Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in September 2016

Rebels, Heroes and Terrorists: From Rising to Reconciliation
Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary, 2-3 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 10 June 2016

The Institute of English Studies at Károli Gáspár University

of the Reformed Church in Hungary (Budapest) invites you to an international conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Irish Easter Rising and the 18th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement: “Rebels, Heroes and Terrorists. From Rising to Reconciliation” with a special section dedicated to Teaching Irish History and Culture Today.

Venue: Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Ceremony Hall, Reviczky utca 4, Budapest 1088

Plenary Speakers:

  • Professor Michael Laffan (University College Dublin) from the Republic of Ireland
  • Professor Tamás Magyarics (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) former Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland
  • Reverend Clive Johnston from Northern Ireland

For further information please visit

The 1916 Easter Uprising

The conference is one of several hundred international events remembering 1916 as one of the most dramatic and pivotal times in Irish history. The 1916 Easter Uprising was the forerunner to the independence of Ireland after 700 years of British rule, as well as the precursor to the disintegration of the British Empire and of colonial empires worldwide.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Ireland 2016’, Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny said: “Easter 1916 was a moment when Irish nationalism joined forces with a revolutionary cultural and language movement to forge an irresistible campaign towards self-determination. It is important that the Irish people have the opportunity to come together to celebrate and have pride in Ireland’s independence and to honour those who gave their lives so that the dream of self-determination could become a reality.” In the meantime, Sinn Féin, called on the Irish people to “commemorate those who fought for Irish freedom, celebrating their spirit and vision and committing to the values of the Proclamation to build a New Republic of equals and bring an end to partition.”

Alternatively, numerous historians and public figures are calling into question whether celebrating 1916 is morally right. They are raising questions and hosting public debates on prime time television and throughout colleges and universities in Ireland that put the above issues in an entirely new context. Were the rebels on the “right side” of history? Was the rising justified? Did they have the right to use violence? Can violence be ever justified? Can anything unequivocally good come out of violence? Was warfare, and all the death, destruction and bloodshed that it brings, the only way to achieve independence?

The Good Friday Peace Accords of 1998

After decades of division, discrimination and terrorism in Northern Ireland, and years of secret negotiations and multinational talks, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and the ensuing referenda officially ended the Troubles. The peace agreement signalled a new beginning between the loyalist and republican communities in Northern Ireland, as well as between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Great Britain. The unimaginable actually happened when the first ever Protestant-Catholic power-sharing government in Irish history was set up. But, even though Northern Ireland has come a long way in the past 18 years, the reality on the ground is that the Northern Irish cities, towns and villages are still deeply divided along sectarian lines.

How is sectarianism and segregation to be tackled on the ground in Northern Ireland today? What are some of the tried and tested solutions that can actually bring true reconciliation to such a deeply divided society? What are some of the potential issues that might derail the peace process? How will the upcoming elections for the Northern Irish Assembly in May 2016, and the UK referendum whether to leave or remain within the European Union affect Northern Irish politics? On a brighter note, we would like our distinguished panel, as well as the conference participants to reflect on the lessons that Northern Ireland can offer from its long trajectory of successes and failures to the rest of the world in peace-making and conflict resolution policies.

Teaching Irish History and Culture Today

We would like to dedicate a section of our two-day conference to those who lecture on Irish studies related courses in higher education. How have you found teaching your Irish studies subjects challenging and/or rewarding? Which are some of the main parallels of Irish and Hungarian history or culture that you cover in your classes? How have you shifted focus or methodology in recent years? What have you found works best with your students? What have been some of the most popular topics for BA or MA thesis papers within the field of Irish studies? What could be done to assist you to meet the needs of your students in these classes or when writing their thesis papers?


We welcome proposals for papers addressing one of the above themes from scholars, university lecturers, secondary school teachers, and PhD students active in various fields, including (but not limited to): history, political science, political philosophy, theology, law, linguistics, literature, social and cultural studies, the visual and creative arts, or other related disciplines.
There will be a special session for MA students to present their papers on Saturday afternoon.
The language of the conference will be English. The allotted time for presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes per paper.
The plenary papers and a selection of the conference papers will be published in a conference volume.

How to submit papers:

Please send a short abstract and your CV, along with the registration form (downloadable from to the organizers at the following email address:
Deadline for submission of abstracts: June 10, 2016

Standard fee:   5000 HUF (bank charges not included and payable after application has been approved by organizers) but no later than June 30, 2016.
Reduced fee: 2000 HUF payable by PhD students until June 30, 2016
Free of charge: MA students

(posted 11 May 2016)

Reimagining Beauty and the Beast
University of Bristol, UK, 7th September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15th June 2016

Keynote speakers
Dr. Amy Davis, University of Hull
Prof. James Williams, Royal Holloway University of London

Since myths can be made to mean an indefinite number of things, it is more fruitful
to study what in fact myths have been made to mean.
” Northrop Frye (1957)

Beauty and the Beast seems to possess a perennial fascination, having persisted in various forms for somewhere between 2500 and 6000 years (da Silva and Tehrani 2016) even before Gabrielle de Villeneuve published her famous version in 1740. It has held a particular attraction for makers of cinema and television: more than fifteen audio-visual adaptations have been produced since Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film. 2016 seems an appropriate time in which to reflect on the tale’s continuing resonance, given that this year is both the 70th anniversary of Cocteau’s version and the 25th anniversary of Disney’s much-loved take on the story; a new (live-action) Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for release by Disney in 2017.

For this one-day interdisciplinary conference, we are inviting proposals for twenty-minute papers or video essays not only on any aspect of any version(s) or rendering(s) of the tale – whether in cinema, literature or other media – but also on the pairing of “beauty” with “beast” in the widest possible sense. One of the virtues of myth is its inexhaustible applicability, so we are particularly interested in proposals that discover Beauties and Beasts in places we had not thought to look for them. We warmly encourage proposals from interested postgraduate and professional researchers working across the arts and humanities.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies of particular retellings or adaptations of the story (in literature, film, television, theatre, etc.)
  • The history of the tale (social, textual, material, etc.)
  • Beauty and the Beast as a motif reworked throughout the arts (music, painting, etc.)
  • Beauty and the Beast online (social media, fan fiction, memes, cosplay, etc.)
  • Gendering and/or queering Beauty and the Beast
  • Global and/or national perspectives on Beauty and the Beast
  • Critical reception and/or legacy
  • Beauty and the Beast as a tool for thought
  • Discovering Beauty and the Beast in unexpected places

Speakers are invited to submit abstracts of 250 words in English, accompanied by a brief biography (100 words) to by 15th June 2016.

The conference is being organized by:
Eve Benhamou (University of Bristol)
Miguel Gaggiotti (University of Bristol)
Dominic Lash (University of Bristol)
Steven Roberts (University of Bristol)

(posted 3 May 2016)

Bodies and Politics
Université Paris-Est Créteil, France, 8-9 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 March 2016

An international conference organized by CIMMA (“Identity Constructions and Mobilizations in the English-Speaking World”):

300-word abstracts and short CVs should be submitted by March 30, 2016.
Selected speakers will be notified by May 2016.
Scientific coordinators: Sonia Birocheau, Karine Chambefort, Mélanie Grué

This two-day conference will explore the interconnections between bodies — understood as physical, organic entities — and politics — taken in its most practical, concrete dimension. How may bodies be used/staged/physically modified to benefit political activism or political actions? And at the same time, what impacts may policies or political decisions have on citizens’ bodies?
Two main forms of relations between bodies and politics, both referring to a wide range of topics and to ongoing scholarly debates in the English-speaking world, will therefore be considered for study during this conference. First, bodies are frequently used in contexts of political mobilization and protest as individual and collective tools to convey a specific political message. Secondly, bodies are the targets and recipients of political actions; they are subjected to governmental rules whose impact may be either positive (when they protect, defend or exalt bodies) or negative (when they dominate, oppress or persecute them). Analyzing situations in which individual and collective bodies rule or are being ruled should help identify a variety of bodily expressions in politics and of political influences on the body.

1. Political bodies:
As suggested by the history of progressive or conservative social movements, the public display of human bodies in demonstrations, as well as its visual and symbolic impact deserve close scrutiny. Throughout time, various forms of political activism have included some sort of physical occupation of actual or symbolic places. Whether it be in marches, sit-ins, die-ins, cheerful parades, or encampments; in social, anticolonial, antiracist, feminist, LGBT, or pro-life struggles, the different parts of the body – the limbs, the voice, the face – have been used as instruments to convey a political message. Demonstrations, such as Gay Pride parades, have celebrated and glorified the material dimension of the body while some radical forms of protest, like the hunger strikes of suffragettes or Irish prisoners, have relied on a more visceral, organic, and dangerous, possibly lethal, use of the body. Why have such forms of protest been repeatedly used in democratic confrontations?
It is important to consider the material dimension of these forms of political activism in the long term, or the records that we have of such mobilizations. How can historians examine actions like the physical occupation of a place, beyond slogans or numbers? The representations of politically active bodies are crucial in terms of collective memory. When the photographs of the 1848 Chartist demonstrations on Kennington Common were discovered in 1977, social movement historians were keen to count the participants in the pictures and to study their bodily language, in order to assess the extent of people’s commitment to the cause.
The notions of physicality and duration are also central to the study of practices in which an individual’s own flesh serves a public claim for identity. Bodies then bear the marks of chosen identities (e.g. tattoos, piercing or implants) and become the instruments of a construction or deconstruction of the self that goes beyond biological determinism and against norms of physical appearance (as in gender roles and the distortions of masculinity and femininity, or even of sexuality in the case of trans-identity).
Protest is not the only context in which the body may be used as a political instrument; it may also be instrumentalized by political figures in office or campaigning for office. The bodies of politicians, monarchs, presidents, cabinet members or candidates have always received special attention and care, and often been staged in public representations (Henry VIII’s physical force was celebrated in Holbein’s portraits; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s disability was concealed in official photographs; Barack and Michelle Obama’s healthy lifestyle has been promoted in the media). Political figures’ appearance, shape, dress and style, diet, biological life – including their sex lives – have been scrutinized by the media, which are keen to put political discourse to the test of body language.

2. Bodies as targets of politics:
Studying bodies also raises fundamental philosophical, moral and legal questions. The primary notion of individual rights asserts the necessity of protecting bodies against murder or arbitrary imprisonment. The concept of Habeas Corpus, which frames Anglo-Saxon law, has long been invoked by militants and prisoners (including in more contemporary places of incarceration, such as Guantanamo) and cannot be ignored in studies on the interconnections between bodies and politics. The protection of the body has been at the heart of legal, ethical and moral reflections, including recent ones on women’s right to control their bodies, abortion rights, or medical assistance in dying. How are these issues expressed in public, legal or political debates, and how does their representation in visual culture serve to define and redefine them?
In the political field, the body may also be considered as an object that is submitted to power, here understood as a hold on bodies, a “biopower” (Foucault) or the “governing of bodies” (Fassin & Memmi). Exploring how working bodies have been subjected, or even alienated, in the capitalist mode of production, or how workers have been regulated and socially controlled, especially recently with the emergence of “gray zones” of employment, seems particularly interesting here.
Beyond work, citizens are also expected to fit within certain norms and conform to politically determined customs. It is necessary to reflect upon the management of idle bodies, whose leisure activities can be submitted to the pressure of social norms or whose inaction can be celebrated as the ultimate “art of living” and used as a social critique (as Stevenson does in An Apology for Idlers). What, then, is the status of the sick, disabled, aging, dying, dependent bodies, which are submitted to all sorts of control, stigmatization, and even repression?

