Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in March 2017

Art and the Environment in Britain, 1700-Today
Université Rennes 2 Haute-Bretagne, France, 2-3 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 3 October 2016

The word “environment” as in “nature, or conditions in which a person or thing live” did not appear until 1827. The much older verb “to environ”, in use in the English language since the late fourteenth century, had come from the French “environner”, and conjured up the image of a circle with a centre around which other elements turned, or veered. For centuries, the centre of this circle was firmly believed to be humankind. Yet, as Keith Thomas has made it quite clear in Man and the Natural World. Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800 (1983), man’s theologically grounded belief in his total dominion over nature was gradually, over the course of the three centuries spanned by the British historian’s study, dented by “new arguments”, “new conditions” and “new sensibilities”. As what Thomas called the “dethronement of man” had started a century earlier at the very least, Charles Darwin’s 1859 Origin of Species was to provide the final nail with which to close the coffin of a certain human uniqueness tightly shut. Closer to us, the momentous post-human turn in the humanities – an umbrella term that encompasses an amazing variety of paradigm shifts – currently contributes to reinforcing the idea that humans live in a symbiotic environment characterised by a porous line with non-human animals and machines, and where New Materialist theories such as Jane Bennett’s go as far as claiming agency for “things” such as food, commodities, electricity and minerals. Part of our scientific committee, TJ Demos advocates the definition of a post-anthropocentric political ecology. His very latest book, Decolonizing Nature, Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology, posits that creativity, and more specifically contemporary art, are instrumental in developing this less possessive relationship to nature.

Whether one thinks of environment as context, setting, climate change, green spaces or sounds, today’s epistemology invites us to rethink man’s relation to the external world to the extent that the “inside” and “outside” coalesce, nature and culture merge, man and animal are reconfigured. How have British artists responded to these shifting perceptions of the world around them, of this great swirling circle of life and non life in which they found – or imagined – themselves diversely positioned? How has art positioned itself in this newly defined environment? A precursor to such interrogations, environmental art was early on intended as a decidedly extensive term, which came to encompass both the pastoral and the urban. With the introduction of Environmental art departments in British art schools in the 1980s, the environment has been understood by artists as all the different contexts available to them outside of the gallery. We see this conference as an ideal opportunity to highlight these tensions between different definitions, and to look into terminologies, as well as historical variations; to explore the links between representation and preservation; the way British artists have represented animals, natural elements and the climate, and their preoccupation with environmental aesthetics and the altered positioning of humankind in the world, in a British context.

Abstracts of about 400 words should be uploaded, along with a short biographical note, to the conference webpage (see Submit):
Deadline for submissions: October 3rd, 2016

Organizers: Laurent Châtel (Paris Sorbonne), Charlotte Gould (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Sophie Mesplède (Université Rennes 2)

(posted 18 September 2016)

Neoliberalism in the Anglophone world
Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France, 10-11 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 October 2016

References to neoliberalism in Anglophone scholarly research are commonplace, and have increased exponentially over the past couple of decades. While the first handful of citations to articles featuring the term ‘neoliberalism’ or ‘neo-liberalism’ in their title occurred in only 1992, there were over a 200 a year by the end of the 1990s, almost a 1000 by 2005, over 4000 in 2010, and almost 10,000 in 2015 (Web of Science, 2016). Such interest seems unlikely to subside in the foreseeable future. Prompted by the dramatic onset of the global financial crisis (2008-ongoing), which was purportedly the result of neoliberal logic, and the subsequent intensification of the familiar policies of ‘regulatory restraint, privatisation, rolling tax cuts, and public-sector austerity’ through an even more relentless focus on ‘growth restoration, deficit reduction and budgetary restraint’ (Peck, 2013: 3-5), there has also recently been an abundance of public debate on the efficacy, validity and legitimacy of neoliberal policies.

According to a recent survey of British social attitudes, for example, the years of neoliberal austerity since the financial crash of 2008 have entrenched class divisions, and hardened attitudes towards both immigrants and the political establishment. While the consequences of neoliberal policies on British society were, it seems, a likely factor in the recent referendum result in favour of the UK leaving the European Union, it is noteworthy that both the Leave and Remain campaigns held remarkably similar views on neoliberal policies such as free markets and austerity, as well as the desirability of immigration controls (Freedman, 2016). Consensus on these wider issues can also be seen in the policy proposals of the leading Republican and Democratic candidates in the US.

Despite (or perhaps because of) such promiscuity, however, the term itself has been prone to inflation (Peck, 2013: 17), and for some it has become an ‘overblown’ concept (Collier, 2012) that tends to be applied (in an invariably disapproving way) to pretty much anything today (Allison & Piot, 2011: 5).

This conference aims at presenting a critical overview of issues related to neoliberalism in the Anglophone world. It will be broad in scope by covering British, American and the other English-speaking areas, as well as the fields of civilisation, literature and linguistics, while maintaining a thematic focus on the concept of neoliberalism from international and interdisciplinary perspectives.

