Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in September 2017

Decolonial Turns, Postcolonial Shifts and Cultural Connections: English Academy of Southern Africa 2017 International Conference
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 6-8 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor EllekeBoehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford
  • Professor PitikaNtuli, South African poet, sculptor, public intellectual, insanusi and former University of Durban-Westville

This conference focusses on decolonial turns and postcolonial shifts in English writings, and on the ownership of English today: how the Commonwealth and other English-using polities are assimilating, adapting and re-inventing the global lingua franca to advance education and reflect the culture, individuality and rapidly changing nature of these societies. Is English proving itself a malleable and useful instrument in economic advancement and cultural development, or is it dominating countries and regions as an oppressive political or cultural behemoth, and thwarting advance? That is the question.

The English Academy of Southern Africa interests itself in all aspects of English literary and language studies, encouraging research and debate in these fields across the globe. Uniquely in the world, the multilingualism underwritten by the South African Constitution guarantees rights for all the official languages of South Africa. This challenging constitutional provision and the Academy’s commitment to an evolving and inclusive linguistic and cultural ecology, nationally, regionally and internationally, coalesce in its concern for preserving and developing linguistic and cultural ecologies. Consciously treating language, literature and culture from an ecological perspective invites the fresh and innovative perspectives which form the central focus of this conference.

Papers are welcome in all areas of English scholarship but particularly where research explores English as a force for effective change in postcolonial environments. Engagement with literacy in its broad Freirean definition is particularly welcomed. This conference examines how English literacy is being used, and could be used further, as a means of individual enlightenment and effective social amelioration and advance. Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all and can play a large role in eradicating poverty, ensuring sustainable development and disseminating democratic principles. Language education papers should reflect the conference focus on English as a transformative and dynamic force, whether within the southern African region or elsewhere in the world.

Papers dealing with topics and issues related to any of these areas in English literature, education, language and literacy are invited from colleagues throughout the world. There will be a 20 minute time slot for each paper with 10 minutes associated discussion. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Selected papers will be offered publication in the English Academy of Southern Africa’s accredited and peer-reviewed journal, The English Academy Review.

The conference programme will be organised around themes and issue-centred concerns, and there will be a core of invited contributions on these topics. We invite papers on the following or related themes:

Sub-themes include but are not confined to the following areas:

  • The decolonial turn in English literature
  • Disrupting the English curriculum
  • Circling definitions: Commonwealth/ Postcolonial/ Transnational/ Diasporal
  • Postcolonial writings
  • Short-circuiting genre: literary experimentation
  • Linguistic ecologies
  • Cross cultural translation
  • Writings from the Commonwealth
  • Language and education
  • Language policy, theory and practice
  • Language and (social) media, television and film
  • Language, culture, gender and identity
  • Language and transformation
  • Technology and the teaching of English

Several outstanding speakers of international stature will deliver plenary addresses at the conference. The programme consists of three days of plenary presentations and a diverse range of concurrent workshops and parallel sessions for paper presentations. The academic programme will be complemented by social activities including a welcome reception, a poetry reading festival and a closing gala dinner. This conference will be one of the most significant events on the English studies calendar for 2017.

Guidelines and instructions:
An abstract not exceeding 300 words should be submitted by e-mail as an Ms Word file accompanied by the following information:

  • Title, full names and surname:
  • Institutional affiliation:
  • E-mail address:
  • Telephone:
  • Postal address and postal code:
  • Full title of the paper:

Submission of abstracts:
Final Deadline for abstract submission: 30 April 2017. Colleagues are encouraged to send their abstracts early as the conference can accommodate only a limited number of papers. Abstracts should be sent to the English Academy:

All abstracts will be peer reviewed.