We welcome proposals with an empirical and historicizing approach of the interconnections between bodies and politics; proposals relying on case studies; and proposals using a trans-disciplinary approach.
Proposals and questions should be sent to:
Organizing committee: Sonia Birocheau, Karine Chambefort, Mélanie Grué, Donna Kesselman, Guillaume Marche

(posted 14 January 2016)

Networks and Transfer Processes: 7th International Conference on German Studies
Partium Christian University, Oradea, Romania, 8-9 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2016

PartiumAnniversary Conference: Celebrating 25 Years of the Department of German Language and Literature at Partium Christian University, Oradea/Nagyvárad/Großwardein in cooperation with the Institute for German Culture and History of South-Eastern Europe (IKGS) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and the Department of English Language and Literature, PCU

Change of location, knowledge transfer, exchange of cultural codes presume a concept of culture understood as “entgrenzter Kommunikationsraum” (unbounded communication space) . Culture, as a space of communication, means a constant exchange, a flotation of verbal and nonverbal signs, which generates a special texture of a lived space. This process of communication is not free of crises and conflicts, because the rivalry of cultural signs does not exclude delegitimizations and repositions, or it can also be expected to operate with the ambiguity of the same cultural elements. In this way, cultural systems are simultaneously deterritorialized and decentralized, thus pluricentric cultures arise, such as the polyphonic culture of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The last few decades have been marked by a (new) discovery of networks; even our everyday life is permanently being determined by the World Wide Web. Albert-László Barabási points out that the rapidly developing science of network-discoveries brings about
evidences that are more stimulating and surprising than what the everyday use of the term “networks” promises. Modern network-theories and research highlight completely new aspects of our surrounding, thorough-woven Environment.

1. Reisen – Räume – Netzwerke/ Travel – Spaces – Networks
Scientific as well as economic lives are marked since the early Middle Ages by the “transmitting” of accumulated experiences, practices as well as by the networking of academic centres and academic knowledge. Due to the “Peregrinatio” of students, academics as well as of skilled workers and masters, countless research centres and important manufacturing areas were networked to each other throughout Europe. Witnesses of this knowledge-transfer describe their encounters with other cultures and reflect on their own perception of foreignness. Evidence to this bears, amongst others, the extensively rich travel literature. By talking about these processes, knowledge is not only passed through the transfer but also recoded whereas existing narratives and cultural symbols are processed.
The literary section of the meeting focuses on the above-mentioned interdisciplinary networks from various perspectives. We especially welcome papers that explore global contexts of European cultural centers and examine some documented case studies from the everyday and popular culture that show concrete ways of cultural exchange.

2. Systeme – Netzwerke – Transferprozesse / Systems – Networks – transfer processes
The focus of the Linguistics section is on the concept of transfer in diverse contexts: between language systems or subsystems, language areas, text worlds and in the context of social and intercultural networks.
The section invites papers from all linguistic subdisciplines which aim at language-mediated cultural
differences, or examine the spoken language as well as the language of new media.

3. Hochschuldidaktik Online/Offline / University Teaching Online/Offline
The section on University Teaching, entitled Online / Offline, is centered on urgent issues and problem areas which make themselves felt in everyday life of university teachers and students engaged in English Studies, in English as a second language, as well as in English as mother tongue.
The section welcomes contributions on research topics that deal with the challenges that confront teaching and learning in the era of technological networking (online) but also general problem areas which characterize our academic everyday (offline). Therefore, we invite speakers who address the following issues and pursue the following questions: How effective are digital media in the classroom? (Teaching scenarios with smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.). Topics also include: learning effectiveness, learning and group dynamics through cooperative learning and teaching (apps, networks and learning platforms, cooperation offline / online, Seamless learning), internal differentiation: a common problem (methodological approaches and concrete examples, work with freshmen, evaluation possibilities of heterogeneous groups in modularised study).

Presentations and publication:
Presentation time is 20 minutes (15 minutes talk, 5 minutes question period). A selection of papers will be published in the Partium Journal of English Studies, The Round Table (
The registration form (name, affiliation, email) and your abstract (maximum length: 30 lines) are to be sent until the 31st of May 2016, to the following e-mail address:
A confirmation of participation will be sent out until the 10th of June 2016.

The conference fee is €50 or 200 RON and includes coffee breaks, lunch and a festive reception.
Method of payment (Until 30 June, 2016): By bank transfer:
Account number: RO88 OTPV 22 0000 290 701 RO03 (lei)
RO48 OTPV 22 1000 290 701 EU 01 (euros)
Please, indicate the following payment purpose on the bank transfer order: Networks Conference. Bank transfer charges have to be paid by the registrant. Requests for invoice must be indicated by email to the Organizers, at

(posted 16 February 2016)

Shakespearean Transformations: Death, Life, and Afterlives. 7th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference
University of Hull, UK, 8-11 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2015

Conference website:

Keynote speakers:
Susan Bassnett (University of Warwick)
Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex)
Michael Neill (University of Auckland)
Claudia Olk (Free University of Berlin)
Barrie Rutter (Northern Broadsides)
Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford)
Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

“Remember me!’ commands the ghost of Hamlet’s father at a moment in English history when the very purpose of remembrance of the dead was being transformed. How does the past haunt the present in Shakespeare? What do Shakespeare’s works reveal about the processes of mourning and remembrance? Shakespeare breathed new life into ‘old tales’: how do his acts of literary resuscitation transform the material he revived and what it signifies? This major international conference will investigate the ways in which Shakespeare remembered the past and we remember Shakespeare.
The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death offers us a timely opportunity to reflect upon the continuation of his life and art diachronically, spatially from the Globe across the globe, and materially on stage, page, canvas, music score, and screen. How does Shakespeare continue to haunt us? The second strand of the conference focuses on Shakespeare’s literary, dramatic, and transcultural afterlives. The conference thus also seeks to explore the various ways in which Shakespeare’s ghost has been invoked, summoned up, or warded off over the past four centuries.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Shakespearean transformations: borrowing/adaptation/appropriation/intertextuality
  • Shakespeare and death
  • Speaking to/of and impersonating the dead in Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare, religion, and reformations of ritual
  • Shakespeare and memory/remembrance
  • Shakespeare and time: temporality/anachronism/archaism
  • Shakespeare and early modern conceptions of ‘life’
  • Emotion and embodiment in Shakespeare
  • Performing Shakespeare: now and then
  • Transcultural Shakespeare
  • Critical and theoretical conceptions of/engagements through Shakespeare
  • Textual resurrections: editing Shakespeare
  • Rethinking Shakespearean biography
  • Enlivening Shakespeare teaching
  • Shakespeare in a digital age

The conference will be held in the official run-up to Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture in 2017. The programme will include plenary lectures, papers, seminars, workshops, and performances at Hull Truck and the Gulbenkian Centre. There will also be special workshops and sessions directed towards pedagogy.
We welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes), panels (90 minutes), or seminars/workshops (90 minutes) on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted. Abstracts (no more than 200 words) should be sent to by 15 December 2015.
Participants must be members of the British Shakespeare Association at the time of the conference. Details of how to join can be found in the website of the British Shakespeare Association

(posted 28 October 2015)

What is an Image in Medieval and Early Modern England? Fifth Biennial Conference of the Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies
Zurich, Switzerland, 9-11 September 2016
New extended deadline for proposals: 30 April 2016

Confirmed Plenary Speakers
Prof. Brian Cummings (University of York)
Prof. Andrew Morrall (Bard Graduate Center, New York)
Prof. Alexandra Walsham (University of Cambridge)
Prof. Nicolette Zeeman (University of Cambridge)

It has been argued that we live in a world saturated by visual images, that culture has undergone a ‘pictorial turn’. This premise has prompted researchers in the humanities and social sciences to theorize the visual image, documenting its function and status relative to other media, tracing the history of its power and the attempts to disempower it. We might think of the work of David Freedberg (The Power of Images, 1989), Bruno Latour (Iconoclash, 2002), W.J.T. Mitchell (What do pictures want? 2004), or James Elkins (What is an image? 2011).
This conference aims to extend this scholarship in two interrelated ways, firstly by focusing on the image in a particular period and location, namely in medieval and early modern England, and secondly by exploring the status of the visual image in relation to texts.
In the Latin West, it was in the late medieval and early modern periods that religious images would be subject to particular pressure, notably in the first half of the sixteenth century when reformers in Strasbourg, Zurich and Geneva would denounce them as idolatrous, and Catholics would reinstate them. But it was in England that the debate on images was particularly protracted, first expressed in Lollard resistance to depictions of the divine, and then in the iconomachy and full-blown iconoclasm of the Reformations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As a consequence, the relationship between the so-called sister arts of pictura and poesis, image and word, would be problematized.
Yet, the story of the inexorable demise of the religious image in late medieval and early modern England and the concomitant ‘iconophobia’ of its people is being revised. Evidence suggests that there was a far more variegated iconic landscape in post-Reformation England and that the status of the religious image was inflected by its medium, location, and subject matter. Moreover, such images formed and were in turn formed by images produced in new secular media across a range of disciplines.
What, for example, did the new print culture do to the status of the visual image embedded in a text on a page? What happens to textual images–pictures made exclusively of words–when they are visualized through costumed actors in a church, or on a pageant-cart, or on the new commercial stage? How far did new tools for looking at the natural world–telescopes, microscopes–change theories of vision? Where in the hierarchy of the senses was sight now?

Call for papers and panels: We invite 20-minute papers on topics including (but not limited to) the following:

  • image theory (Lollard; Protestant; Catholic; Renaissance; Laudian)
  • image practice (material artefacts; effect of function, medium, size, colour, location; subject matter)
  • images and idolatry
  • images and iconoclasm
  • mental images (art of memory; meditation; poetics)
  • textual images (metaphors; similes; enargia; ekphrasis; picture poems)
  • texts and images (emblems; images embedded in texts; illustrations; manuscript and print culture)
  • linguistic iconicity and images
  • image, voice, sign, and signification in the philosophy of language
  • words and images in performance (liturgical and secular medieval drama; staging plays in the new playhouses; history of gesture)
  • theories of vision (emission v. intro-mission; impact of New Science)
  • sight in the hierarchy of the senses

New extended deadline: 30 April 2016
Please send abstracts (c. 200-400 words) and a short bio (max. 100 words) to
As with all previous SAMEMES conferences, a selection of the papers presented at the conference will be edited by the conference organizers and published as part of the series Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature (SPELL) in 2017.

Social programme:
Friday 9th September, Zunfthaus zur Saffran
As a way of exploring what occurs when word images move from page to stage, and from medieval to post-Reformation England, the conference will stage a performance of the Fall episode from a Mystery play alongside Book IX of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. This unique staging of the Fall will be directed by Elisabeth Dutton, Prof. of Medieval English Literature at the University of Fribourg and director of the Edox project (Early Drama at Oxford;
Sunday morning 11th September (optional):
Guided tour of medieval and early modern Zurich by Thomas Gamma.
Visit to medieval sculpture collection at the Landesmuseum Zürich.

(posted 27 December 2015, updated 18 March 2016)

Beginnings and Renewals in Comic: Opening Sequence, Origin Story, and Reboot – How Do Comics Begin?
Kiel, Germany, 9-11 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2016

On your marks! More than any other narrative field, graphic storytelling is determined by beginnings. Case in point: 2012 saw the newest in a long line of reboots, as DC comics renumbered and restarted its series and its universe. It is not just the context of serial superhero stories, however, that is characterized by ›beginnings‹ and ›renewals‹ – any historical perspective requires both comics and comics studies to re-examine the question of beginnings.

The conference, held from the 9th to the 11th of September 2016 in Kiel, Germany, will focus on the themes of ›beginning‹ and ›renewal‹ in comics, seeking a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to the question of what constitutes a new start in comics and for comics. This includes ›beginning‹ as a formal device as well as related inquiries into the narratological, stylistic and theoretical implications of beginnings within the structure of comics. Further approaches include the question of beginnings of the medium, its discourses and the study of comics. Last but not least: ›beginnings‹, ›renewals‹ and ›fresh starts‹ can also be analyzed as themes and motifs.

We invite proposals for papers in areas related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Beginnings/renewals as formula: How do comics start (over)? How do comic heroes ›begin‹ (again and again)? How is the opening/beginning of series started and restarted?
  • Beginnings/renewals as narrative, formal, visual strategy: is a beginning always discernible or necessary? How does a comic begin?
  • Beginnings/renewals and history: Who addresses comics at what time – and why? Which topics does the comic initiate? What are the new beginnings of comics now – on the web, transmedially, iconotextually, culturally?
  • Beginnings/renewals of form and medium: When is a comic a comic? How is its status as comic introduced at the outset?
  • Beginnings/renewals and (inter)media: What happens when comics leave their medium and become film (beginning of film adaptations and comic films, adaptation of the origin and the original, inclusion and exclusion of origin stories and reboots)?