We are particularly interested in receiving abstracts on one or more of the following themes:

  • the theoretical and methodological approaches and theorists drawn on when critiquing neoliberalism, either in Anglophone academic literature generally or in specific disciplines or contexts. For example, whether neoliberalism is understood as an ideological and hegemonic project (David Harvey, Stuart Hall), governmentality (Michel Foucault) or discourse (Ernest Laclau and Chantal Mouffe), and whether it is analysed using methodological approaches informed by one or another of these theoretical perspectives.
  • the neoliberalisation of politics, parties and politicians in the Anglophone world, as well as public policy in a number of areas (culture, education, health, housing etc.).
  • the effects of neoliberalism on identity and society (the emergence of the neoliberal/entrepreneurial self; intersections with gender, sexuality and “race”; neoliberalism as embodiment or affect; the experience of individuals reconfigured as consumers in various domains).
  • the exploration and representation of neoliberalism in literature, art and culture more widely.
  • the effect of neoliberalism on language; for example, the ubiquity of occurrences of ‘demand’, ‘competition’, ‘efficiency’, ‘cost-effectiveness’, ‘best practice’ in a range of documents.

Abstracts in English should be submitted to the organisers (below) by October 15th, 2016.

The papers given at the conference may be submitted for a special issue of Angles (, to be published in late 2017 – early 2018. We will also be keen to include submissions that are not necessarily scholarly articles: multimedia artworks, photo-essays, political manifestos; as well as reviews of key texts (academic or otherwise) or interviews with key figures on neoliberalism in the Anglophone world. This may be taken into consideration when submitting abstracts for the conference, where diverse formats will be welcome.


Advisory committee:

  • Phil Carr, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, EMMA
  • Vincent Dussol, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, EMMA
  • Des Freedman, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Nicolas Gachon, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, EMMA
  • Nicholas Gane, University of Warwick
  • Rosalind Gill, City University, University of London
  • Johnna Montgomerie, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Anne-Marie Motard, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, EMMA
  • Srila Roy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

(posted 26 July 2016)

The Familiar and the Exotic in Language and Literature:
The Politics of Perception and Representation: The 27th FILLM International Congress
Sir Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, India, 15-17 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 August 2016

FILLM_logo2When Graham Huggan remarks on ‘the fetishizing process,’ which turns the literatures, languages and cultures of the ‘non-Western’ world into ‘saleable exotic objects,’ he alights on one of the most distinctive characteristics of our multicultural contemporary world. Indeed, the idea of ‘oppositionality’ that is the basis of the systematic deployment of similarity and difference at the heart of much literature and language, finds a very pertinent and deeply disturbing focus in the binary of the familiar and the exotic. Moreover, extensive globalization has resulted in cultural fragmentation on many planes, one major split being on the lines of this conflictual binary. The creation of this rupture calls for a re-configuration of the cultural map, especially with reference to the repercussions of these terms on the literatures and languages of the world, two foremost cultural markers.

There is an urgent need to critically engage with the rampant ‘intellectual tourism’, the ‘dilettantism’ and the conflict and ‘fracturing racial violence’ that has resulted from this arbitrary cultural division that marks the world. A series of questions trip into the reckoning: how should this ‘exotic’ be defined? Is it a quality that inheres in something or somebody or some people, or is it just, as Huggan calls it, ‘a particular mode of aesthetic perception’? What is the political fallout of the slapping on of the rubrics of the ‘familiar’ and the ‘exotic?
Believing these to be some preliminary issues that the 27th FILLM International Congress should engage with, we invite scholars to submit papers which focus on one or more of the following topics:

  • Perception and Representation of the Exotic and Familiar
  • Form and Technique
  • Myth, Language and Memory
  • Language and the Exotic and the Familiar
  • The Exotic and the Familiar and Translation
  • The Play of the Exotic and the Familiar in Linguistics and the Concept of Similarity and Difference in Grammar, Text and Rhetoric
  • The Exotic and the Universal: the Universal Structures of the Human Mind and Its Particular Languages
  • Conflict and the Exotic and the Familiar

How to make a proposal
In order to propose a paper for the Congress, please send a 300 word abstract as an email attachment to before 31 August 2016.
At the head of your proposal, please supply the following information:

  • your full name
  • your professional title
  • your professional affiliation and address
  • the title of your proposed paper

You will learn whether your proposal has been accepted by 30 September 2016.
Registration and Congress prices
The registration period runs from 1 October till 30 November 2016. Information on how to register will be made available on the FILLM website:
It is possible to get an early-bird discount by registering before 31 October 2016. The early-bird fee is GBP 220 / USD 350. After that date, the registration fee is GBP 250 / USD 400.
Special rates for SAARC nations apply. For these, the early-bird registration fee is Rs 5500 while, after the 31 October 2016, it is Rs 7500.
For more information, visit FILLM’s website:

The John Benjamins Prize for Linguistic and Literary Scholarship
The best paper presented by an up-and-coming scholar at the 27th FILLM International Congress and subsequently submitted to the volume of Congress proceedings will be awarded the first John Benjamins Prize for Linguistic and Literary Scholarship.
The prize is created by John Benjamins Publishing Company and FILLM.
It consists of a diploma and €1500,00.
For more information on The John Benjamins Prize, please visit the FILLM website

ESSE is a member of FILLM. The Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures (FILLM) is the official international body which represents the study of language and literature as research-based scholarly disciplines in universities and tertiary higher education institutions world-wide.