(posted 11 February 2017)

Forms of the Supernatural on Stage: Evolution, Mutations: Fifteenth Round Table on Tudor Theatre
Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Université François-Rabelais de Tours, France,  7-8 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2016

The subject presents an obvious specific interest in the English context, given the impact of the religious reforms (and counter-reforms) over the sixteenth century. On the one hand, the medieval biblical plays, miracles and moralities disappeared (though in chronologically and geographically uneven fashion), while, despite sporadic upsurges of a theatre of Protestant propaganda, the dramatic representation of sacred personages and explicitly religious themes became progressively more difficult, to the point of near-impossibility. On the other hand, from the development of the Elizabethan public theatre in the 1570s, playwrights found indirect and innovative means of dramatising spiritual issues and entities. With respect to dramatic works ranging from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century, contributors to the Round Table will attempt to identify points of rupture and continuity in evolving dramaturgical practices, taking into account the operations of censorship, as well as questions of genre, the mentality of spectators, and staging techniques.
Proposals (200-300 words) for 30-minute papers in English should be directed to Richard Hillman ( by 15 December 2016.

(posted 16 October 2016)

Reading Michèle Roberts
University of Lodz, Poland, 7-8 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 June, 2017

Special guest speaker: Michèle Roberts

Michèle Roberts is an author who escapes easy classifications, her books being as rich and complex as her personal history and the sources of her inspiration. Born in an Anglo-French family and raised in a repressive Catholic background, she has blossomed into a writer who draws inspiration from this complex heritage without being inhibited by its limitations. In consequence, her oeuvre—which includes novels, short stories, poems, essays and theatrical plays—offers a seemingly effortless marriage of oppositions. Like no other contemporary writer, Roberts combines spirituality with sensuality, engages literary tradition in the service of radical experiment and employs religious motifs and images to express progressive feminist ideas. Provocative and witty, her work ranges far beyond the trio of “food, sex and God” that she jokingly named as her principal thematic concerns.

The conference offers a rare opportunity to reflect on Michèle Roberts’s achievement by bringing together scholars interested in her writings. Papers are invited on all aspects of the author’s work. They may concentrate on particular texts or address recurrent themes, motifs and formal strategies. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • spirituality and religion
  • feminist theology
  • sensuality, desire and sexuality
  • literary representation of sensory experience
  • (maternal) body
  • male/female dynamics
  • family dynamics
  • female space(s)
  • feminine experience and identity
  • history, memory and the past
  • intertextuality: tradition and the practice of “writing back”
  • historical, literary and biblical inspirations
  • narrative technique and formal experiments
  • metafictionality
  • representations of London / representations of small-town France
  • language, symbolism, recurrent images and metaphors
  • society, ideology and politics

We take pleasure in announcing that Michèle Roberts has kindly accepted our invitation to be a special guest speaker during the conference. Her presence will give the participants a unique opportunity to discuss their research ideas with the author.

Proposed presentations should be 20 minutes long. Please submit an abstract of 200-300 words, including the title of your presentation and a brief academic CV to The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2017 and the participants will be notified by 15 June 2017.

For further details, see conference site:

Conference fee:
Early bird fee (paid until 31 July 2017)
Polish academics: 350 PLN
Foreign academics: 100 EUR
Polish Ph.D. candidates: 250 PLN
Foreign Ph.D. candidates: 70 EUR
Regular fee (paid until 31 August 2017)
Polish academics: 450 PLN
Foreign academics: 130 EUR
Polish Ph.D. candidates: 250 PLN
Foreign Ph.D. candidates: 100 EUR

Conference organisers: Marta Goszczyńska, Tomasz Dobrogoszcz

(posted 29 March 2017)

Translation and Language Teaching
Maribor, Slovenia, 7-8 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 20 May 2017

The conference attempts to continue the dialogue between Translation Studies and Foreign Language Didactics with a view to providing a forum for international researchers and practitioners from both disciplines. We would also like to enlist your help in spreading the information about the conference among your colleagues and students.

The topics of the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Definition(s) of translation
  • Translanguaging
  • Plurilingualism and mediation
  • Language competence
  • Translation competence
  • Language curricula
  • Translation and language learning
  • Translation and language teaching
  • Translation in FLT/SLT contexts
  • Translation in other learning contexts
  • Language teaching in translator and interpreter training
  • Language teaching in general language instruction
  • Translation and language teaching in academia
  • Didactic approaches in language teaching.

Keynote speakers:

  • Dorothy Kelly, Univerity of Granada, Spain
  • Nike Kocijančič Pokorn, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

As an additional way of encouraging student research, the conference will also be hosting a Student Poster Session.
We welcome abstracts of some 250 words for 20-minute research papers and for posters by 20 May 2017.
The working language of the conference is English.