The conference languages are German and English. Please send us your 500 word abstract for a paper (20 minutes) in either language as well as a brief bio-bibliographical note until April 30th 2016. The address:

Following the conference, selected papers will be published in issue #4 of CLOSURE, the Kiel university e-journal for comics studies. For more information about the journal and previous issues, find us at:

In individual cases, a travel grant can be offered to scholars and researchers not having access to other sources of funding to attend the conference. Please submit an informal application for discretionary support.

(posted 2 March 2016)

“Outside England…Far off from the world”: D.H. Lawrence, Cornwall and Regional Modernism
St Ives, Cornwall, UK, 12-14 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1 December 2015

Organised in association with the University of Exeter Penryn Campus, this conference will be held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel St Ives to commemorate the centenary of D.H. Lawrence’s move to the nearby village of Zennor.

In the midst of the Great War, Lawrence arrived in Zennor following a brief stay in Porthcothan in North Cornwall. His description of Porthcothan as “Outside England…Far off from the world” shows the impression this place made on his imagination, but his reaction to Zennor was even more remarkable: “When we came over the shoulder of the wild hill, above the sea, to Zennor, I felt we were coming into the Promised Land. I know there will a new heaven and a new earth take place now: we have triumphed…this isn’t merely territory, it is a new continent of the soul”.
In seeking to highlight the significance of Lawrence’s fascination with Cornwall, this conference will use his response to that place as a way into looking at broader issues in his work and, more widely, the position of place in British modernism. In the context of Lawrence’s utterances about the Midlands, which have attracted much critical attention, it will probe Lawrence’s use of the term “outside England” to describe his response to Cornwall that, by comparison, has been largely overlooked.  Whilst this conference seeks to bring together scholars and postgraduates to focus on the role of place in the work of D.H. Lawrence, it will also consider the significance of peripherality and localism, creative responses to marginalisation, the expression of disparities between imagined and familiar locations and the legacy of pastoral experience in modernist literature. In interrogating these ideas, it intends to contribute to broader discussions about the complex and interrelated relationship between place and the literary imagination.
Whilst we particularly welcome abstracts that consider all aspects of D.H. Lawrence’s–often fluctuating–responses to place, either pastoral or city and especially to Cornwall, we also invite papers on other related topics that focus on the significance of place in the modernist period, which may include but are not limited to;
Consideration of how perceptions of particular places can alter in reaction to traumatic events such as war
The construction of place as the Other
Differences between literary interpretations of place and the lived experience of the inhabitants of that place
The conflict between the pastoral and the city in modernist experience and writing
The impact of outsiders into rural communities
Groupings of literary, political or cultural figures that were encouraged by specific locations or any consequences of these associations
The relationship between place and the literary form
The tensions between class/race/gender and pastoral/city places
Literary interpretations of the connections between history and place
The relevance of place in attempts to find a more hopeful future

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for proposed 25 minute papers to
cfp deadline: 1 December 2015  successful applicants will be notified by 1 February 2016.
There will be an opportunity for selected papers to be published in a special conference edition of the journal of the D.H. Lawrence Society.

The conference will be held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel St Ives which is within walking distance of this artistically alluring seaside town that Lawrence knew well. St Ives can be reached by train from London Paddington (changing at St Erth).
Further information regarding the conference is available on the Conference website.

(posted 19 September 2015)

Borders and Crossings: An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing
Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1 May 2016

1609-JKU-bordersHosted by the Jan Kochanowski University’s Department of Modern Languages (Kielce, Poland)
Conference language: English
Conference website:
Deadline for abstracts: May 1, 2016
Notification of acceptance: May 10, 2016

Confirmed plenary speakers:

  • Prof. Ludmilla Kostova, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
  • Dr. Benjamin Colbert, University of Wolverhampton, UK

We invite all with an interest in the study of travel writing to the Borders and Crossings Conference.
Proposals for 20-minute papers and for full panels are sought from scholars working in all areas of travel writing, including literary studies, book history, geography, art history, translation studies, anthropology, history and media studies.
Paper proposals from any time period or geographic context are warmly welcome as are proposals from established scholars, early career researchers, graduate students and independent scholars.
Topics may include, but are not limited to

  • Representations of travel through Poland and Central/Eastern Europe
  • Travel writing and autobiography
  • Travel writing and intertextuality
  • Travel writing in translation
  • Travel writing and women
  • Representations of travel and the new media
  • Travel illustration and multimedia
  • Narratives of pilgrimage
  • New directions in travel writing research
  • Teaching travel writing
  • Writing travel and/in minoritised languages
  • Travel and ecology
  • Borders and checkpoints

Please send proposals of approximately 250 words for a single paper or up to 500 words for a panel proposal, complete with a short bio note and your academic affiliation to Magdalena Ożarska or Agnieszka Szwach:

Following peer review, selected papers will be published in our open-access Anglosphere: A Journal of Literature and Culture (to be launched in early 2017).

The conference fee of PLN 430 or Euro 100 (payable by May 20) will cover two dinners, three lunches, refreshments, conference materials and a tour of the Kielce region.

(posted 4 December 2015, updated 8 March 2016)

2nd “Solidarity, Memory and Identity” International Interdisciplinary Conference
Gdansk, Poland, 15-16 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 June 2016

Venue: University of Gdansk, Wita Stwosza Street No 55, Gdansk, Poland
Deadline for proposals: 15 June 2016
Contact e-mail addresses: and
Organizers: University of Gdansk, Poland; University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Colombia; McGill University; InMind Support
Scientific Committee: Professor Wojciech Owczarski – University of Gdansk; Professor Paulo Endo – University of Sao Paulo; Professor Polina Golovatina-Mora – Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana; Amanda Chalupa – McGill University
What is the phenomenon of solidarity in the current world? What is the sense of talking about it with the increase of violence around the globe? What is its role in shaping identities – of cultures, nations, individuals? Is it born from memory or from oblivion? Questions such as these gave rise to the idea of our interdisciplinary conference. It is going to be devoted to solidarity in all its multiple aspects, in the broadest contexts possible – historical, cultural, artistic, psychological and philosophical. In the age of rapid socio-political changes, with deepening ethnic and religious conflicts on one hand, and, on the other hand, a diminishing feeling of identification with the community, there seems to exist a strong necessity for a reflection on the idea of solidarity. It would be difficult to think of a more inspiring place for such a reflection than the city of Gdańsk. It was here that in 1980 “Solidarity” was born: a social movement which, in less than a decade, brought about the fall of the communist regime in Poland and played an important part in the historic changes in Central Europe. Yet we do not want to make Polish “Solidarity” the dominating theme of the conference or privilege it in any way. On the contrary, we intend to present as fully as possible the broad spectrum of solidarity-related themes. Thus, we heartily invite academics from all sides of the world, representing various research fields: anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history, psychology, cultural studies, literary studies, film studies, theater studies, memory studies, postcolonial studies, gender studies et al.

We will be happy to hear from both experienced scholars and young academics at the start of their careers, as well as doctoral and graduate students. We also invite all persons interested in participating in the conference as listeners, without giving a presentation. We are sure that we will have important reflections and fruitful discussions about Solidarity, Memory and Identity.

Our repertoire of suggested topics includes but is not restricted to:

I. The Contemporary World

  • the rage and the pride: the world in the face of terrorism
  • difficult coexistence: Islam, Judaism, Christianity
  • post-communism: being European in Eastern Europe
  • solidarity after September 11th
  • solidarity and refugees
  • solidarity and violence
  • solidarity and multiculturalism
  • solidarity and globalization
  • solidarity and political correctness
  • solidarity and nationalism
  • solidarity and racism
  • solidarity and propaganda

II. Memory and Oblivion

  • the Holocaust: righteous among the nations
  • genocide: the solidarity of the perpetrators, the solidarity of the victims
  • post-war coexistences: between memory and vindictiveness
  • memory and trauma: solidarity of the expelled
  • postmemory: solidarity of late grandchildren / solidarity with the forebears / solidarity with the dead
  • the terror of memory
  • solidarity and amnesia

III. Forms of Identity

  • cosmopolites and patriots
  • local communities
  • solidarity as a generational experience
  • solidarity of women / solidarity of men
  • solidarity between genders
  • identity of the minorities (ethnic, religious, sexual)
  • professional solidarity
  • solidarity and individualism
  • solidarity and identity crises

IV. Ideas

    • homo solidaritus
    • solidarity and postmodernity
    • solidarity with the Other
    • solidarity and tolerance
    • solidarity and resentment
    • solidarity and loneliness
    • solidarity and betrayal
    • solidarity and irony


V. Literature and Art

      • novels/ films/ performances that shook the world
      • literature, art, film, theatre as memory “media”
      • solidarity as a literary motif
      • solidarity and representation
      • solidarity and fiction
      • in the realm of spectacle: the solidarity of spectators and participants
      • socially engaged art: artists in defense of human rights

VI. Everyday Life

      • solidarity and the free market
      • solidarity and the media
      • support groups
      • strikes, rallies, demonstrations
      • equality parades
      • silent marches
      • solidarity and mourning
      • solidarity in the animal world
      • solidarity and environmentalism
      • solidarity and lobbying
      • solidarity of sports fans
      • solidarity of the mediocre

Please submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) of proposed 20-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note, until 15 June 2016 to: Prof. Wojciech Owczarski, University of Gdańsk, Poland: and
The confirmation of acceptance will be sent by 20 June 2016.
The conference language is English.

For further details please visit our website

(posted 9 April 2016)

M@king It New In English Studies
University of Maribor, Slovenia, 15-17 September 2016
New extended deadline for proposals: 25 May 2016

Slovene Association for the Study of English (SDAŠ) invites you to the 4th International Conference, entitled: M@king It New In English Studies
Geopolitical shifts, rapid advances in technology and fluid socio-cultural paradigms are only a few symptoms of our time. However, an old adage has it that the more things change, the more they stay the same. How much does this apply to English Studies? Has English language teaching changed radically in recent years? Are linguistic approaches from the past still valid? What makes a literary canon modern? How does scholarship in English Studies age? What are the implications of the quest for originality? How new is new?
The conference, which will address these and other related questions, will take place on 15-17 September 2016 at the University of Maribor, Slovenia.
We are honored to confirm the following plenary speakers:
Professor Jonathan Culpeper (Lancaster University)
Professor Roberta Maierhofer (University of Graz)
Professor Marianne Nikolov (University of Pécs)
Important dates:
Abstract submission due date (new extended deadline): 25 May 2016
Notification of acceptance: 1 June 2016
Early bird registration: 1 June – 15 July 2016
Additional information is available in the Call for Papers, while proposals can be submitted in the Abstracts section.

(posted 2 November 2015, updated 16 May 2016)

In and Out of Europe: British Literary and Cultural Discourses of Europe in the 20th and 21st Centuries
University of Basel, Switzerland, 15-17 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: expired

Keynote Speakers:
Lara Feigel, King’s College London
Robert Holland, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London/King’s College London
Menno Spiering, University of Amsterdam

As Menno Spiering argues in his book A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism, the ongoing tensions between the United Kingdom and the European Union are symptoms of a deeper ‘underlying sense of alienation’ (Spiering 2014: 3). Britain and Europe have for centuries been seen as different entities, which, in times of conflict, can easily be re-configured as mutually exclusive, or ‘other’. However, the divide, though often naturalized through geographical reference to the ‘British island story’, is most deeply rooted in the British (or English?) cultural imaginary, which is why it cannot be overcome by the narrowly economic or legal devices to which politics is often limited. We believe that literary and cultural texts and discourses (such as travel writing and fiction) provide a rich reservoir for the study of how this cultural imaginary is shaped. Throughout the centuries, the British have engaged with, and travelled across the European continent in various capacities, exploring its geographies and producing different narratives of the Europe(s) they encountered which provide mental maps of a complex and shifting ‘British-European’ cultural topography.

In view of current political debates about the relationship between Britain (in times of devolution) and the EU as well as the migrants’ crisis within broader Europe, this conference aims to shed light on the British-European relationship, British identity and Britain’s position within Europe, as well as on its role in redefining and reshaping European identities. Is the ‘Stranger in Europe’ (Stephen Wall 2008) really exceptional, or are we dealing with an extreme version of more wide-spread attitudes and mind-sets which continue to riddle the European project?