(posted 18 Februrary 2016)

Norms, practices and transgression in English for Specific Purposes: 38th International GERAS Conference
University of Lyon, France, 16-18 March 2017
New extended deadline for proposals: 18 December 2016

gerasLinguistics Research Center (EA 1663)

GERAS website:

Although a norm is traditionally defined as a set of practices designed to standardise an operation mode, it can also be seen as a dynamic process that contributes to the emergence or the disappearance of practices in terms of both time and space.

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) can be considered as a set of particular norms of various (e.g., lexico-grammatical, discursive, cultural) orders which influence practices and give language its “specific configuration” (Gledhill & Kübler 2016: 66). Such a configuration, which stems from the rules that govern each specialised domain, gives them their own identity and provides specialised discourses with features that are often immediately recognisable – whether it be a business sale contract, a scientific paper written in medical English or a company’s annual report. However, a distinction must be drawn between those typical cases in which the norm is transmitted explicitly through handbooks or training sessions and the more ambiguous situations where the norm can only be acquired by immersing oneself into the culture of the specialised communities. Characterising norms, whether they be explicit or implicit, thus requires the use of varied methodologies such as ethnography, genre analysis, corpus linguistics or terminological studies.

The observation of norms sheds light upon specialised discourses as a whole: the underlying values, the control mechanisms, the keepers of the “official expression of knowledge” (Dubois 2016: 26), etc. More specifically, the diachronic study of contexts allows to detect and identify new practices as well as potential transgressive phenomena which might in turn lead to new norms or even to the emergence of new domains.

This conference aims to address all kinds of issues about norms in ESP:

  • the epistemological function of norms– serving the finality of the domains and contributing to the definition of the specialised facets of language;
  • the role of norms in the transmission of specialised knowledge and know-how;
  • the role of norms in the way domains are appropriated by outsiders;
  • norms as markers distinguishing the practices that are consistent with the expectations of the specialised communities, regardless of the domain (e.g., law, economics and management, medicine), from those that are not;
  • the norms’ evolutionary and transgressive processes within the specialised domains.

All submissions (in English or French) should be sent to before December 18, 2016 (new extended deadline).

Participants are invited to submit a 300-to-400-word abstract, a title and a short biographical note.

This call for papers is also available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.


  • Dubois, Michel. 2016. Science as vocation? Discipline, profession and impressionistic sociology. ASp 69, 21-39.
  • Gledhill, Chris & Natalie Kübler. 2016. What can linguistic approaches bring to English for specific purposes? ASp 69, 65-96.

(posted 5 October 2016, updated 6 December 2016)

American Literature and the Philosophical
Paris, France, 23-25 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 September 2016

Taking literature as a mode of thinking and philosophy as a way of writing, this conference would like to interrogate the boundaries and explore the crossings between the philosophical and the literary in American literature from the Colonial era to the present. How has the philosophical, understood as a practice that exceeds inscription within philosophy as such, yet shares many of its presuppositions and intentions, participated in the making of American literature? And in what ways has American literature shaped and developed, altered and reoriented, disoriented perhaps, our modern conception of the ancient question of the philosophical? Rather than positing an American exceptionalism and viewing literature as the inevitable refuge of thought in an otherwise a-philosophical country—broadening too quickly Stanley Cavell’s argument for the nineteenth century—or postulating that the relationship between literature and philosophy in America runs a linear course that would go from relative disciplinary indistinction in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to discursive dispute after the invention of literature as we have come to know it in the wake of Romanticism, we wish to look at the many specific ways in which the literary and the philosophical intersect, question, provoke and unsettle one another within American texts (fiction, poetry, essay,…). We aim to investigate the wide array of forms and shapes that their relationship has taken—and continues to take—, whether dialogic or agonistic, intimate or distant, hospitable or hostile, and to examine, and perhaps challenge, traditional conceptions of priority and dependence, authority and antecedence. We are interested in panels, workshops and individual papers that engage with particular literary and philosophical conjunctures in the history of American literature (Puritanism, Transcendentalism, Modernism, Post-Modernism, to name but a few, obvious, vantage points), as well as in approaches that challenge periodization, offer new contextualizations, or claim anachronism to probe the untimely correspondence between American literature and philosophy. We are also interested in contributions that bring various philosophical modes and histories to bear upon American literature or that push philosophy beyond itself and enable an unhinging of thought from metaphysics, just as we encourage discussions of American religion(s), science(s), and technology, understood as native grounds for the entanglement of literature and philosophy and as loci for various conceptual oppositions that historically this entanglement has presupposed: figure and concept, language and thought, author and subject, representation and presentation, mimesis and praxis, muthos and logos, etc. Proposals on other aspects of the relation between American literature and the philosophical are more than welcome and will also be given full consideration. We welcome papers from doctoral students.