More information in the attached Call for Papers and at or

(posted 2 May 2017)

​Ford and the Other
Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France, 7-9 September 2017
​New extended deadline for proposals: 21 May 2017

A Conference organised by the Ford Madox Ford International Society and the Études Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone (EMMA)

Proposals are invited for an international conference on Ford Madox Ford and ‘the other’.

​The principle underlying Max Saunders’s magisterial biography on Ford is that of duality; of a man forever oscillating between differing versions of himself; between public and inner life; tradition and modernity; reality and authenticity. As Saunders reminds us, a writer’s life, according to Ford, is ‘a dual affair’; and this tenet seems relevant both as regards Ford’s life as a writer and his theoretical and literary writing. At the core of duality lies the idea that one is also always another.

The concepts of alterity and otherness could include the following approaches to Ford and his contemporaries:

  • Ford and empathy;
  • Ford and altruism;
  • The autobiographic dimension of his fictional and critical work – reinventing oneself as other, and conversely, discovering oneself in others;
  • Questions of race, nationality, and gender;
  • Another fruitful topic is the question of alterity in terms of other times – for instance with reference to Ford’s historical novels – and other modes of being.
  • Questions of otherness could also involve the Doppelganger motif, which is central to such novels as Henry for Hugh or The Rash Act, but also prevalent in much of Ford’s fictional work.

We welcome papers from established and new scholars which investigate connections with other writers, such as Richard Aldington, Vera Brittain, Elizabeth Bowen, Joseph Conrad, H.D., T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Oliver Madox Hueffer, Violet Hunt, Henry James, David Jones, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, Rose Macaulay, Marcel Proust, Siegfried Sassoon, May Sinclair, Edward Thomas, Rebecca West, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf.

Suggested theoretical frameworks may involve, but should not be limited to, Sigmund Freud; Emmanuel Lévinas; Alain Badiou; Paul Ricœur; Derek Attridge.

We welcome proposals of around 300 words for 20-minutes papers. These should be sent to the conference organiser, Isabelle Brasme (, by 21 May 2017.

(posted 2 May 2017)

Erotema: Conference on Rhetoric and Literature
Karlstad University, Sweden, 14–16 September 2017
New extended deadline for proposals: 10 MAY 2017

Could rhetoric play a more central role in literary studies than it hitherto has? Do both fields stand something to gain by a closer collaboration? Might such a combination of perspectives even be a means to open up rhetoric and literary studies alike to other disciplines, such as media studies, language studies, art history and pedagogy?

Erotema: A Conference on Rhetoric and Literature proceeds on the assumption that although questions of the above order may seem mere rhetorical questions – erotemata – to some of us, they demand genuine answers. To that end, we invite papers that address old and new ways in which the relations between rhetoric and literature may be further explored. Proposals of 300-400 words for 20-minute papers dealing with rhetoric and literature in relation to the history of literature and/or rhetoric, language studies, translation studies, historical studies, teaching, subject specific teaching methodology, media theory, genre theory, political theory, gender studies, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, or any other topic, should be sent to, by January 13, 2016.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Roy Eriksen, Xing Lu, Richard Walsh, Andrzej Warminski, and Laura Wilder.

For more information on the conference and the speakers, please visit the conference web-site:

New extended deadline for proposals: 10 May 2017

Erotema is organized by KuFo, the culture studies research group at Karlstad University.

(posted 10 October 2016, updated 29 March 2017)

Globalisation: 2017 Convention of the Postcolonial Studies Association
School of Advanced Study, Senate House, University of London, UK, 18-20 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 28 February 2017

We are pleased to announce that the 2017 PSA Convention will be held at the School of  Advanced Study, Senate House, University of London, from 18th to 20th September 2017. Paper and panel proposals are invited from academics, scholars and postgraduates with research interests in any area of postcolonial studies from any disciplinary, cross- or interdisciplinary perspective.