This three-day conference, hosted by the Department of English and the Centre of Competence Cultural Topographies at the University of Basel, takes place in the context of the research project ‘British Literary and Cultural Discourses of Europe’ (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) which explores the changing British perceptions of Europe, and the place of the Continent in the British cultural imaginary. It is primarily aimed at scholars working in the field of literary and cultural studies, but we also welcome contributions from other subjects such as media studies, cultural geography, politics or history.

Subjects addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of the Continent in British literature and other media
  • European Others / Othering / Cultural Stereotypes
  • Geopolitics
  • Borders (shifting borders, post-Empire considerations, border crossings etc.)
  • Spaces of exchange / contact zones / liminal spaces
  • Territory and power relations
  • Waterways (English Channel, Mediterranean Sea, Danube)
  • WWII / the Cold War / Post-1989 Europe
  • Migration / travelling identities / identities on the move
  • European Britain / Islands and Britishness / Englishness


Prof. Dr. Ina Habermann

Alex Van Lierde:

(posted 7 September 2016)

Norm and Anomaly in Literature, Culture, and Language
Franciszek Karpiński Institute for Regional Culture and Literary Research, Siedlce, Poland, 19-20 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2016

Keynote speakers:
Prof. Dr hab. Helga Schwalm, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Dr hab. Liudmila Liashchova, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities
Dr hab. Ireneusz Kida, University of Silesia in Katowice

Norm and anomaly have long constituted a binary opposition whose boundaries are becoming increasingly blurry and open to scrutiny. What precisely does the ‘norm’ mean? Which political, economic, and social forces play a decisive role in producing the ‘norm’? How is the ‘norm’ endorsed through the construction of the ‘anomaly’? And how does the ‘anomaly’ contest the ‘norm’? Can the ‘norm’ be anomalous when viewed as a discursive practice and a form of ideological control? And can the ‘anomaly’ be an integral part of the ‘norm’ without losing its subversive and oppositional character?

This conference invites you to explore norm and anomaly from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives in literary and cultural studies, linguistics and teaching methodology.

As a theme in literary and cultural studies, norm and anomaly pertain to representations of transformed and transformative spaces. These include eerie landscapes, geographies of hope and despair, and sites of post-human activity, all of which have featured prominently in such modes of writing as environmental, risk, and speculative fiction. We also invite papers that address forms of expression and repression in modern and contemporary British and US culture. The problem and problematic of order and chaos, autonomy and oppression, harmony and discord open up further avenues for exploring norm and anomaly through reference to theatre, film, visual arts, television, computer and video games.

The linguistic aspect of norm and anomaly relates to the regularities and/or irregularities of linguistic usage, and to the ways in which norms and anomalies affect linguistic form and meaning or limit language use, its study and understanding. We invite proposals from intra- and interdisciplinary perspectives, such as constitute all areas of theoretical and applied linguistics – from semantics and sociolinguistics through morphology and historical linguistics to pragmatics, translation studies, and lexicography.

As a concern in teaching methodology, norm and anomaly are inseparable from the status of English as a global lingua franca. Across the world, English is part of the school curriculum, which results in the need to test the students’ skills formally. However, the focus on fluency and communicativeness frequently weakens accuracy requirements, and the gravity of errors is assessed against non-native speakers’ subjective judgements. The gap between the ultimate yet not fully attainable goal and the reality of the ELT classroom calls for redefining the parameters of teaching English in response to a number of questions: Is there still one set of norms learners should follow? Or, do norms vary depending on the learner’s progress and learning environment? Which language is the ‘norm’ – the English of the social media or the English of the classroom?

Further possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Conventionality vs. nonconformity, normativity vs. transgression
      • Order vs. chaos and anarchy, hegemony vs. opposition, protest and rebellion
      • Evolution and continuity vs. revolution and disruption
      • Alienation and appropriation vs. inclusion and communality
      • Beauty and body cultivation vs. deformity and mutilation
      • Language as a rule-governed system vs. language as a usage-based model
      • Morphological, lexical, syntactic, and phonological variation
      • Sociocultural norms (formality vs. informality/politeness vs. impoliteness)
      • Transparency vs. opacity of meaning
      • Equivalence vs. non-equivalence in translation
      • Standard vs. non-standard varieties of English
      • Idiomaticity vs. non-idiomaticity in the language classroom
      • Accuracy vs. fluency
      • Testing vs. assessment

Proposals for individual 20-minute papers should include an abstract of 200-250 words, as well as the name, institutional affiliation, a 100-word biography of the author, and the title of the paper.
Please send proposals by 30 June 2016 to:
All other enquiries may be addressed to Dr Joanna Stolarek at:
We aim to notify all applicants by 31 July 2016.

The conference fee of PLN 350 or € 80 will cover conference materials, coffee breaks, 2 lunches, and a wine reception.

Post-conference articles will be put forward for review. Selected articles will be published in a collective monograph in the ‘Transatlantic Studies in British and American Culture’ series by Peter Lang Verlag, or in Studia Anglica Sedlcensia in 2017.

Further information about the conference can be found at:

Conference organizers: Prof. Dr hab. Leszek Kolek, Prof. Dr hab. Liudmila Liashchova, Prof. Dr hab. Roman Mnich, Dr Joanna Stolarek (conference secretary), Dr Maxim Shadurski, Dr Jarosław Wiliński, Mgr Agnieszka Wróbel, Mgr Jowita Buńko

(posted 9 February 2016)

Vladimir Nabokov and the Fictions of Memory
University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland, 22-23 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 May 2016

The University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland would like to invite proposals for presentations at an international conference devoted to the problem of memory in the works of Vladimir Nabokov. The conference will take place on 22-23 September 2016 in Warsaw.

Almost 40 years after Nabokov’s death his texts continue to function as literary Fabergé eggs in which scholars keep finding hidden surprises and previously overlooked details. As Nabokov wrote in Conclusive Evidence, “the unravelling of a riddle is the purest and most basic act of the human mind.” However, readers and critics are divided on the issue of whether Nabokov is a postmodern riddle-maker enjoying the game itself without enabling the player to reach the ultimate solution, or whether the riddles are solvable by a reader astute enough to follow all the sophisticated patterns and allusions which point to Nabokov’s metaphysical convictions.
One of the greatest riddles of Nabokov’s art is memory. From his very first poems and his first novel Mary to the unfinished manuscript of The Original of Laura, Nabokov’s writings abound in characters haunted by their past. This preoccupation is not simply a feature of loss and nostalgia characteristic of emigrant experience in general, but an attempt to examine the mechanisms which control the functions of human consciousness. While Nabokov explores his own remembrances, transferring his experiences to the characters of his fictions, it is never entirely how much of what is being recalled is in fact a construct of the imagination.
Memory becomes an obsession for many of Nabokov’s heroes, who may often be described as mnemonic deviants, their crimes resulting from a falsified perception of reality which they constantly filter through the lenses of the past. Conversely, there are characters ennobled by their devotion to every fleeting detail of their existence, whether past or present.
What is the function of memory in Nabokov’s texts? Is Nabokov really interested in objectively recalling the past or would it be more apt to say that he artfully constructs remembrance in order to deal with trauma, loss and disappointment? To what extent is the past reshaped through literary models and intertextual props? Does the past control us, as in Freud’s theories, detested and summarily dismissed by Nabokov, or is it possible to control the workings of memory and manipulate it in literary discourse?

We invite presentations addressing the following, and related, issues in the context of Nabokov’s works:

      • fictitious biographies and autobiographical writings
      • forgetfulness vs. memories of loss and trauma
      • emigrant experience: nostalgia and the traps of memory
      • memory as fabulation, memory as narrative
      • speaking memory, memory and delusion
      • memory and philosophy
      • memory and psychoanalysis
      • narration(s) of the mind
      • visual memory (cinematography, photography)
      • anticipatory memory, proleptic memory and “future recollection”
      • return to/of the past in Nabokov’s poetry
      • bilingualism and remembrance
      • comparative perspectives
      • memory in political contexts: Revolution, exile, repatriation
      • synesthetic  metamorphoses: trivialities, souvenirs, memories / symbolic correspondences / realities beyond appearance
      • Nabokovian allusions, echoes and inspirations.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Stephen Blackwell, Professor and Chair, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Russian Program. Stephen Blackwell teaches Russian literature and language. He is the author of Zina’s Paradox: The Figured Reader in Nabokov’s Gift, The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science and co-editor of the forthcoming Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art.

Leona Toker, Professor in the English Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures (Cornell University Press, 1989), Eloquent Reticence: Withholding Information in Fictional Narrative (University Press of Kentucky, 1993), Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors (Indiana University Press, 2000), Towards the Ethics of Form in Fiction: Narratives of Cultural Remission (Ohio State University Press, 2010), and numerous articles on English, American, and Russian literature. She is the editor of Commitment in Reflection: Essays in Literature and Moral Philosophy (Garland, 1994) and co-editor of Rereading Texts / Rethinking Critical Presuppositions: Essays in Honour of H. M. Daleski (Peter Lang, 1996) as well as of Knowledge and Pain (Rodopi, 2012). She has founded and is editing Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, a semiannual academic periodical published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

We invite proposals of individual 20 minute papers or 3-paper panels. Please submit proposals (up to 400 words) by 30/05/2016 to the organizers:
Dr. Mikołaj Wiśniewski, University of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Dr. Irena Księżopolska, Independent Scholar,
The languages of the conference are English and Russian.
Conference fee: 100 EUR / 120 USD or equivalent in PLN.
Acceptance confirmations will be sent before 14/06/2016.
Selected papers will be considered for publication.
Visit the Conference Website.

(posted 21 November 2015)

Poets on the Walls: Street Art and Poetry
Nice, France, 22-24 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 22 May 2016

Pursuing the research started with its first event « Street Art, Contours et Détours », the Nice Street Art Project is pleased to announce a second edition focusing on street art and poetry to be held September 22-24 2016 in Nice.

Horace’s famous simile Ut Pictura Poesis introduced the idea that painting and poetry are two sister arts and as such, they have attracted the attention of researchers in the fields of literature and art. Although it is characterized by its poetic writing and includes many references to poets, street art has been paradoxically excluded from the scope of these investigations. One of the first questions to be addressed will concern the poetic impact of street art which is an art form often blending writing and drawing. If it is commonly said that street art brings poetry to public spaces, a more precise definition of the link between street art and an experience appealing to the senses must be found.

Street art can be considered as poetic in many different ways: for the aesthetic quality of the writing it often involves (Miss.Tic, Stephen Powers, Banksy…), for the new vision of the world it offers through the anamorphic quality of some pieces (JR, Odeith, Varini…) and for the transfiguration of urban architecture it achieves (Pao, OaKoAk, Clet Abraham…). All these practices share similar goals with poetic writing as they both alter the perceived reality and open up imagination. As Cocteau put it, poetry aims at “unveiling, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically” (Le secret professionnel, 1924). In this respect, famous or anonymous street artists do act poetically.  Be it verbal or aesthetic, poetry moves its readers/viewers and forces them to see the world differently. Hence, examining the link between street art and poetry necessarily implies to consider the artists’ political, philosophical or social commitment. If “poets have come down from the heights where they thought they were, they went into the streets, they insulted their masters, they have no more gods” (L’évidence poétique, 1937) as Paul Eluard said, the fact that their figures now reappear in the public space might serve as a reminder of their actions. Whitman, Pessoa, Neruda, Ginsberg, Rimbaud, Aragon and Angelou are among the most frequently poets painted by street artists. These pictorial tributes bring life to the urban space and bring their words back to life.

Ernest Pignon Ernest’s recent posters —designed for the 40th anniversary of Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini’s assassination— which represent the figure of Pasolini will be of particular interest. As an urban art pioneer, the Nice-born artist started focusing on poets at an early stage in his career ; the posters he has pasted ever since make us think about how vulnerable works of art are and how easily they can be washed out, which is according to Pignon Ernest, what is most Rimbaldian about his pieces. The site-specific quality of street art and its ephemeral nature might also be addressed since both elements contribute to the definition of the poetic and political impact. A whole range of site-specific works blurring the boundaries between street art and poetry can be examined: poetry in the form of advertising (Robert Montgomery), aerial messages (Saber), poems in bottles left in the street (Andy Knowlton’s Drunken Poets Project)… Each of these poetico-graphic experiences is meant for passers-by, thus turned into viewers/readers, and aims at offering a new understanding of both time and space.