Deadline for all submissions: 1 September 2016.
Early submissions encouraged; early decisions possible.
Proposals (500 words in English or French) to be sent to:

(posted 22 March 2016)

Loose in Translation. Translating Wordplay.
Université de Lille, France, 23-24 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 March 2017

According to Bergson’s definition, wordplay (the comic created by language) is untranslatable, as opposed to the comic expressed by language. This impossibility is nevertheless overcome one way or another as translators find solutions every day: humour, a universal component, can always be translated thanks to equivalence. What immediately comes to mind is play on and with words (anagrams, antanaclasis, puns, spoonerism, paronomasia…), as well as linguistic play (linguistic creations meant to be humorous: portmanteau words, parody) and linguistic accidents resulting in involuntary wordplay.

If establishing such a typology of wordplay can be tempting, and even useful, humour does not respect convention or rules (be they moral or grammatical), and it calls upon the translator’s creativity. When dealing with the polysemy of wordplay, translators sometimes find a favourable symmetrical solution between languages, but more often than not, one of the original semes must be dropped – when a polysemic link no longer exists, translation becomes more a matter of recreation.

However, translating wordplay does not mean unconditional and unrestricted freedom. Limits define the playground of translation and, therefore, make playing actually possible. Far from restraining play, rules foster creativity within these fixed delimitations. Translating play-on-words questions the translation process in general as it shows there is a lot of give and take in language itself: language has a lot of play because it is inherently unstable, and it is thus necessary to keep some leeway within the mechanics of the translated text.

This conference encourages participants to take into account the cultural dimension of humour and wordplay. Humour will occur differently depending on context and culture. Translators therefore face a twofold challenge, as they need to negotiate the technical nature of wordplay without losing sight of a global framework.

For this interdisciplinary conference, we invite papers on translating wordplay in all languages, from or into French and English, in the literary and pragmatic fields: political, advertising, audiovisual discourses, taking into account the chosen corpus, the targeted audiences and editorial constraints. The conference languages will be English and French. The inscription fee, which includes breaks and lunches, is 100 euros per person (50 euros for PhD students). Please send your proposal (300 words max) and short CV to by 1st March 2016.

Registrations for the conference “Loose in Translation. translating Wordplays” are now open till February 20th. You’ll find the program online at
Do not hesitate to contact us if need be at :
You can access the registration form via the following link, and just have to follow the instructions online :

Organisation committee:

Frédérique Brisset (Université de Lille), Julie Loison-Charles (Université de Lille), Ronald Jenn (Université de Lille), Audrey Coussy (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle).
Université de Lille, Research team CECILLE, Axe Lexique et Traduction.
With the collaboration of Master MéLexTra and ALITHILA.

(posted 11 February 2017)

On the Uses of Forgetting
Université Toulouse 2, France, 24 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 December 2016

We tend to think of forgetting as a flaw, an oversight or a lapse of memory. To forget is to be unable to remember, or to lose the remembrance of one’s past. It is to become unconscious or unaware. Our inability to remember, think or recall people, events or experiences is likely to be interpreted as negligence or deficiency. It may be seen as the emblem of our vulnerable historical condition (Ricoeur), or else as the symptom of a traumatic past, of troubled personal or collective histories, with their obfuscations and distortions. In this one-day conference, we would like to move away from the abuses of forgetting to focus on a more positive understanding of it. We wish to consider the constructive uses, benefits and even virtues of forgetting.

In this way, forgetting can be considered as the springboard of memory (rather than its sheer negation), what makes recollection possible. If forgetfulness becomes beneficial, even productive, one may interrogate its relation to creativity and literary creation, oblivion becoming a means of freeing oneself from heritage and tradition. To forget may also heal and restore; it can be linked to reconciliation and appeasement, soothing and forgiveness.

More than its anthropological or psychoanalytical dimensions, we would like to consider the idiosyncratically literary aspects of forgetting. How is oblivion conceived and represented in British literature over the centuries?

Proposals – around 300 words – should be sent to Adèle Cassigneul ( and Sylvie Maurel ( by December 1st 2016.