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr. Sharae Deckard (University College Dublin)
Other keynotes to be confirmed shortly

2017 PSA Convention website

The Special Topic of the 2017 Convention is Globalisation. Proposals for panels and papers on this theme are particularly encouraged.
While the transregional history of globalisation can be traced back to antiquity, its discursive entanglement with the temporal realm of the ‘postcolonial’ has been the subject of much discussion and analysis in recent times. The 2017 convention seeks to investigate the crucial role of postcolonial studies in furthering newer understandings of economic, political and cultural globalisation in the light of the current international climate: the complex socio-political ramifications of the Brexit verdict, Trump’s electoral victory, or the European refugee crisis, which
have come to be regarded as the reactionary ‘whitelash’ against globalisation.
Harnessing the philosophical scope of the postcolonial field, our special topic aims to examine the nexus between a ‘neoliberal’ grand-narrative and ‘neocolonial racism’ as a mainstream ideological position in both the North and South. How are these ongoing developments in the global North perceived by peoples and communities in the global South? How is the North/South binary interrogated by the liminal story spaces of illegal immigrants, temporary workers, refugees and asylum seekers? How might we postulate an alternative global economy? In what ways could
informal citizenship practices collaborate with radical discourses of ecofeminism, or the transnational agency of a globalised digital resistance, to pose a concerted challenge to the reductive hierarchies of neocolonial racism? In what ways might postcolonial analyses of cultural production account for globalisation within the current economic and political conjuncture?

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for 20-minute individual
papers and 500 words for panels of three, along with a brief biographical note of participants (2-3 sentences max), to
he deadline for the receipt of abstracts is Tuesday, 28th February 2017.

(posted 26 Januarey 2017)

à corps perdu: The Body: limits, constructions, intensity. International PhD Conference
Università di Verona, Italy, 20-22 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017

“Nous habitons notre corps bien avant de le penser”
Albert Camus

The body has been the object of manifold re-definitions, and yet it remains an undiscovered territory, bordering on the uncanny. It is a nomadic entity, a witness of history, of stasis and movement. While various forms of knowledge can but asymptotically touch the body, art gives a kaleidoscopic representation of it. Existence seems to be the only common ground of this whirlwind of art, science and philosophy. Indeed, for all human beings, to exist means, more than anything, to adhere to the body that we are. The body turns into the precondition not only of every gesture, but also of every thought. And yet it seems absurd to reduce existence to its biological dimension only. Whereas grasping the irreducible complexity of the body is at the core of the scientific project, voicing it is the ill-concealed destiny of literature. If, according to Nietzsche, “only that which has no history can be defined”, we face here an irreducible complexity that escapes the realm of words, an elusive swerve that is nonetheless intimately tied to life. This conference aims at theoretically thinking the multi-faceted core of being in the world, the body.

Proposals are not limited to, but may address any of the following topics:

The altered body

  1. Body and illness
  2. Body and trauma
  3. Body and suffering
  4. The fragmented body

The transformations of the body

  1. The Seasons of the body: from childhood to old age
  2. Pregnancy, maternity, abortion
  3. Suicide and euthanasia
  4. The dead body
  5. The mask and the double
  6. Obesity and anorexia
  7. The body and the Other

The limits of the body

  1. The self vs the body
  2. The body as jail
  3. The body of the Other
  4. Cyborg

Body and sexuality

  1. Sexual satisfaction
  2. Sexual dependency
  3. Transexuality, intersexuality
  4. Sexual orientation
  5. Sado-masochism

Body and culture

  1. Religion
  2. Rites of passage
  3. Death rituals
  4. Reincarnation
  5. Anthroporfism and zoomorfism
  6. The body as political act
  7. Body’s rights
  8. Body trade

Body and arts

  1. Body art
  2. Performance art
  3. Actual body and virtual body

Abstracts: The Conference is addressed to PhD students and researchers who have no more than 5 years post- Doctoral experience. Please submit an abstract of 250 words as well as a short biography of 100 words by April 30, 2017 to the following address: The time limit for each presentation is 20 minutes, followed by discussion. All submissions should be written in English or Italian.

Organising and scientific committee: Giulia Angonese, Francesca Dainese, Andrea Nicolini, Carlo Vareschi

Address: Università degli Studi di Verona, Via San Francesco 22, 37129 Verona, Italy.

