1. The official French acronym is “ALL-SHS” (Arts-Lettres Langues/Sciences Humaines et Sociales, or “Arts-Literature- Languages/ Social Sciences and Humanities”).

2. Lansad stands as an acronym for “Langues pour spécialistes d’autres disciplines” (lit. “Languages for specialists of other disciplines”) and is often translated as “Languages for Specific Purposes” in English (LSP for short).

(Posted 23 September 2022)

32nd Conference on British and American Studies
Timişoara, Romania, 11-13 May 2023
Deadline for proposals: 15 February 2023

The English Department of the Faculty of Letters, West University of Timişoara, in partnership with The Romanian Society for English and American Studies (RSEAS) and The European Society for the Study of English (ESSE), is pleased to announce its 32nd international conference on British and American Studies, which will be held in hybrid format – both face-to-face and online – on May 11-13, 2023. 

Confirmed plenary speakers: 

  • Prof. Maria Socorro Suárez Lafuente, University of Oviedo
  • Prof. Christian Mair, Freiburg University
  • Dr. Ramunė Kasperė, Kaunas University of Technology
  • Radu Paraschivescu, writer and translator, Romania

Presentations (20 min) and workshops (60 min) are invited in the following sections: 

  • Language Studies  
  • Translation Studies  
  • Semiotics  
  • British and Commonwealth Literature  
  • American Literature  
  • Cultural Studies  
  • Gender Studies  
  • English Language Teaching  

Abstract submission 

Please submit 60-word abstracts, which will be included in the conference programme: 

Deadline: 15 February 2023 

Conference fee

For online participants 

  • The conference registration fee is EUR 25. 
  • For RSEAS members the fee is 100 RON.  

For face-to-face participants

  • The conference registration fee is EUR 125. 
  • For RSEAS members the fee is 350 RON.  

Conference website:  

Event website: 

For additional information, please contact: 


(Posted 10 November 2022)

Recent Approaches to the Posthuman: Cultural Reflections on the (Post-)Human Condition
University of Zaragoza (Spain), May 15-17, 2023.
Extended deadline: January 16, 2023


The conference is organized by the members of the research project “Contemporary North American Fiction and the 4th Industrial Revolution: From Posthumanity to Privation and Social Change” (PID2019-106855GB-I00), which is part of the research group “Contemporary Narrative in English” (H03_20R) at the Department of English and American Studies of the University of Zaragoza, Spain.


This conference seeks to explore recent reflections on the posthuman condition in literature and other media, as well as recent developments in the fields of critical posthumanism, transhumanism, critical animal studies and the new materialisms. This conference also aims to bring to the fore the ethical and political implications of the representation of the embeddedness and relationality of the (post)human, the machine, the nonhuman animal and matter, while also exploring the connection between literature and other media, criticism and the world.

Conference / Event website

Contact details

Twitter: @Posthumanconf23


(Posted 22 July 2022. Updated 16 December 2022)

Constructions of Identity 11 – Transmission
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 18-20 May 2023
Extended deadline: 10 April 2023

Event organised by the Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (Romania)

Conference venue: Faculty of Letters (31 Horea St.), Cluj-Napoca


In a book published in English in 2015, the German media theorist and philosopher Sybille Krämer attempts to provide a model for transmission that preserves the possibility of community without succumbing to notions of communication as the imposition of sameness (Medium, Messenger, Transmission. An Approach to Media Philosophy). As Krämer insists, it is essential to safeguard the difference that emerges during the process of transmission, defined as “an external, corporeal, and material process that can be conceived as a kind of embodiment” which is “also associated with a ‘disembodiment’ – namely, the way in which media ‘become invisible’ in their (interference-free) usage” (75). Transmission “lets appear”, or makes difference perceptible, and as such renders culture and community possible, in Nancean terms, as loci of both connection and separation. As Krämer and many others point out, transmission does not amount to neutral repetition of information, but implies “creativity,” distortion and noise, which means transformation is just as important as reiteration. Krämer’s model successfully reminds us that transmission, through the persistence of the medium – whose materiality, even if self-effacing, never ceases to intrude – makes the world “appear.” This may never have been so clear as at the time of the Covid pandemic, of social media, fake news and (perhaps crucially) climate crisis. 