(posted 5 October 2016)

The Relative and the Absolute in D.H.Lawrence’s Work: 31st International D.H.Lawrence Conference
Centre de recherches anglophones, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, France, 29-31 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 November 2016

The focus of the topic of the 2017 D.H Lawrence Conference is not restricted to the poetico-philosophical ideas which Lawrence expresses in his essays, notably in “The Crown” and “Fantasia of the Unconscious”. The aim is above all to address the way that such ideas connect with his artistic production. In “The Crown”, Lawrence asserts both that “All absolutes are prison-walls” and that “without something absolute, we are nothing”─ doing so with a touch of relativism and equivocation often to be found in his writings. The inquiry into Lawrence’s considerations on the absolute will lead the participants in the conference to reflect on his idiosyncratic form of spirituality and his attempts to convey it through his novels and poems. What he read about Einstein’s Theory of relativity in 1921 reinforced his belief in the importance of universal relatedness and personal relationships, along with his desire to reconcile the relative and the absolute. In Kangaroo, Richard Somers reflects that “even relativity is only relative. Relative to the absolute”. How is the meditation of this fictional character to be deciphered? How are we to assess the distinctions between Lawrence’s voice and the voice of his characters? And how is this interminable conflict between the antithetical claims of the absolute and of the relative resolved or balanced by way of the specific mode of expression and form that is proper to art ?

The deadline for proposals is 15 November 2016. Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 1 December 2016.

Please send a 200 word abstract to Ginette Roy

Organizing Committee : Ginette Roy, Cornelius Crowley, Stephen Rowley.

(posted 10 June 2016)

Migrations and borders in the United States: discourses, representations, imaginary contexts
University Grenoble Alpes, France, 29-31 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2016

Co-organized by:

  • Susanne Berthier-Foglar, Professor of American Studies, ILCEA4, University Grenoble Alpes
  • Paul OTTO, Professor of American History, George Fox University, Oregon, États-Unis

Migration studies are at the core of American history. Whether voluntary or involuntary, migrations peopled the continent. Waves of immigration have created an American identity which is continuously modified by new arrivals and changing patterns of cultural transmission and dominance. While cultural mobility seems to be an unstoppable global phenomenon, local resistance, mainly among minorities, is observed. Cultures—or cultural traits—also migrate on their own, disregarding borders.
The international borders of the United States have evolved from a moving ‘frontier’ line and have reached their present state in the 19th century. International borders have evolved from porous to tight, first on the Mexican border, and after 9/11, also on the Canadian border. ‘Borderland’ studies (Herbert Bolton) date back to the early decades of the 20th Century but experience a renewal. Other internal ‘borders’ are continuously shifting: borders between different land-use areas—protected vs unprotected, land lost or gained by Native American Nations, land claimed as Hispanic ‘land grants’, gentrified neighborhoods, urban sprawl and imploding cities.
The present conference aims to analyze the discourse, the representation and the imaginary contexts linked to migrations and borders in the United States. We welcome interdisciplinary proposals for papers in English and French from the fields of history, cultural, political and discourse studies, sociology, geography, and anthropology. The following themes may be discussed from an historic perspective or from a contemporary viewpoint:

  • Migrations, temporary or permanent, economic as well as touristic and educational; the impact of migrants on American society and identity,
  • New visions of border security; the cost of maintaining international borders,
  • Shifting identities in America, from the colonial period to the 21st century; constructed and re-constructed identities, diasporas,
  • Contact cultures, borderless cultures and local cultures; cultural mobility in the United States; the concept of cultural appropriation.

We accept papers in French or in English.
Deadline for proposals: December 15, 2016; you will receive an answer before January 15, 2017.
Proposals are accepted in English or French (250 words maximum plus short bio 80 words maximum) are to be sent on one page with postal and email address to:
Susanne Berthier-Foglar (Université Grenoble Alpes, France)
Paul OTTO (George Fox University, OR, Etats-Unis)

We cannot provide travel or lodging funds.
Selected papers will be published.
Conference URL:–86027.kjsp

(posted 9 September 2016)

Egocentrism and anthropocentrism in language and discourse
École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, 30-31 March 2017
Deadline for proposals: 10 July 2016

Organized by Laure Gardelle (ENS de Lyon, UMR ICAR) and Sandrine Sorlin (Aix-Marseille University, LERMA, Institut Universitaire de France)

This conference seeks to investigate the linguistic manifestations of egocentrism and anthropocentrism. While the existence of these two related, though distinct, phenomena is well established, the aim is to understand more specifically the extent of their influence on the structuring and interpretation of language and discourse, taking into account a wide range of languages and genres (political speech, computer-mediated communication, press articles, advertising, novels, letters, [auto]biographies, etc).

One well-established universal of language is the asymmetry in the treatment of animates (especially humans) and inanimates. For instance, in English, only those collective nouns that denote groups of humans, and more rarely, of animals, license plural override (e.g. <em>the committee are…</em>, <em>the herd are…</em> vs. *<em>the forest are…</em>). But this anthropocentric categorisation is in fact part of a more complex hierarchy of categorisation, which Croft (2003) names the ‘Extended Animacy Hierarchy’:
<blockquote><em>Extended Animacy Hierarchy</em>: first/second person pronouns &lt; third person pronoun &lt; proper name &lt; human common noun &lt; nonhuman animate common noun &lt; inanimate common noun
[‘&lt;’ means ‘outranks’]</blockquote>
The Extended Animacy Hierarchy involves three distinct, though related, dimensions (ibid.):
<blockquote>1) person (first/second &lt; third)
2) referentiality (pronoun &lt; proper name &lt; common noun)
3) animacy proper (human &lt; animate &lt; inanimate)</blockquote>
The hierarchy is of course mapped differently onto specific languages, in ways for which theoretical models have been put forward (e.g. semantic map models, Haspelmath 1997). But the universals also appear as constraints on the structure of the conceptual space and on the mapping between external function and grammatical form (Croft 2003).