(posted 22 March 2017)

Between Texts and Theory: Transnational Conrad
University of Limoges, France, 21-22 September, 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017

EA 1087 EHIC (Espaces Humains et Interactions Culturelles) & Société Conradienne Française, with the support of Associazione Italiana di Studi Conradiani

Joseph Conrad’s work has acquired a symbolic status in contemporary globalized culture. After 9/11, The Secret Agent “became one of the three works of literature most frequently cited in the American media”[1] and the same happened after the November 2015 attacks in Paris. His colonial fictions in particular have in the past decades become a contentious site of debate, as a great number of critics have chosen them as case studies for the application of postcolonial theory. Few other polemics in the field of English Studies have equalled the early responses to Chinua Achebe’s essay in which Conrad is called a “thoroughgoing racist” – an accusation that has changed for ever the reception and evaluation of Heart of Darkness. And yet, Conrad is also mentioned as a major source of inspiration by contemporary writers worldwide with, for instance, dozens of novels inspired by Heart of Darkness alone (not to mention the films, graphic novels, the multiple translations and re-translations, etc.). In all these cases, his works have been appropriated by people with very personal agendas that have little to do with the original texts.

As someone born in Poland, brought up as a Francophile, writing in English, it seems that “the whole of Europe contributed to the making of” Mr Conrad, giving him a transnational dimension: his works mirror this cultural and linguistic diversity and this is also why, perhaps, they have constantly been re-interpreted according to changing critical trends and ideological perspectives. In the process, however, the literary and aesthetic dimension of his novels has often been forgotten in favour of the debate of ideas. Yet Conrad was also an experimenter, playing with forms, genres, narrative modes, literary conventions.

We would like to interrogate our reading of Conrad nowadays, from a transnational perspective in order to explore how his approach to fiction makes it possible for us to question the way we read novels as aesthetic and ethical artefacts in the contemporary world.

We wish to address such issues as:

  • Conrad and ideology
  • Conrad between theory and close reading
  • Conrad as European icon
  • Conrad as English writer and transnational author
  • Conrad as a “chamber of echoes” for a diversity of cultures, languages, genres, traditions
  • Conrad’s influence on contemporary literature
  • Conrad’s relevance in the contemporary landscape
  • Multidisciplinary approaches of Conrad
  • Reading Conrad after/in spite of Achebe

All proposals should be addressed before 30 April 2017 to:

Nathalie Martinière: or

A selection of papers will be published in L’Epoque Conradienne

[1] Peter Lancelot Mallios, “Reading The Secret Agent Now: The Press, the Police, the Premonition of simulation” in Conrad in the Twenty-First Century. Contemporary Approaches and Perspectives, ed. by Carola M. Kaplan, Peter Lancelot Mallios, Andrea White, New York: Routledge, 2005, 155.

(posted 23 January 2017)

First Student Conference on Anglophone Studies
University of Vienna, Austria, 21-23 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 16 June 2017

The students’ union of the English Department of the University of Vienna is delighted to announce its first student conference on Anglophone Studies which will take place from the 21st to the 23rd of September 2017 at the department of English and American studies building in Vienna, Austria.

The conference’s aim is to provide a platform for students to present their topics and share their ideas and scientific approaches in a professional context and to engage in valuable discussions about various topics within Anglophone Studies with other students.

We perceive Anglophone Studies as an interdisciplinary academic field studying the English language as well as literatures, cultures and media of English-speaking countries and therefore welcome any contributions from the areas of

  • English Linguistics
  • Anglophone Literary Studies
  • Anglophone Cultural and Media Studies

One conference day will be dedicated to each of those areas, the final schedule will be provided on the conference website

Application details

For your application, please submit a PDF-file containing the following information in English:

  • (Preliminary) title of your presentation
  • Abstract (200-300 words)
  • Research level/scope of your underlying research project (term paper/project, seminar paper, BA thesis, MA thesis, PhD thesis, personal research project)
  • Key references (which do not count towards the abstract’s word count)
  • Short biographical note

Your talk should be approx. 20 minutes long (10 minutes additionally for discussion) and should be given in English.