The conference will focus on three main topics :

  1. ‘Street poets’ dealing with the aesthetic and poetic quality of site-specific artworks.
  2. ‘The poetic writing’ addressing the use of poetic writing to express social or political messages.
  3. ‘Poets on the walls’ focusing on the links between street art and poetry through the figure of poets represented in the public space.

Paper proposals must include:

  • the main topic (see 1/2/3)
  • the name of the author(s)
  • a short biography (100 words max.)
  • a title
  • a 300-words abstract
  • a list of key-words (5 max.)
  • a short bibliography

The 50€ registration fees cover the participation in the conference, entrances to the MAMAC museum and St Pons abbey, the street art tour, coffee breaks and lunch programs.

Abstracts can be submitted in English or French and must be uploaded in pdf format on the conference website at
Please contact or in case of difficulties with the website.

The new deadline for submissions is May 22nd 2016.
Presentations (in English or French) will be scheduled for 30 minutes. No translation services will be provided. Accommodation and transportation costs are at the contributor’s expense.

(posted 11 May 2016)

Repetition/s: Performance and Philosophy in Ljubljana. An academic & artistic event
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 22-24 September 2016
Deadline for submissions: 30 April 2016

Confirmed participants:
Andrew Benjamin (Monash University, Melbourne)
Justin Clemens (University of Melbourne)
Keti Chukhrov (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow)
Mladen Dolar (University of Ljubljana)
Bojana Kunst (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv University)
Oxana Timofeeva (European University at St Petersburg)
Samo Tomšič (Humboldt University Berlin)
Alenka Zupančič (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana)

Repetition, as a pivotal concept in contemporary theory and aesthetic practice, announces a movement away from logics of representation. Where the concept of representation had once predominated in attempts to think and enact the world, Alenka Zupančič notes that with the arrival of Deleuze, the shift from previous modes of thought “takes the form of a straightforward conceptual war: repetition against representation” (2008: 149-150). This conceptual warfare has perhaps nowhere laid out its stakes more clearly than on the contemporary scene of artistic practices. Within the domains of the visual, sonic and performing arts and their theorisations, the tensions between repetition and representation map out a common ground of encounter. Contemporary investigations into this contested territory are increasingly challenging the very modalities and terms in which both art and philosophy are practiced, or performed.

Invoking the concepts of both time and space as constitutive aspects, the problem of repetition raises topical questions of, on the one hand, processes of perception, (re)cognition, thought, memory, habit, and speech; and on the other, the dynamics of economic structures and historical processes. The notion of repetition also opens onto many other key questions being posed in and by contemporary philosophical and aesthetic practices: questions of the relations between body and thought, between the structure and the exception, between content and form. There is, moreover, no single or unified notion of repetition: rather, a number of divergent philosophical ontologies emerge, each taking the concept as its point of departure, and developing in dialogue with (amongst others) Hegelian and Marxist dialectics, Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal return, the Kierkegaardian concept of repetition, psychoanalytic theorisations with Freud’s Wiederholungszwang and Lacan’s automatisme de répétition and instance de la lettre, linguistic performativity, Derridean iterability and différance, and Deleuzian repetition as the production of difference.

Today, contemporary developments in the increasingly intertwined fields of philosophy and performance call for a renewed inquiry into the question of repetition. With its unique critique of ideology arising from a synthesis of German Idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, the Ljubljana School (Dolar, Zupančič, Žižek et al.) continues to furnish important theorisations of repetition and performance as they pertain to subjectivity and the political. One of the primary aims of REPETITION/S will be to investigate and develop the usefulness of the Ljubljana School’s theorisations for the emerging field of Performance Philosophy. The city is a major centre of art practice, with a specific strength in performing arts, and 2016 is Ljubljana’s first year as an UNESCO City of Literature. Scheduled to coincide with the City Museum of Ljubljana’s art & performance festival, the academic and artistic events constituting REPETITION/S will be co-hosted by the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture and the University of Ljubljana.

In the experimental spirit of Performance Philosophy, we seek to host a polydisciplinary event bringing together a variety of scholars and artists. We encourage creative, engaged approaches to the event’s terms of investigation. In addition to papers we particularly invite performative lectures, exercises of or experiments with repetition, workshops, cross-disciplinary panel discussions, new media presentations, and public interventions. We welcome propositions for 20-minute presentations, 60-minute 3-person panels, workshops or performances up to a maximum of 60 minutes. Please note that while the time-limit for performances is negotiable, REPETITION/S can provide only venue space and basic audio-visual equipment – artists are therefore encouraged to propose relatively self-reliant contributions in terms of resources. However, we welcome enquiries and are happy to discuss possibilities for presentation.

Please send a 300-word abstract, including a title and a brief bio-bibliography, in either Word or PDF format to The deadline for submission is April 30, 2016.

Suggested topics/questions:

      • Traditions of repetition: Hegel – Nietzsche – Kierkegaard – Deleuze – Lacan – Badiou (etc.)
      • Repetition, resistance, revolution
      • Repetition, economy and structures of power
      • Repetition and the Unrepeatable
      • ‘New materialisms’ & repetition
      • Repetition beyond, or behind, representation
      • Performing repetition
      • On repetition and the new
      • Repetition and exception: between a gap and a surplus
      • Repetition / rehearsal / ritual
      • The temporality of repetition
      • “First as tragedy, then as farce”
      • Technological revolutions, digital repetitions
      • Repetition terminable or interminable

Organising Committee: Bara Kolenc (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Gregor Moder (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Anna Street (Sorbonne, France), Ben Hjorth (Monash, Australia)

The conference is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, the City Museum of Ljubljana, the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, the Aufhebung Association, the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Monash University, the Australian Slovenian Academic Association, and the research laboratories VALE and PRITEPS at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, in partnership with the international research network Performance Philosophy.

For more information, please visit the website at

(posted 4 April 2016)

International Conference on Literature, Culture and World Peace
Pune, India,  23-24 September 2016

Venue: Dnyansagar Institute of Management & Research, SKP Campus, Near Pune-Mumbai Highway, Baner-Balewadi, Pune, India
A conference organized by the Higher Education & Research Society.
Sub themes:

      • Peace Studies
      • Peace Polemics
      • Philosophy of Peace
      • War and Peace
      • War Literature
      • Role of Literature/s in Promoting Peace
      • Environment and Peace
      • Philosophy and Ethics
      • Communalism and Sectarianism
      • Cultural Integration and Fragmentation
      • Spirituality and Literature
      • Gandhism and Literature
      • Non-violence and Peace
      • Buddhism and Literature
      • International Law and its Execution
      • Globalization and Peace
      • Trench Poetry and Beat Poets
      • Existentialist Stance in Literature
      • Absurdity and Literature
      • Inequality and Justice
      • Literature of Protest and Peace
      • Literatures of Gender Apartheids
      • Literature and Ideology
      • Globalization and Geopolitical Polarization
      • Religion of War /Religion on War
      • Ethnic Studies
      • Literary Social Paradigm
      • Literatures of Underrepresented
      • Gender Trouble in Literature
      • Nihilist and Jingoist Sentiment in Literature
      • Literature and Nationalism
      • Regionalization and Internationalization
      • Space and Peace
      • Democracy and Peace
      • Immigration/Migration and Peace
      • Literature and Humanitarianism
      • Literature and Cultural History
      • Conflict Resolution and Disarmament
      • Literature and Human Rights
      • Literature and Utilitarianism
      • World Literature and New Literatures
      • Ethnocentrism in Literature
      • Literature and Class/ Caste / Race
      • Rising Soft Powers in World Politics
      • Subnationalism and Supranationalism
      • Literature and Multiculturalism
      • Terrorism and Literature
      • Fundamentalism and Peace
      • Xenophobia in Literature
      • Agrarianism and Literature
      • Regionalism and Regional Literature
      • Rhetoric and Techno-culture
      • Literature and Digital Divide
      • Literature and Social Media
      • Technology and Peace
      • International Relations: Literary Depictions
      • Cyber War and Science Fiction
      • Globalization, Media and Peace
      • Domestic Peace
      • Education / Teaching for Peace
      • Youth for Peace
      • Any other topic relevant to the theme of the Conference

The full call for papers can be downloaded here.
Abstracts may be sent to conforming to the Submision Guidelines available at:

(posted 4 November 2015)

Narratives of Displacement
Warsaw, Poland, 23-24 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2016

A Conference organized by Interdisciplinary Research Foundation
Conference website:
Keynote speaker: Prof. Wojciech Nowicki, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (Poland)

This conference seeks to explore the narratives of displacement and to demonstrate the validity of a cross-disciplinary approach which brings together the historical, cultural, social and literary expertise in the handling of text. The conference will particularly focus on time and space representations and on treatment of the theme of cultural ambivalence and identity conflict. The subject of displacement will be regarded as both a migration, voluntary or forced, and a sense of being socially or culturally “out of place”.

Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • migrations and deportations (expatriation, expulsion, exile, etc.)
  • journeys, pilgrimages, missions
  • mobility and place
  • rootlessness and taking root
  • foreignness and indigeneity
  • (re)settlement and (non)residence
  • nomadism and place attachment
  • hotels, guesthouses, shelters
  • multiculturalism, interculturalism, transculturalism

We also welcome poster proposals that address the conference theme.

The conference aims to bring together scholars from different fields. We invite proposals from various disciplines including history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and literature.
The language of the conference is English.A selection of papers will be published in a collected volume.

Proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 31 May, 2016 to:
Download paper proposal form

Full registration fee – 150 €
Student registration fee – 115 €

(posted 2 May 2016)

Scotland in Europe: Conference III
University of Warsaw, Poland, 23-25 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 17 April 2016

Venue: University of Warsaw, Institute of English Studies, ul. Hoża 69, 00-681 Warszawa

We would like to invite everybody interested and involved in Scotland, in the country’s culture, history and politics, and in how it has been perceived and represented in Europe, to participate in the third conference on this subject, which will be held on 23rd-25th September 2016, continuing the meetings that took place in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, in 2012 and 2014. This year the conference will be held in Warsaw on the current premises of the Institute of English Studies at the University of Warsaw.

We would like to draw attention to the interdisciplinary nature of the topic and to facilitate cooperation and a discussion between different European academic centres in connection with the following subjects:

      • Scotland past and present:

– The position of Scotland in Europe
– Scotland’s historical links with Europe
– Where is Scotland heading after the 2014 Independence Referendum
– Ethnic and cultural identity
– Popular culture, media and the arts

      • Scottish literary and cultural exchange with Europe:

– The influence and reception of Scottish literature and culture
– Publishing policies and the translation of Scottish literature
– The role of translation in Scottish literature
– Representations of Scotland in European literature
– European influences on Scottish literature and culture

      • Scotland’s languages:

– The understanding of Scotland’s multilingualism
– Languages and regionalism
– Language as a political issue
– Language varieties and their reflection in translation
– Language barriers in the translation of Scottish literature

Keynote Speakers:
Dr Susanne Hagemann (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz)
Prof. David Malcolm (University of Gdańsk)
Prof. Alan Riach (University of Glasgow)

Organisers and contact:
Prof. dr hab. Aniela Korzeniowska
Dr hab. Izabela Szymańska

Conference email:

Conference website:

The Institute is located in the very centre of Warsaw, within walking distance from the Central Railway Station and a half-hour journey by public transport from the Frederic Chopin Airport. All the details will be provided later.
Accommodation: Participants will be responsible for making their own arrangements. Suggestions as to hotels in the vicinity will be provided in the second circular.

Paper: Participants will have 30 minutes at their disposal (20 minutes for the paper and 10 minutes for discussion).

Abstracts: Please write your abstracts (250 words max.) in the registration form provided on the website.

Participants who will need a VAT invoice are kindly requested to fill in the form provided together with the registration form (see website).
Deadline for abstract submission and registration: 17th April 2016
Notification of acceptance: 5th May 2016
Deadline for early payment: 6th June 2016

For participants from Poland: 450 PLN
– For doctoral students from Poland: 350 PLN
– For participants from outside Poland: 110 EUR

Deadline for final payment: 1st September 2016
– For participants from Poland: 550 PLN
– For doctoral students from Poland: 400 PLN
– For participants from outside Poland: 125 EUR

The conference fee will cover conference materials, refreshments, a conference supper, and a post-conference publication.