The aim is therefore to understand first, to what extent the Hierarchy structures language and discourse (does it concern some areas more than others, does it have relatively ‘local’ effects, or can one propose a human- or self-based analysis of language?), and secondly, whether these constraints can be done away with, for pragmatic or innovative purposes.

In the field of linguistics, the conference will particularly welcome contributions on the following points of interest:
<li>what areas of language (e.g. elements of the lexicon, metaphorical orientation, perspectives based on empathy, syntactic structures) are affected by the Hierarchy, and why these? Studies on language acquisition may also provide helpful insights into this issue.</li>
<li>what exactly is the relationship between the three dimensions in the Hierarchy: in particular, is anthropocentrism just a broader manifestation of egocentrism (as the speaker is a human being)? Do the dimensions overlap, or have complementary linguistic distributions?</li>
<li>what is the relationship between the Hierarchy and the closely related notion of embodiment, defined by Lakoff (1987) as the idea that ‘the core of our conceptual systems is directly grounded in perception, body movement, and experience of a physical and social character’? The notion of embodiment itself has many different definitions, so that further investigation, specifically in relation to the self and humans, will be welcome.</li>
<li>do egocentrism and/or anthropocentrism have a more significant structuring influence than other recurring semantic criteria of noun categorisation systems (i.e. gender/classifiers)? In particular, is humanness more prevalent than animacy and sex, the other two ‘core semantic characteristics’ of such systems (Aikhenvald 2003)?</li>
In the fields of discourse analysis, stylistics and pragmatics, papers investigating the extent to which anthropocentric and egocentric perspectives constrain both encoding / reading processes and interpersonal exchanges will be particularly welcome, as well as papers exploring how these very constraints can be circumvented for creative purposes. The following points offer suggestions and possible fields of investigation:
<li>novels are traditionally written in the first or third person singular, first-person narratives allegedly fostering in the reader some greater degree of ‘empathy’ with the narrator-protagonist than third-person narratives can generate with the characters referred to – which would be in line with the order of the Extended Animacy Hierarchy. What place would then ‘you narratives’ occupy on the empathy continuum? Do they leave more room for the reader, by de-centering speaker-centered narration? In terms of empathy and projection, similar questions could be raised concerning the recent fictional use of the first- and third- person plural narratives (‘we’ or ‘they’) (Richardson 2006).</li>
<li>beyond personal pronouns, talks may investigate the linguistic, pragmatic and stylistic markers of an excessively egocentric narrative or, conversely, an excessively altruistic one (with a narrator/speaker who has failed on his/her way to socialization because of psychological or neurological impairment for instance).</li>
<li>cognitive stylistics (see Stockwell’s ‘empathy scale’, 2009) has shown that readers naturally tend to focus on ‘human attractors’ more than on animals or inanimates. What could then be of interest are creative instances that challenge this instinctive anthropocentric way of reading by having a non-human or post-human narrator for instance.</li>
<li>the notion of ‘egocentrism’ seems particularly adapted to a contemporary society which evinces what Blatt et al. (2015) term the ‘rise of narcissism’: how is the ‘me, myself and I’ staged in diverse social networks? Studies of Computer-Mediated Communication reveal that the new media influence language use and its probable evolution (for instance speakers are led to speak of themselves in the third person: *runs to the kitchen*; see Virtanen 2015). Egocentrism and anthropomorphism are also combined in ads personifying objects with instructions such as ‘try me’ or ‘I open easily’ for instance (see Wales 2015): how does this egocentric bias affect the position of the addressee?</li>
<li>are similar devices used by politicians to create some form of empathy or identification with those they seek to convince while pushing for ‘egocentric’ ideas? The resort to the first person plural (‘we’) is one typical instance of declared altruism and concealed egocentrism.</li>
<li>in the field of pragmatics, ‘politeness’ as theoreticians see it is a way of practising self-effacement in favour of the other. Although altruism can be fake in politeness (Leech 2014), the question may be asked as to whether ‘genuine’ altruism is possible. Is a more agonistic version of politeness theories necessary? In other words, is ‘communicative altruism’ a form of concealed self-centreness? Or is this individualistic aspect an eminently (Western) culture-centered phenomenon?</li>
Keynote speakers:
Greville G. Corbett, Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of Surrey and member of the Surrey Morphology Group
Elena Semino, Professor of Linguistics and Verbal Art at Lancaster University

Advisory Board:
Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, James Cook University; Pierre Cotte, Université Paris-Sorbonne; Monique de Mattia-Viviès, Aix-Marseille Université; Andrea Macrae, Oxford Brooks University; Aliyah Morgenstern, Université Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle; Brian Richardson, University of Maryland; Wilfrid Rotgé, Université Paris-Sorbonne; Alison Sealey, Lancaster University; Tuija Virtanen, Abo Akademi; Lindsay J. Whaley, Dartmouth College; Sara Whiteley, University of Sheffield

Deadline for submission: July 10 2016
Notification of acceptance: September 10 2016
Proposals of around 300 words, together with a short bio, should be sent to both Laure Gardelle and Sandrine Sorlin” in French or in English. The main language of the conference will be English.
Selected papers will be considered for publication (in English).