Please send an e-mail with your application in English to by June 16th, 2017. You will be informed by July 2nd, 2017 whether you have been selected to present your project at the conference. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have any further questions.

Conference details

There will be no conference fee, our students’ conference can be attended by anyone free of charge. Snacks and beverages will be provided during breaks. However, we cannot give any reimbursements on your travel or accommodation fees.

(posted 2 May 2017)

“‘Literary Offenses’ and Other Contentious Matter”: A one-day conference on Literary Controversy in Great Britain and the United States (1800-1900)
University of Burgundy, France, 22 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017

This one-day conference will address the subject of controversial or polemical texts such as reviews, essays, letters, prefaces and/or postfaces published between 1800 and 1900 in Britain and the United States. It seeks to open fresh approaches to controversies or polemics by focusing on literature and the literary aspects of these questions. Indeed, if controversy can be defined as a debate between two or more parties with different viewpoints before an audience, studies have mainly come from the fields of social sciences and science studies, with some interest in rhetoric and/or argumentation. However, literary controversies are as important as scientific ones for the constitution of the public, democratic debate as it was shaped in Britain and in the U.S. in the nineteenth century. Controversies and polemics contributed to legitimizing some literary genres; they gave publicity to new or avant-garde authors; they redefined the content and contours of the public debate.

Surprisingly, most controversies or polemics have elicited scant attention from literary or cultural scholars: no single history of controversy either in the U.S. or Britain exists, and partial histories or studies of more limited controversies are rare. This one-day conference seeks to address such neglect and to bring together scholars in literature, history, cultural studies or rhetoric interested in various quarrels, scandals, polemics and debates of the nineteenth century. Transatlantic perspectives are especially encouraged.

If we envisage controversy as a means of reconfiguring both the literary field and the public debate, perspectives could include:

  • reasons for controversies and polemics in literature
  • issues of nationhood and/or ethnic/sexual/religious identity
  • personal/group legitimacy and authorship
  • the meaning and value of agreements and disagreements and their consequences on the public debate
  • participants, institutional positions, and degrees of involvement in controversies
  • the different media used in controversies (which periodicals? which formats?)
  • the discursive conditions of debate, and the constraints at work in literary controversies
  • the issue of explicit or implicit limits, and transgression: when does a polemic morph into a full-fledged controversy?
  • the beginning, development, and ending of controversies: is there a pattern for nineteenth-century literary controversies?
  • The importance of literary controversy as opposed to other controversies for re-shaping both literature and the public debate
  • The place of literary controversy/polemic in literary history

Proposals can address, but are not limited to, controversies such as ‘the fleshly school of poetry’, the definition of ‘modern culture’, literary realism vs romance, obscenity in fiction, literary nationalism (including British attacks on American literature & American defences—and criticisms—of American literature), the “republican” novel with its civic utility vs the “liberal” novel with its greater emphasis on aesthetics and individualism, “masculine” vs “feminine” writing, James Fenimore Cooper’s quarrel with America, Hawthorne and Melville’s rumoured estrangement, Mark Twain’s attacks on Cooper and the many negative, if not savage, contemporary reviews of works now considered classics.

Send 250-300 word abstracts with a short bio-bibliographical notice to Bénédicte Coste ( AND Mark Niemeyer ( before 30 April 2017.

(posted 18 March 2017)

Fragmentary Writing in Contemporary British and American Fiction
Wrocław, Poland, 22-23 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2017

Conference website:

University of Wrocław and École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

In 1968, Donald Barthelme had one of his narrators declare: “Fragments are the only forms I trust.” The last decades have brought a number of acclaimed novels in Britain and the US that illustrate their authors’ interest in fragmentary structures. David Mitchell constructed Cloud Atlas (2005) out of six stories with different settings, characters and generic features. David Markson produced an 800-page-long tetralogy, culminating in The Last Novel (2007), which juxtaposes several thousand succinct anecdotes and quotations with metafictional references to the elusive authorial figure. The year 2014 saw the publication of three notable fragmentary novels: Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist – an amalgam of the voices of 150 speakers, Richard McGuire’s Here – a graphic novel created out of over 150 images (non-chronologically arranged) of the same location throughout several million years, and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation – an account of a marriage crisis narrated with the use of several hundred loosely connected paragraphs. As the example of Cloud Atlas – alongside those of Zadie Smith’s NW, Anne Enright’s The Green Road and, most recently, Julian Barnes’s The Noise of Time – demonstrates, fragmentation is not only the domain of niche, “experimental” writing.