Forms of payment:
Polish currency bank account: 15 1160 2202 0000 0000 6232 5750
With the following information added:

      1. Full name of participant
      2. For: Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Anglistyki
      3. Opłata konferencyjna [Scotland in Europe]

– Euro bank account: PL 64 11602202 0000 0000 6084 9207
Bank Millenium; Swift: BIGBPLPWXXX (if 11 digits are necessary)
Address: ul. Żaryna 2a; 02-593 Warszawa
With the following information added:

      1. Full name of participant
      2. For: Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Anglistyki [33-01-00], address: Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28; 00-927 Warszawa
      3. Conference fee [Scotland in Europe]

Note: Participants from the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw do not make any personal payment.

(posted 30 January 2016)

Neurocultures: Brain Imaging and Imagining the Mind
University of Bielsko-Biala, Poland, 26-28 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2016

Second international and interdisciplinary conference organised by the Department of English Studies at the University of Bielsko-Biala.

Keynote Speakers:

      • Patricia Pisters,  Professor of Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
      • Fernando Vidal, Research Professor at ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies).

This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together specialists from various fields (humanities, social sciences, arts, medicine etc.) to explore mental processes and their relation to brain physiology and neural activity. We want to create a dialogue across different academic disciplines so we encourage papers that will be accessible to non-experts.

Considering that, for a while now, natural sciences have been making forays into domains traditionally perceived as reserved for humanist research, we dare return to the subject of the role of humanities in managing the discoveries of science, and invite a debate between the two areas of human activity, joining a broader reaction on the side of non-scientists to the focus on the material foundation of our cultures, postulating a collapsing – or at least complicating – of the division between biology and culture. Keeping in mind the dangers of material reductionism and appropriations of neuroscience ungrounded in proper understanding of the research, we invite a consideration of what mind has to offer to the brain and vice versa.

The deadline for proposals is 30 April 2016. Abstracts of 300 words in English should be sent to Please include your name, email address, academic affiliation and a short biography.

The conference fee is 420 PLN (100 euro), and 350 PLN (80 euro) for students and includes lunch, coffee breaks and conference materials.
A selection of papers will be published. Details of publication will be announced during the conference.
More details at

(posted 6 February 2016)

Disease, Death, Decay in Literatures, Cultures, and Language
University of Opole, Poland, 26-28 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2016

Confirmed keynote speakers:

      • Prof. Tadeusz Sławek (University of Silesia, Katowice)
      • Prof. Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)
      • Prof. Jacek Fabiszak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

Carlos Schwabe’s “The Death of the Gravedigger” presents us with what is inevitable for all: the end. Schwabe’s vision of finality, however, is neither pessimistic nor particularly intimidating. As the gravedigger looks up toward the Angel of Death’s winged embrace, we discern the sense of majesty she inspires. Her placid face offers respite from a lifetime of physical labor, allowing the gravedigger to release his well-worn shovel. The gravedigger’s work is done, his soul departs, but life around him is renewed. Flowers begin to dot the receding winter snow. It is, ultimately, a comforting image. But, one might ask, are death and its first cousins, disease and decay, really so easy to accept? Let us confront such issues.

Our conference provides a platform to reflect upon themes that address, but are not restricted to:

      • Representations of disease, death and decay in literature and the media
      • Cultural and religious perspectives on terminal disease, death and the afterlife
      • Narratives of apocalypse and demise
      • Narratives of death and resurrection
      • Disease as narrative
      • Travel and disease
      • Dystopian visions of humanity’s breakup and destruction
      • Rituals of cleansing, passage and mourning
      • Rhetoric of commemoration
      • Atonement as a cultural motif
      • Pandemic and Armageddon in literature, film, and the news
      • Philosophical and ethical approaches to death disease and decay
      • Communicating about disease and death in private and institutional settings
      • Metaphors mitigating taboos related to disease, degeneration and death
      • Coping with pain, aging and illness
      • The medicalization of popular culture
      • Panaceas, self-help and therapies
      • Conceptions of honorable deaths
      • The significance of ghosts, haunting and spirits in literature
      • Zombies and the undead

Because Disease, death and decay can also be associated with language change, we plan to arrange a separate linguistic panel. Languages influence one another, and such interaction can be perceived as both a blessing and a curse – a disease which threatens language’s purity. Some may even talk about language decay: “Tongues, like governments, have a natural tendency to degeneration” (Johnson Samuel, 1755)

Thus, we would like to invite papers that address the topic from the linguistic perspective and discuss the notion of:

      • Language death
      • Language attrition
      • Language endangerment and revitalisation

We would also like to provide a platform for the discussion of current research within studies of

      • semantics,
      • metaphor and metonymy,
      • discursive analysis,
      • anthropological linguistics

For those scholars unafraid of death, disease and decay in its various aspects or guises and interested in participating:

Please send us an abstract (not exceeding 300 words, including the title, your professional affiliation, e-mail address, phone number and audio-video requirements) by May 15, 2016, to

The language of the conference will be English. The time allotted for individual papers will be twenty minutes with an additional ten minutes for discussion. We plan to publish the papers delivered at the conference in a peer-reviewed post-conference volume (after receiving positive review).

Conference participation fees:
The standard participation fee is PLN 450, or €110and PLN 350 or €75 for postgraduate students
This fee includes conference proceedings and daytime refreshments. Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.

Organizing Committee: Dr Katarzyna Buczek, Dr Tadeusz Lewandowski, Dr Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska, Dr Stankomir Nicieja, Prof. Ryszard W. Wolny

For additional information please visit our conference website:

(posted 6 April 2016)

Reading Coetzee’s Women
Monash University Prato Centre, Palazzo Vai, Prato, Italy, 27-29 September 2016
New extended deadline for proposals: 15 April 2016

Confirmed Participants/Keynotes:
Professor J.M. Coetzee (Adelaide)
Professor Zoë Wicomb (Strathclyde)
Professor David Attwell (York)
Professor Elleke Boehmer (Oxford)
Other Participants/Keynotes to be confirmed

Professor Sue Kossew (Monash)
Dr Melinda Harvey (Monash)

Conference Outline:
There has been enormous international scholarly interest in J.M Coetzee’s writings in recent years. Since 2010, four major international conferences (Sydney, Wuhan, Leeds and Adelaide) have been held and two literary biographies, nine monographs and over four hundred book chapters and journal articles have been published on his work. Despite this, very little has been written on what we are calling, as a deliberate provocation, ‘Coetzee’s women’: on his female narrators and characters; or on the women writers who have influenced him and have been compared with him. This three-day international conference asks preeminent and emerging scholars to bring their attention to bear on ‘Coetzee’s women’, broadly conceived, as well as possible reasons for the lack of sustained critical engagement with this theme until now.

Possible paper topics include:

      • Female ventriloquism
      • Love, sex and desire
      • Mothers and daughters
      • The woman writer
      • Female mentors and carers
      • Violence against women
      • Youth and aging
      • Women and race
      • Beauty
      • Coetzee and Gordimer
      • Women and power
      • The female gaze
      • Coetzee and Lessing
      • Women’s silence and speech
      • The male gaze
      • Women and education
      • Coetzee on women’s writing
      • Women’s knowledge
      • Feminist and queer readings of Coetzee’s writings

An intended outcome of this conference is an edited volume of scholarly essays.
Abstracts of not more than 250 words and a 50-word bio are invited and should be sent to the conference convenors by 15 April 2016 (new extended deadline)
This event is hosted by the Centre for Writers and Writing, Monash University and kindly supported by the Faculty of Arts.
All enquiries should be directed to the organisers:
Professor Sue Kossew:
Dr Melinda Harvey:

(posted 12 December 2015, updated 6 April 2016)

Bestiarium: Human and Animal Representations. International PhD Conference
Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy, 28-30 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 April 2016

The PhD School of Humanities of the University of Verona is organising the international trans-disciplinary Conference “Bestiarium. Human and Animal Representations” which will take place from the 28th to the 30th September 2016.

From Aristotle’s philosophy to the Medieval Bestiaries, from the ancient fables to the works of artists such as Damien Hirst, Joseph Beuys and Bill Viola, through George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Die Verwandlung by Franz Kafka, the animal and its various representations have always played a lead role in the cultural production of human kind. For example, from the XVI century onwards Aesop’s fables and the oriental tales collected in Panchatantra and in its Arab version Kalila e Dimna have influenced a number of essays and short stories, such as those by Agnolo Firenzuola (La prima veste dei discorsi degli animali), Anton Francesco Doni and Jean de la Fontaine.
In the last decades, however, new achievements in fields such as Ecology and Cognitive Ethology have created the social need to deeply reconsider the ethical status of animals. From a theoretical point of view, these peculiar social demands have imposed an interpretative shift in the Humanities, leading to the so-called “Animal Turn” in cultural studies (Harriet Ritvo, “On the Animal Turn”, 2007). This theoretical turn raised some fundamental questions about human-animal relationships, otherness, the ontological status of animals and the meaning of humanity and animality. As a result, the traditional epistemological categories of Humanities have been called into question. Indeed, if on the one hand the contribution of scholars such as Jacques Derrida (L’Animal que donc je suis, 2006), Giorgio Agamben (L’Aperto: l’uomo e l’animale, 2002), Cora Diamond (The Realistic Spirit, 1991), and J. M. Coetzee (The lives of Animals, 1999) has allowed to dismiss the conception, typical of the Enlightenment, according to which “animals were mere blank pages onto which human wrote meaning” (Erica Fudge, “The History of Animals”, 2009), on the other hand, it has demonstrated a substantial inability to abandon the anthropocentric point of view which has always characterized the discourse on animals.
Hence the need to overcome the traditional tendency to read the animal merely as a symbol, a metaphor or an allegory, whose only purpose is that of representing and negotiating human power relations of race, class, and gender. This new perspective allows the adoption of a critical attitude capable of shortening the ontological distance between the human and the animal, referring to a phenomenological dimension in which the two elements are different, but equally possible, modes of corporeality of a particular form of animality.

The international trans-disciplinary Conference “Bestiarium. Human and Animal Representations” intends to give a contribution to this debate by focusing on texts and discursive practices which reveal the epistemological and cultural dynamics structuring the representation of the animal.
The human-animal relationship has always been characterised by a wide net of interactions and exchanges. The aim of the Conference will be to rethink the very nature of humanity through animality – considering all the various meanings that this term can acquire – in order to highlight diversity and to find a new sense of the human and of the animal.
What are the ontological, phenomenological and ethical differences emerging from the comparison of the human with the animal? How does the distinction between humanity and animality change over time and in different cultural contexts? How can we rethink the categories of otherness, agency, embodiment and experience in the human-animal relationship? How are the mechanisms of empathy triggered through the textual representation of the animal? How does the interpretation of a text change when assuming a non-anthropocentric point of view on the representation of the animal? Which linguistics strategies are deployed when speaking of animals and what do they reveal?

Given the strong interdisciplinary character of the reflection on the animal and its representation, the Conference is open to scholars of different disciplines such as Italian, ancient Greek, Latin, and foreign literatures and philology, philosophy, linguistics, history and anthropology, art, cinema and new media.
We invite contributions which study, discuss and promote, among others, the following issues:

      • Human-animal relationship
      • Animalising the human and humanising the animal
      • Animal bodies and human bodies
      • Discursive significance of animal metaphors, symbols and tropes
      • Textual animals
      • Animal societies and Human societies
      • Animals and visual culture
      • Language and animality

The Conference is addressed to PhD students and researchers who have no more than 5 years post-Doctoral experience.
The time limit for each presentation is 20 minutes, followed by discussion. Please submit an abstract of 300 words (title included) in .pdf format by April 15, 2016 to the following address:
All submissions should be written in English or Italian, and be prepared for anonymous review. Name, affiliation, and research field should appear only in the text of the e-mail. All submissions will be acknowledged and acceptance of abstracts will be communicated by June 15, 2016. Contributions in English will be preferred.
The publication of the Conference proceedings is expected.
Organising Committee: Mariaelisa Dimino, Alessia Polatti, Roberta Zanoni.
Scientific Commitee: Giulia Anzanel, Stefano Bazzaco, Francesca Dainese, Francesco Dall’Olio, Damiano De Pieri, Mariaelisa Dimino, Anja Meyer, Damiano Migliorini, Silvia Panicieri, Giulia Pellegrino, Alessia Polatti, Simone Pregnolato, Marco Robecchi, Giacomo Scavello, Tania Triberio, Roberta Zanoni.