(posted 11 March 2016)

Echoes of Echo in British Literature from the Renaissance to the Present
Amiens, France, 30 March – 1 April 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2016

Venue: Logis du Roy, Amiens
An international conference organized by: Université de Picardie – Jules Verne, CORPUS (EA 4295) and Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, CREA (EA 370)
Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Véronique Gély (Université Paris-Sorbonne) and Prof. Philip Hardie (Trinity College, University of Cambridge)
Conference website:

While the mythological figure of Narcissus has become a common topic in literature and the arts, Echo, the nymph, can hardly be said to have elicited the same amount of interest. And yet, although Echo cannot speak for herself and has consequently been overlooked in criticism, her voice might still be heard reverberating today, and be worth listening to. Indeed, the nymph who was sentenced by divine law to repeat part of another’s words might also produce new meaning through this very process of deferral and alteration. Beyond the stereotype of a disembodied and petrified shadow blending into the landscape, we would like to consider Echo as the epitome of literary (re)creation: although her discourse follows, rather than leads, it is always new and can thus undermine notions of authority and authorship. In the wake of John Hollander’s and Véronique Gély’s ground-breaking works, The Figure of Echo: A Mode of Allusion in Milton and After (1981), La Nostalgie du moi : Écho dans la littérature européenne (2000), this conference will study Echo’s mythological, acoustical and metaphorical manifestations in the specific field of British literature, across different genres (poetry, drama, essay-writing and fiction) and through different theoretical approaches, from the Renaissance to the present.

This topic will be studied from three different angles:

  • The mythological figure of Echo: how was Ovid’s narrative translated, received, reinterpreted throughout the centuries? What kind of “metamorphoses” has Echo undergone? What is specific about the reception of the myth in the British Isles?
  • The echo as an acoustic phenomenon: participants will be encouraged to look at the representations of echoes in fiction, poetry and drama, but also to study echoes as a mode of representation, particularly stylistic devices based on repetition
  • The echo as a type of literary allusion: what characterizes the echo as a form of intertextual reference? How does the altering repetition of the words of others carry and create meaning? The aim will not be to list or present examples of intertextual echoes but to try to define the specificity of echoes as allusive devices, as compared with other intertextual phenomena.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Translations and reinterpretations of the myth of Echo and Narcissus (Ovid) or the myth of Echo and Pan (Longus) in the British Isles.
  • The dialogue with Echo as a literary genre (including echo-poems).
  • Rhetorical devices based on echoes.
  • The echo as the voice of nature in pastorals.
  • The lyrical subject as an embodiment of Echo, both voicing and interpreting the song of nature.
  • Soundscapes: shores, lakes, caves, cliffs, cavities or monuments.
  • Echoes of the lost voices of the dead in elegiac texts.
  • The echo as the embodiment of the author’s voice, reverberating in the reader’s mind, and as a symbol of fame and posterity.
  • Echoes as the projection of irrational fears (in the Gothic Novel, for instance).
  • Narrative echoes that shape differed, diffracted or multiple forms of enunciation.
  • The echo as endless repetition threatening meaning.
  • The echo as a form of ironical repetition.
  • Echo as the embodiment of secondary, subordinate, subdued voices (as theorized by Gayatri Spivak in the concept of “a-phonia”).
  • Echo as a figure of the translator who says “almost the same thing” (to use Umberto Eco’s phrase).

We welcome proposals for 25-minute papers (in English or in French) on the above-mentioned topics.
Please send abstracts of about 300 words, together with a short (100-word) author biography, to the organizers, Marie Laniel, Laetitia Sansonetti and Aurélie Thiria-Meulemans by 30 June 2016, at:
A selection of peer-reviewed articles based on papers given at the conference will be published in Polysemes:

(posted 19 April 2016)

What’s New in Queer Studies?: First CIRQUE (Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca Queer) Conference
L’Aquila, Italy, 31 March – 2 April 2017
Deadline for proposal: 30 September 2016