In the age of viral dissemination (digital, informational, biological), transmission can outstep the bounds of direct, unilinear flows between some fixed points of departure and destination. (Dis)articulated across complex, tangled and unstable nets, the multiscalar trajectories of transmission can drift across the micro- and the macroscopic, or the local and the planetary, as seen in the transference of plastic molecules into the human bloodstream or in the even vaster phenomenon of ocean plastification. Transmission, conveyed as both transference and transformation, is also a commonplace literary scenario in contemporary fictions that tap into what Marco Caracciolo calls the fragile yet dynamic “mesh” of interconnected human and nonhuman realities (Narrating the Mesh. Form and Story in the Anthropocene, 2021). With its attendant anxieties of loss and retrieval, transmission – which, etymologically speaking, is a process of sending forth and putting acrosshas always been a feature of literature’s intersections and enmeshments with the technosocial and the biopolitical. Not least, narrative transmission, especially in its literary instantiations, can also relay a possibility to better grasp the ethics of difference that should guide our way across the predicaments of today’s world. 

We welcome proposals for papers and sessions addressing any aspect of our conference theme. Possible topics include:

  • mediality, intermediality, liminality, exchange and the production of difference;
  • communication, noise, entropy, interference, distortion: the dissemination of information, disinformation, knowledge;
  • contagion, immunity, community, purity, security: the individual body and the body politic; literature and biopolitics;
  • ecosystemic communication, environmental propagation, interspecies contiguity: transmission in the age of climate change;
  • literature and medical discourses: discourses of infection, hygiene, contamination, origins; epidemics, pandemics and culture;
  • circulation and recirculation of ideas: cultural transmission from manuscripts to social media;
  • technologies of storage, archiving, recording; forms of cultural memory in the age of flow and virtualisation;  
  • authorship and dispersal: collaborative texts, joint authorship, participatory writing; from texts to co-texts, paratexts, metatexts;
  • citations, borrowings, influences, interpretation, reception; precession and succession in literary history: copies, originals, (af)filiations, genealogies
  • transmission, dissemination & transformation; interlinguistic, intercultural traffic & contact zones; transnational literature;
  • linguistic/cultural hybridization: hybrid texts, genre hybridity; from discourses of hybridity to worlding/planetarity;
  • translation and adaptation.

Confirmed keynote speakers

  • Professor Ros Ballaster (University of Oxford) 
  • Professor Eve Patten (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Associate Professor Ana-Karina Schneider (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu) 
  • Hugo Hamilton (Irish novelist)

Round table: Ulysses in Transmission:” 2022 marked the centennial of Ulysses, as well as the publication of a new translation into Romanian. This roundtable aims to bring together Joyce scholars, translators and translation specialists, to discuss various aspects of the novel in translation, the novel and its translations etc. 

Confirmed participants:

  • Professor Mircea Mihăieș (Universitatea de Vest, Timișoara)
  • Hugo Hamilton (Irish novelist)
  • Dr. Rareș Moldovan (Babeș-Bolyai University, translator of the new Romanian edition)
  • Dr. Erika Mihalycsa (Babeș-Bolyai University, editor of the new translation)
  • Dr. Adriana Șerban (Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3)
  • Armağan Ekici, independent scholar and translator


For individual 20-minute papers, 150-word abstracts and a short bio note should be submitted to Dr. Petronia Petrar ( and Dr. Carmen Borbely ( Extended deadline: 10 April 2023

For tentative panels, please send a title and a 100-word description of the topic, along with details of the chair.

For fully formed panels, please send 150-word abstracts for each paper, accompanied by details of the proposed topic, the chair and the speakers.


The participants will be notified of their proposal’s acceptance by 15 April 2023 at the latest.
Registration link:
Registration starts on 20 March 2023.

Conference registration fee 

90 euro; 50 euro for postgraduate students and young researchers (under 26). 