(posted 27 February 2016)

The Mediterranean and its Hinterlands: Le Pays en Profondeur
Université Toulouse II – Jean Jaurès, France, 28-30 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 8 May 2016

Within the research field of Humanities the Mediterranean has become a major topos. According to Fernand Braudel, the pioneer of Mediterranean studies, it is “a huge, fragmented and contradictory world which has been excessively studied by archaeologists and historians, […] a wealth of knowledge that defies any reasonable synthesis”. For this reason and, humbled by the sheer wealth of work produced by universities and institutes located on its shores, e would like to propose a conference focussed on a particular aspect of the Mediterranean world, and limited to the productions/translations of English-speaking scientists, writers, and artists.

The Mediterranean is a space best defined by its paradoxes: it is, as Yves Bonnefoy put it, “not so much a sea as a series of shores”, both a maritime and a terrestrial space, a geographic, economic and historical locus as well as a literary, pictorial and poetic landscape. As such it becomes the object of a twofold projection: that of verifiable knowledge and that of a personal and collective imaginary, both equally present in modern Western discourse. To scrutinize it is to understand how its complex modalities shape what Michel Collot calls “the spaces of the future”. How did English-speaking writers and artists define a particular mode of dwelling in the Mediterranean, a poethics of place which, in the passage from reality to its representation, transforms it into “the place of exercise of a thought within space that challenges the distinction between the res cogitans and the res extensa”? Such scrutiny cannot but lead us to question our relationship to “land” and “landscape” since, as anthropologist Tim Ingold has pointed out, what historians, geographers or artists contemplate is not so much the land itself—an abstract entity—as merely one’s own subjective environment, which Ingold defines as “the familiar domain of our dwelling”.

As the ideal locus of the projection and exploration of sensibility, the Mediterranean has been seen through the eyes of English Romantics such as Byron, Shelley, and Keats, of modern poets such as W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Lawrence Durrell, and of American authors as diverse as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Edith Wharton, and Ezra Pound. The ‘middle sea’ encapsulates both the here and the elsewhere, through works rooted in the tension between feelings of alienation and the search for the inner self. We may then wonder what is lost and what is gained from such a perspective on space and whether the imaginary construction of the Mediterranean brings us closer to, or further away from, its essence. Such a question entails the careful study of the various objects that underpin that vision: texts, maps, ethnological, historical, literary, poetic, fictional productions, letters and diaries, literary and photographic clichés, travel accounts of English-speaking authors who, through their sketches, botanical, zoological notes, have rebuilt the Mediterranean into an oneiric world freed from temporal or spatial boundaries.

What space, literally and metaphorically, is occupied by the islands of the Mediterranean islands? Encountered in the works of Shakespeare, Defoe or Stevenson, they may appear as detached spaces, floating lands that offer both a feeling of anchorage and a delicious sense of freedom to drift. Do we see in them escape-routes leading away from the down-to-earth, or as burrows in which to explore our innermost being?

Likewise, how are we to understand the linguistic relationships in a space characterised by crossings and encounters and where Man has always had to learn how to “speak alongside the language of others”? Thus the English-speaking poets of the Mediterranean have repeatedly translated, adapted and transformed the languages and myths of the Mediterranean Basin, privileging those inner recesses where languages meet and answer one another in a linguistic and human relationship that, although it rests on what Yves Bonnefoy calls “continuity and distance” also relentlessly questions the very nature of language. English-speaking novelists, poets and translators working their way through the various forms of translation, borrowings and exchanges might then be seen as endeavouring to “repair the disaster of Babel”. Perhaps what is at stake is not so much how to write alongside the language of others as to hear it within oneself.  To sketch out a truly poetic dwelling in the world is to enable the subject to become sharply aware of what Augustin Berque terms a “trajective” reality, “the contingent product of this co-adaptation of sensations rooted in the outer world and of the projections born inside our brain”.

Through a language that “enables the mind to cross boundaries” the literature of the English-speaking world turns the Mediterranean into the locus of an epistemological questioning which regenerates our relationship to the here and the elsewhere. Literature restores a perspective that takes into account that part of humanity which cannot be embraced by cartography alone but which geographers, in opening up their research field to phenomenology and critical geography, have progressively incorporated. Bringing together space coordinates and population displacements, and taking into account the various forms of dwelling in and crossing of space (whether real, symbolic, mythical or imaginary) geographic discourse offers a reflexion on space which, despite stable coordinates, is constantly on the move, renewing our interest in what Jean-Marc Besse terms “perceptions, representations and behaviours regarding space”.

In sum, it would seem that literature has a considerable role to play in the daily invention of what Jean-Marc Besse calls “a space of sensibility” which interrogates our being in the world and might well shape out, as it did for the refugees observed by Louis MacNeice, “the hinterland of their own future”. The Mediterranean, a cultural, ethnological, mythical crucible, appears as this common ground that defines our modernity by disturbing our relationship to space and consciousness, reversing our perspective so as to draw us into a sensitive relationship to the other, and to the world.

Proposals will take as a starting point the hypothesis that most of what animates the Mediterranean world—whether it be the real or the imaginary one—comes from the paths that lead towards and away from it. Indeed our viewpoint on such an extensively-studied area is reinvigorated if we start backwards by focusing not on the inland sea but on the hinterland, on those hazy borders that can characterize it but never delineate it. The purpose of this conference will then be to take a closer look at the routes of those who travelled to and from the Mediterranean, those who, sometimes far away from its shores, headed for an elsewhere which classical studies had rendered familiar but which nevertheless struck them as oddly alien.

This reversal of perspective follows in the wake of the poet who saw the Mediterranean as a “pays en profondeur […] sealed off like the unconscious” and whose various networks of roads and waterways unleash the wandering of the mind and of the body. At the same time as paying tribute to the work of Yves Bonnefoy, this conference will reflect upon the poetic and political relationships between the Mediterranean and its hinterland, all those non-riparian areas which serve as a point of departure for those drawn by a certain idea of the Mediterranean world, and particularly those coming from the British Isles, North America and the Commonwealth. Although the topic mainly concerns researchers in English Studies, scholars in other relevant research fields, in particular studies on Spanish- and Arabic-speaking countries, modern and classical French studies, history and geography, sociology and anthropology are very welcome to submit proposals.

Please send your proposals in English or in French (350 words maximum) with a short biography before 8 May 2016 to both Helen Goethals and Isabelle Keller-Privat

Please visit the Conference website:

Selected papers, in English and French, will be published as a unified collection by Caliban, French Journal of English Studies.

(posted 2 March 2016)

The World of E. M. Forster – E. M. Forster and the World
University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland, 29-30 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1 May 2016

University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
University of Warsaw
University of Trier
International E. M. Forster Society

One may as well begin with an invitation:
We would like to invite you to an international scholarly conference on the life and works of E. M. Forster, the first conference to be organised by the International E. M. Forster Society and the second Forsterian conference in Poland. It is our aim to evaluate the presence and legacy of Forster in English literature and social history. The double title of our conference is meant to reflect the duality of our aims — on the one hand, we are interested in Forster’s own works, with a special stress on the less often approached texts. On the other hand, we would like to enquire in the position of Forster, his works, and the values he stood for within British and world culture(s) almost half a century after his demise.
We are interested in all possible aspects of Forster’s oeuvre and life, as perceived by various theories, methodologies, and schools. Our interests encompass both the works and the life of Forster himself as these of his contemporaries, especially these he was influenced by and these he in turn influenced himself. The list of possible candidates ranges from Jane Austen through Henry James to Virginia Woolf and Christopher Isherwood. We are also interested in Forsterian influences in the works of our contemporaries such Alan Hollinghurst, Jonathan Coe, and Zadie Smith. Our interest includes also books in which Forster features as a literary character such as Damon Galgut’s Arctic Summer. We are also interested in E. M. Forster’s legacy going beyond literature such as movies, plays, musicals, and operas based on his works. It is our aim to make the selection of papers as comprehensive as possible, so do not hesitate to contact us with your proposals, no matter how far-fetched they may be.

The conference will take place at University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn in the heart of the picturesque Polish Lake District:
The organisers will offer moderately priced accommodation on the university campus (details will be announced on the webpage) for the duration of the conference (costs of accommodation and meals – except for conference dinner – are not included in the fee).

The conference fee is 400 PLN / 100 EUR / 100 USD (for PhD students 300PLN / 75 EUR / 75 USD).

Proposals for 20 minute long presentation should include a 150 word abstract and a short biographical note including your academic affiliation (if available) should be sent to the following address: If you require an invoice, please, provide all the necessary data along with your submission. Submissions are welcome until May 1st 2016 — the authors of the accepted papers will be notified within a month of the acceptance. Depending on the number of accepted submissions we may organise a poster session for young scholars.
We intend to publish a reviewed collection of essays following the conference. The details of publication should be announced during the conference.
All further details will be available from the website of the Society:
Facebook users may also consider joining the group of our Society at to get the latest updates.
If you would like to join the Society, please, go to:

We are looking forward to meeting you in Olsztyn!


Prof. Krzysztof Fordoński, University of Warsaw
Dr Katarzyna Kodeniec, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Prof. Ewa Kujawska-Lis, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Dr Anna Kwiatkowska, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Dr Weronika Szemińska, University of Warsaw
Dr Heiko Zimmermann, University of Trier

(posted 13 January 2016)

Fourth Santiago de Compostela International Workshop on Discourse Analysis
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 29-30 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2016

IWoDA’16 is an international workshop jointly organised by the SCIMITAR team and the DISCOURSE & IDENTITY research group, both of them based at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The aim of IWoDA’16 is to promote multidisciplinary research on the analysis of discourse, pondering and exploring the multifaceted properties of English-language texts/discourse from different perspectives (quantitative, qualitative, linguistic, cognitive, psycholinguistic, contrastive, sociolinguistic, critical, literary, cultural, filmic, semiotic, etc.). Guest speakers will provide case studies, tools and methodologies in order to upgrade the skills necessary to do discourse analysis in different settings and for different purposes, thereby promoting life-long learning and encouraging synergies between academics.

IWoDA’16 includes:

  • a hands-on Practical Session conducted by Douglas Biber (Northern Arizona University)
  • four plenary lectures delivered by the following keynote speakers:
  • Douglas Biber & Meixiu Zhang (Northern Arizona University)
  • Hans Boas (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Mike Hannay (VU University Amsterdam) & María A. Gómez González (University of Santiago de Compostela)
  • Maite Taboada (Simon Fraser University).

Although the workshop programme will host all possible topics related to the analysis of discourse in English (as well as in contrast with other languages), we invite submission of abstracts for papers to the following panels related to the theme of IWoDa’16, ‘The Construction of Discourse as Social Interaction’:

PANEL 1. Constructions and the construction of discourse
PANEL 2. Register variation across speech and writing
PANEL 3. Discourse markers
PANEL 4. Evaluation, subjectivity and opinion

We encourage proposals from diverse frameworks:

  • theoretical and applied
  • quantitative and qualitative
  • contrastive and typological
  • cognitive, psycho- and sociolinguistic
  • critical and literary
  • cultural, filmic, multimodal, and semiotic

The deadline for the submission of abstract is 31 May, 2016. Acceptance will be notified by 15 June 2016. Slots for papers will be 20 minutes, including time for questions. The language of the papers will be English.

Abstract format: maximum length 300 words or one page A4, using Times New Roman font 12 point, including references and keywords. Please visit our webpage for online submission instructions.