In the late 1980s, theorists such as Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Teresa De Lauretis questioned and redefined existing discourses on identity, gender and sexuality, and called for new critical engagements in order to challenge the supposedly ‘natural’ and stable correspondence between sex, gender and desire. This resulted in the creation of the hybrid epistemic field of queer studies, which has led in turn to multiple, evolving theoretical recodifications and deconstructions of supposedly fixed and coherent identity categories.
The intersections of sex/sexuality studies, gender studies, and queer theories have productively influenced and stimulated reflection within and across many disciplines. Explorations of the embodied sexed/gendered/queer self have enabled critics to interrogate and deconstruct the methodological and epistemic foundations (as well as the tacit assumptions and colonizing grasp) of such disciplines. The production of knowledge has thus been shown to inhere in operations of power, which both authorize and constitute legitimate subjects and objects, at all levels of practice and discourse. These critical explorations have called into question Western modernity’s disciplinary regime itself, both as biopolitics – in its need of calculable and identifiable bodies – and, increasingly, beyond it, as bodies are molecularized into digits and data bundles, materialized only when in a state of flux, refigured as transformable.
Moreover, queer has shown its usefulness as an analytic and political category well beyond the questioning of sex and gender. At the most abstract, and at the same time most concrete level, it allows us to interrogate in the most radical way the categories through which
every society determines the destiny of its members, and to dismantle the machinery of domination and exclusion which is implicit in them and which is deployed through them.
Accordingly, the first conference organised by CIRQUE– Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca Queer (Inter-University Centre for Queer Research – wishes to engage with critical debates on queer issues in a variety of fields and encourages both analytical readings and practice-based workshops spanning all disciplines.
As well as an opportunity for global, multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary reflections on queer issues, defined in the broadest and most inclusive terms, the conference aims to queer the very modalities through which knowledge and cultural practices are articulated, shared, discussed and validated within and beyond the academic environment. One important aspect of this is that sessions will not be organized as presentations but as discussions: the full text of all contributions will be made available in advance, so that the contact time between presenters and audience will be devoted to a group discussion in order to maximize audience engagement and participation. All presenters will have the option to submit a revised version of their papers to Whatever, the peer-reviewed, open access, international online journal of CIRQUE; one of the aims of this format is to help strengthen their arguments with a view to subsequent publication. The relevant issue of Whatever will be published by the end of 2017.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Marie-Hélène/Sam Bourcier (Universitè Lille III, France)
  • Laura Corradi (Università della Calabria, Italy)
  • Carmen Dell’Aversano (Università di Pisa, Italy)
  • Massimo Fusillo (Università dell’Aquila, Italy)
  • Marco Pustianaz (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy)
  • William Spurlin (Brunel University, United Kingdom).

We welcome intercultural and interdisciplinary approaches and invite proposals for papers, panels, round-table sessions, thematic workshops, performances and other queerings of formats on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Queer Embodiments
  • Animal Queer
  • Neuroqueer and Neurodiversity
  • The Queer Politics of Migration
  • Queer Legal Theory
  • Queer Economies
  • Queer Pedagogy
  • Queer Genealogies: History, Memory, Identities
  • Queering Categories of Race
  • Queer Crip
  • Transnational and Cross-Cultural Queerness
  • Queer Pornographies
  • Queer Kinship
  • Queer and Posthuman
  • Queer Heterosexualities
  • Queer and Mainstream Culture
  • Queer Temporalities
  • Queer Spatialities
  • Queer and Post-Queer
  • Queer Ethics
  • Queer Performativity
  • Queer Feminism(s)
  • Queer Activisms
  • Queer Anarchism(s)
  • Queer Hermeneutics

Those wishing to participate should send a 300-word abstract (for papers) or a 2-page outline for other activity formats (round-tables, workshops, performances…), together with a brief bio (including contact details) by September, 30, 2016 to:
Participants will be notified of acceptance by October, 31, 2016.
The time for individual papers in parallel sessions will be 30 minutes. Time slots for other activities will be negotiated with the presenters. As mentioned, all presenters will be asked to share papers, and detailed descriptions of other activities, with all participants by March 1st, 2017.
Conference registration will be E50 for tenured faculty, E25 for everyone else; this will include coffee breaks. If you feel strongly about participating but have serious economic issues which make it difficult for you to do so, please write to explain your predicament: we
might be able to help.
All food at the conference will be vegan, not only because of the sizable intersection between queer and animal rights theorists and activists, but because this policy makes it possible to provide for a number of dietary requirements in the most practical way. If you
have additional food issues we should be considering, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate them.
L’Aquila is the capital of Abruzzo, in central Italy. Although the city centre was hit by an earthquake in April 2009, both the city and its surroundings remain popular destinations for travellers who want to enjoy the naturalistic beauties of Parco del Gran Sasso and the quaint
charm of little medieval towns such as Celano, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Rocca Calascio, Campo Imperatore, Bominaco. The city itself still offers a number of interesting destinations such as the Spanish Fort, the San Bernardino and Collemaggio basilicas, and the Fountain of the 99 spouts. Restoration and rebuilding are ongoing, and the interesting collections of two museums (MUNDA for ancient art up to the XVIII century, MUSPAC for contemporary art), as well as the city centre itself, are again becoming accessible. L’Aquila can be reached in 90 minutes from Rome by either car or bus.

(posted 22 June 2016)