There will be an additional optional fee of 30 euro for a final dinner. 

Publication plans: selected papers will be published in either a special issue of Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai, seria Philologia (2024), or a conference volume. Publication details will be available on the conference website.


Theoretical linguistics and language acquisition

Research from various theoretical perspectives are welcome on topics in phonetics and phonology, morphology, lexicology semantics/ pragmatics, syntax and language acquisition. Aside from disciplinary approaches, this year we especially encourage inter-disciplinary perspectives that explore the complexities of human language from biological, psychological, historical, cultural, educational, etc. perspectives.

Internet linguistics

This section welcomes papers with a general approach to Internet linguistics, id est, a discourse analysis of sorts of the linguistic displays, patterns and behaviours within communication via the Internet, but mainly the cultural sociolinguistic perspective, where text (language, discourse and semiotic architecture) both signals and negotiates individual or group identities as well as covertly regulating communities of digital communication practice. The latter is a relatively recent paradigm as prompted by the fact that ideological affiliations and reciprocity have come to bear critically on digital communication behaviour, especially in the Social Network Sites. On the one hand, by and large, group identities have become hybrid, nebulous, fluid, tribal, particularly under the impact of integrated digital actions. On the other hand, increasingly ideologized virtual communities (see echo-chambers) have been having the opposite effect of coalescing and temporarily homogenising varied individuals opting to converse within these exclusive virtual liminal spaces. And since technology affordances have enabled individuals to explore, exercise and express their identity repertoires in a threefold capacity: online content users, consumers and creators, the aspects abovementioned will additionally lend themselves to a multidisciplinary approach that may variably include elements from semantics, pragmatics, semiotics and social psychology.

Confirmed keynote speaker

Prof. dr. Lieven Buysse (KU Leuven Campus Brussel, Belgium)


For individual 20-minute papers, 150-word abstracts and a short bio note should be submitted to Dr. Petronia Petrar ( and Dr. Carmen Borbely ( Extended deadline: 10 April 2023

For tentative panels, please send a title and a 100-word description of the topic, along with details of the chair.

For fully formed panels, please send 150-word abstracts for each paper, accompanied by details of the proposed topic, the chair and the speakers.


The participants will be notified of their proposal’s acceptance by 15 April 2023 at the latest.
Registration link:
Registration starts on 20 March 2023.

Conference registration fee 

90 euro; 50 euro for postgraduate students and young researchers (under 26). 

There will be an additional optional fee of 30 euro for a final dinner. 
Publication plans: selected papers will be published in either a special issue of Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai, seria Philologia (2024), or a conference volume. Publication details will be available on the conference website.

Conference site: Transmission: Constructions of Identity XI – Event Landing Page (


(Posted 16 December 2022. Updated 17 March 2023)

Anne Carson and the Unknown: Explorations in 21 st -Century Experimental Poetry
UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 24-25 May 2023
Deadline for proposals: 12 September 2022

Keynote speakers:

  • Laura Jansen, Associate Professor in Classics and Comparative Literature, University of Bristol
  • Ian Rae, Associate Professor of English, King’s University College at Western University
  • Christine Wiesenthal, Professor of English, University of Alberta

This international conference on Canadian author and translator Anne Carson aims to stimulate discussion about an aspect of her work that has been little explored thus far: the unknown. The unknown—which has conceptual roots in, inter alia, the fantastic and psychoanalysis—is, however, a key notion in Carson’s writings. Elizabeth Harvey has recently explored aspects of the unknown in Carson’s oeuvre in relation to the incognito, which she connects to “madness, death, silence, dementia, mourning, prophecy, frenzy, anachronism and sleep” (2021: 106). Moreover, Carson’s focus on the unknown can be linked to her characteristic juxtaposition of the poetic and scholarly in her writing. In Symbolon: The Poetry of Anne Carson (2015), Drew McDowell goes as far as to claim that Carson’s greatest achievement lies in “her recursive questioning about the relation between poetry and knowledge” (247). McDowell is not the only scholar who has noted the importance of questioning—a prerequisite when engaging with the unknown—in Carson’s work (e.g. Upton 2005). In From Cohen to Carson (2008), Ian Rae has remarked that Carson’s “preferred subject of inquiry is […] a centripetal force whose centre cannot be reached” (258). In light of this crucial aspect of thorough re-interrogation, how does Carson’s work (re)configure the relation between knowledge and poetry, including examples that test the boundaries of the genre? In particular, given Carson’s renown as an innovator of form that breaks the mold of generic expectations, we might ask what alternative modes of thinking her poetic experiments produce. 