(posted 12 April 2016)

The Dynamics of Wordplay – Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Universität Trier, Germany, 29 September – 1 October 2016
Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2015

Wordplay can be regarded as a ubiquitous phenomenon. It appears in a broad range of situations of communicative exchange, including spontaneous manifestations in everyday communication, strategic uses in advertising messages and argumentative texts as well as literary texts from different authors, cultures and historical periods. At the same time, wordplay is to a certain extent ephemeral: the ludic character of utterances can get lost over time as they become reused in other contexts, and in many instances, ludic language use can merely function as momentary pauses inserted in a communicative exchange that pursues different aims. Wordplay thus appears to be a complex phenomenon which is difficult to grasp, but, at the same time, it can reveal basic principles of language.
In a previous conference entitled “Wordplay and metalinguistic reflection”, this dimension of wordplay has been addressed in an interdisciplinary perspective. The conference was held at the University of Tübingen in March 2013, and selected papers of that event will be published in September 2015 as the first two volumes of the book series “The Dynamics of Wordplay” (De Gruyter).
Three years after the first conference, it is high time to expand the interdisciplinary explorations of wordplay. This is why we would like to invite scholars interested in aspects of wordplay to participate with their research in the follow-up conference “The Dynamics of Wordplay”, organized by the scientific network of the same name. The conference aims at studying various facets of the dynamics that become visible in wordplay, unfolding basic principles of language and communication.
An important aspect concerns the creative dimension of wordplay. As wordplay represents a means of transcending linguistic conventions, it seems interesting to analyze the close relations between wordplay and linguistic innovation / neology. Furthermore, certain cases of wordplay exhibit a dynamics based on contacts between different languages, cultures and semiotic codes. A third way of approaching the phenomenon of wordplay is to study its concrete use in communication and speaker-hearer interaction.
The conference aims at bringing together papers that deal with different aspects of the theory and practice of wordplay, studying cases of wordplay from different historical periods, languages and discourse traditions. In addition, papers can follow different perspectives and approaches, including linguistics and literary studies as well as adjacent disciplines such as cultural studies, media studies, comparative literature, medieval studies, theatre studies, etc.
Papers may deal with, but are not restricted to the following topics:

  • systematic and analytical approaches to wordplay, its forms and functions
  • the dynamics of wordplay at the moment of its creation / introduction
  • the dynamics of wordplay in a diachronic perspective
  • the dynamics of wordplay in bilingual or plurilingual wordplay
  • the dynamics of wordplay involving different semiotic codes
  • the dynamics of wordplay from the perspective of speaker-hearer interaction
  • the dynamics of wordplay involving different levels of communication and different viewpoints

Papers are supposed to be between 20 and 25 minutes followed by a 10 to 15 minute discussion time. The languages of presentation are English and French.
Selected papers presented at the conference will be published in Vols. 5 and 6 of the book series “The Dynamics of Wordplay” (De Gruyter).
If you want to participate in the conference, please send an abstract of 250 to 300 words in English or French to and
Submissions are accepted until 1st December, 2015.

Child care can be organized onsite to participants at the conference. Please get in touch with us beforehand if you want to find out more about that service.
Confirmed plenary speakers:
Salvatore Attardo (Texas A&M University-Commerce)
Dirk Delabastita (Université de Namur)
Dirk Geeraerts & Eline Zenner (KU Leuven)
Raymond W. Gibbs (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni (Université Lyon 2)
Alain Rabatel (Université de Lyon1)
Françoise Rubellin (Université de Nantes)
Monika Schmitz-Emans (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Deirdre Wilson (University College London)
Yoko Tawada (Berlin)
Important Dates:
– 1 December 2015: Submission deadline for abstracts
– 1 March 2016: Notification of acceptance
– 29 September – 1 October 2016: Conference
– 31 March 2017: Submission deadline for full papers
Conference website:
Esme Winter-Froemel (Trier), Verena Thaler (Mannheim), Alex Demeulenaere (Trier), Carolin Munderich (Tübingen), and Gesa Schole (Tübingen), together with the Scientific Network “The Dynamics of Wordplay” (see

(posted 4 August 2015)

History, Memory, and Nostalgia: Literary and Cultural Representations
Vilnius University, Lithuania, 29 September – 1 October 2016
Deadline for proposals: 1 April 2016

The Department of English Philology at Vilnius University, Lithuania, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Association for the Study of English (LAUTE), is pleased to announce the international conference History, Memory, and Nostalgia: Literary and Cultural Representations, to be held in Vilnius on September 29 – October 1, 2016.

The eve of the new age has alerted us to the conflicted nature of historical memory that defined the 20th century while simultaneously assaulting us with new historical upheavals that demand responsibility and critical consideration. Records of historical experience and historical negotianism have been shown to be inextricably bound to power structures, institutional dynamics, currents of globalization, social dreams, and personal desires. The premise of this interdisciplinary conference is to examine the relevance of the past to the present and future in terms of the shifting attitudes to personal and collective experiences that have shaped dominant Western critical discourses about history, memory, and nostalgia.
What theoretical frameworks lend themselves best to the study of historical complexities and emotional ambiguities that respond to them? How do we grasp the rhythms and forms of longing? How does nostalgia unfold with regard to space and time? Scholars working in the fields of literature, film, and visual arts are invited to submit proposals for papers that take issue with the epistemological, hermeneutic, ethical, and esthetic dimensions of the representational practices through which we revisit and revise the meaning of the past.
Suggested topics include, but are not restricted to:

      • Positing memory: conflicts, contingencies, continuities in theoretical paradigms; memory and commemoration; knowledge and nostalgia;
      • Discursive configurations: history as narrative; alternative histories; marginal subjectivities; invented traditions; the discourse of nostalgia; virtual reality and collective memory; second-hand nostalgia;
      • Fact vs. fiction: biography/ memoir and other narrative forms encapsulating memory and invention; historical voices of illusion and delusion; the return to origins;
      • Identity and historical agency: memory as a source of identity; the body as a site of historical experience; trauma and juissance; prosthetic memory;
      • Collecting histories: narrative and visual practices of the museum, archive, and library; books and computers as devices of storage and consumption; nostalgia and (post)modernity; nostalgia and popular culture;
      • Historical specters and speculations: nostalgia and melancholy as discourses; the poetics of the uncanny, the marvelous, and the fantastic; nostalgia and intimacy; souvenir culture; restorative and reflective nostalgia;
      • In search of lost time: forms of cultural legacy and legitimation; the frailty of historical consciousness; reflection and refraction; leaving and longing; the diasporic imagination; nostalgia and (post)coloniality;

Selected papers will be published either in the peer-reviewed MLA indexed journal Literatūra or as a separate volume.
The conference registration fee is EUR 50 to be paid upon arrival and covers:
–  conference folder and badge
–  refreshments during scheduled breaks
–  receptions

Interested participants are invited to submit a 300-word abstract of their proposed papers (with the name and affiliation of the presenter) before 1 April  2016 by e-mail or airmail to:
Prof. dr. Regina Rudaitytė
Dept. of English Philology,
Faculty of Philology,
Vilnius University,
Universiteto Str. 5
01513 Vilnius, LITHUANIA;

(posted 11 November 2015)

Language, Literature and Cultural Policies – The Past in the Present.
University of Craiova, Romania, 29 September – 1 October 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 July 2016

The 15th International Conference organized by the Department of British, American and German Studies, University of Craiova, Romania and the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, UK

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin –
That all with one consent praise new-born gauds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past…
(Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, 3.3.169-71)

As Shakespeare already knew four centuries ago, even the newest-looking thoughts can only be expressed in pre-existing words, and as his own posthumous fame shows, the most innovative works of art may one day have the status of established monuments.  But in twenty-first century culture, when the arts are frequently mediated via an online world that habitually calls its unprecedentedly novel activities ‘curating’, has the distinction between the old and the new collapsed? And what is the pre-history of our current anxiety about how to salvage and revivify the traditions, artefacts and artworks of the past? After modernism, perhaps even after post-modernism, how stand the relations between now and then?
This conference invites papers, from every discipline in the humanities, about all aspects of how the past has inhabited and shaped the present, and about how the present has demanded the revaluation or even the forgetting of the past: whether on the traditions of the Gothic, in which ghosts walk among the living and the dead hand of history is mighty yet; or on the adaptation of old cultural forms and materials into new media; or on the invention and development of the museum and of the academy; on the heritage industry and its discontents; on linguistic change, decay and renewal; on the relations between archaeology and artistic innovation; on presentism, historicism, or anachronism.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Michael Dobson – University of Birmingham, UK
Ewan Fernie – University of Birmingham, UK
Rick St. Peter – Clemson University, USA

Further information is available on the conference website:

Registration Deadline: July, 15, 2016

(posted 10 June 2016)

Byron and the Romantic World
The Old Library, Keele Hall, Keele University, UK, 30 September 2016
Deadline for Abstracts 27th May 2016

Keynote Speaker: Sir J. Drummond Bone (University of Oxford)

One of the most celebrated and recognisable figures of the early nineteenth century, Lord Byron (1788-1824) stands at the centre of our current debates about Romanticism and the Romantic world. His life and poetry has attracted critics, scholars and biographers interested in issues such as celebrity culture, sexual politics, the Regency period, the Byronic hero and Gothicism to name but a few. The amount of recent scholarly work devoted to editing his works and correspondence – including digitisation at the Murray Archive – to exploring his poetic legacy and to reconsidering his key place in a European Romantic tradition means there has never been a more exciting time to be a scholar of Byron and the Romantic world in which he lived and wrote. This conference aims to bring together postgraduate researchers working within Byron Studies and related Romantic contexts, to reconsider Byron’s place within the Romantic world.

We invite papers on any aspect of Byron’s life and work or related Romantic-period writers. Papers are welcomed from postgraduate students at any level and undergraduates planning further study. The conference is an opportunity for students to hone their presenting and networking skills. Selected papers will be considered for a special issue of the Keele Humanities journal Under Construction@Keele.

Please send abstracts of up to 250 words to:  We will notify successful speakers by the end of June. More information will appear on our ByRom Blog ( shortly.
Organisers: Julia Coole (Keele University) Tara Neary (Edge Hill University)
Follow us on Twitter: @byromantics
Donwload the Conference poster.

(posted 29 February 2106)

The Uncanny in Language, Literature and Culture
Warsaw, Poland, 30 September 2016
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2016

Organiser: Interdisciplinary Research Foundation,
Conference website:

The twentieth-century literature and culture tended to explore and to celebrate subjectivity. But this tendency did not mean the turn to the self, but beyond the self, or as Charles Taylor puts it, “to a fragmentation of experience which calls our ordinary notions of identity into question”.

In his attempts to define the uncanny Freud asserted that it is undoubtedly related to what is frightening – to what arouses dread and horror. It may be something domestic but at the same time unfriendly, dangerous, something that sets the sense of insecurity within the four walls of one’s house. “Persons, things, sense-impressions, experiences and situations which are known and long familiar arouse in us the feeling of danger, fear and even horror. Everyday objects may suddenly lose their familiar side, and become messengers”.

The uncanny suggests an unsettling of the feeling of comfort and reassurance in one’s home, but also in oneself. Architecture takes the place of psychology (Kreilkamp). The perturbed relationship between the characters and their familiar world, the troubled sense of home and self-certainty is a result of a traumatic experience of loss.

As Cathy Caruth claims, “to be traumatized is precisely to be possessed by an image or event”. It usually involves time disruption with the past surfacing in the present, especially the past which has not been worked through. The memory traces are revised and interweave with fresh experiences producing the uncanny effect.

In the new literary and artistic discourse authors tend to depict the new human being, “psychologically deep and multi-layered, fragmentary, floating on sensation and consciousness, fed by their random thoughts and their half-conscious dream worlds” (Bradbury). The new style relies on fragments, breaks, ellipses and disrupted linearity of the narration. It serves to convey the idea of the fractured character of modern time and fragmentariness and allusiveness of subconscious thought. As “an externalization of consciousness”, the uncanny becomes a meta-concept for modernity with its disintegration of time, space and self.

This conference seeks to explore the representations of the uncanny in language, literature and culture. Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • uncanny geographies
  • uncanny technologies
  • the uncanny and visual tropes
  • the uncanny and postcolonialism
  • the uncanny and gender studies
  • the uncanny and sexuality

We also welcome poster proposals that address the conference theme.

The conference aims to bring together scholars from different fields. We invite proposals from psychology, sociology, anthropology, literature, linguistics, etc.
The language of the conference is English.

Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 15 May 2016 to: Download paper proposal form .
A selection of papers will be published in a collected volume.

Full registration fee – 70 €
Student registration fee – 50 €

(posted 2 May 2016)