Such repeated—or even “obsessive” (Upton 2005: 28)—inquiring can also take the form of a creative practice of “erring,” described by Laura Jansen in her introduction to Anne Carson / Antiquity (2021) as “a sense of straying from the accepted or expected course or standard of things and, pointedly, what happens as one stands on the edge of certain matter and jumps into the unknown” (5). Errancy is here conceived as a route into understanding how the unknown operates in Carson’s work. But the unknown is not only related to such “route[s] to the strange” led by the potential of language (Sze 2021: 64). Johanna Skibsrud has addressed the idea of the other as an unknowable in The Poetic Imperative (2020) by analyzing the ability of the poetic subject to write past its own boundaries and enact “the possibility of constantly reconfiguring the relation between telling and not telling, self and other” in Carson’s work (14). Moreover, Christine Wiesenthal has identified a “deliberately elliptical”, “parsimonious poetics” in Carson’s oeuvre that considers the excised and unknown in a tension between affective grief and “ironic economic rationalism” (2020: 196, 205).

This conference thus explores the notion of the unknown in two specific ways: we invite scholars to delve into these unexplored areas of Carson studies, but we also seek to home in on the specific explorations of thought in Carson’s work. More specifically, we seek to enquire what Carson’s oeuvre can reveal about the epistemologies of 21st-century forms of experimental and probing poetry. How are women, including those from a (distant) past, portrayed in Carson’s work and how are the discourses surrounding minorities and people that have historically been rendered invisible critically treated in her writings? Which functions do language and the use of translations have in this context? In what ways can experiments with genre and media contribute to an alternative form of knowledge? What role do emotion and affect play in this story?

The conference therefore deliberately focuses on a broad understanding of the concept of the ‘unknown.’ It invites new understandings of the term to probe, explore, and celebrate the more analytic end of Carson’s breadth of work across a variety of genres and themes. We invite contributions on a range of topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Questions of knowledge formation, including of the self, in Carson’s writing;
  • Feminist issues in Carson’s work, such as the depiction of women as unknowable;
  • Questions of otherness and monstrosity in her work;
  • The concept of polychronicity, in particular the juxtaposition of classical and modern thought, antiquity and postmodernity in her work;
  • The role of affect(s) and its (their) relation to knowledge in her work;
  • Reflections on Carson’s reinventions of genre, such as the prose poem and other hybrid forms;
  • Deconstructionist readings of Carson’s writings and her approach to language;
  • Translation studies and the role of ancient Greek/Latin in conceptions of knowledge;
  • Intermedial methodologies focusing especially on the role of the visual in her oeuvre;
  • (New) material studies and the role of the medium in disseminating knowledge;
  • Carson’s afterlife: authors who critically engage with the thinking of Carson in their own writings, or explicitly position themselves in relation to her oeuvre, and what their writings can teach us about Carson’s work.

Proposals (ca. 300 words) for 20-minute papers and a biographical note should be sent to by 12 September 2022. We also welcome panel proposals of two to three papers (ca. 300-word overview plus 300-word individual abstracts / max. 90 min.), as well as experimental or creative-critical approaches to papers (incl. round-table discussions, performances, etc.). The committee will communicate their decisions by October 2022. Selected contributions will be considered for inclusion in a peer-reviewed volume or special issue of a journal.

In order to foster as much discussion as possible, this conference is planned as an on-site event to be held in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, but conference speakers may present a paper online if unable to attend in person. 

Organization and contact: Helena Van Praet (UCLouvain)


(Posted 16 July 2022)