Although it may have arguably earlier origins, fragmentation has been a vital aspect of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature. Several canonical novels of modernism – such as Ulysses and The Waves – could be classified as fragmentary, since they are constructed in parts that refuse to cohere, and as Gabriel Josipovici suggested, the fragmented form of modernist works may be seen as a response to the human need to escape linearity. More radical examples of fragmented novels were written in the 1960s and 70s by authors sometimes associated with postmodernism: J.G. Ballard, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, B.S. Johnson and Gabriel Josipovici, among others. Despite the fact that many renowned novelists have contributed to fragmentary writing, the term itself is rarely used in Anglophone criticism. The aim of our conference is to postulate a renewed engagement with fragmentary literature. We are particularly interested in contemporary writing and invite papers that approach chosen aspects of fragmentation in British and American fiction published over the last five decades (post-1966). We wish to examine the typical ingredients of the fragmentary mode (such as enumeration, non-linearity and the unconventional layout of the page), the mechanics of organising the disparate parts, and the various rationales for writing in fragments.

Proposals may consider but are not limited to:

  • the extent to which fragmentation in contemporary literature borrows from modernist (or postmodernist) experiments and the degree to which it creates its own aesthetics,
  • the correspondence between literary fragmentation and the social, political and technological reality of the contemporary world (e.g., Twitter fiction),
  • the influence of various art forms (particularly the visual arts and cinema) on literary fragmentation (e.g., Joseph Frank’s notion of “spatial form” and Sharon Spencer’s conception of the “architectonic novel”),
  • the fragmentation of a single monolithic reassuring voice into a myriad of voices,
  • the physical fragmentation of the page,
  • card-shuffle texts,
  • forking-path narratives,
  • novels built out of potentially self-contained parts (blurring the distinction between the novel and the collection of short stories),
  • generic eclecticism and the aesthetics of mash-up,
  • collage-like works, altered fictions and other examples of appropriation.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Alison Gibbons – Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, author of Mark Z. Danielewski, Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature (2014) and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (2014).

Dr Grzegorz Maziarczyk – Assistant Professor of English and American Literature at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, author of The Narratee in Contemporary British Fiction (2005) and The Novel as Book: Textual Materiality in Contemporary Fiction in English (2013).

Guest writer to be announced soon.

Proposals (300-400 words), together with a biographical note, should be sent to Wojciech Drąg ( and Vanessa Guignery ( by 15 March 2017.

Conference fee: 75 euros

Scientific Committee: Prof. Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Dr Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław; Dr Marcin Tereszewski, University of Wrocław

Organising Committee: Prof. Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Dr Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław; Ewa Błasiak, MA, University of Wrocław; Krzysztof Jański, University of Wrocław; Jakub Krogulec, MA, University of Wrocław; Angelika Szopa, MA, University of Wrocław

(posted 19 April 2016)

7th Biennial International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English (BICLCE)
University of Vigo, Spain, 28-30 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2017

logo_biclce2017We invite papers on every aspect of the linguistics of contemporary English.
Conference website:
Any enquiries about the conference should be sent to

The attention devoted to the linguistics of the English language has resulted in a broad body of work in diverse research traditions. The aim of the BICLCE (formerly ICLCE) conference is to encourage the cross-fertilisation of ideas between different frameworks and research traditions addressing the linguistics of contemporary English. Previous conferences were held in Edinburgh (2005), Toulouse (2007), London (2009), Osnabrück (2011), Austin TX (2013) and Madison WI (2015), along the same lines. We aim for the conference in Vigo to build on the success of those events.
BICLCE2017 aims to provide a platform for work which deals with contemporary varieties of English, in terms of their phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, etc., in any way which aims to be explanatory. Traditionally in this conference, syntax (specifically constructions), sociolinguistics, processing and discourse analysis are four of the focus areas. We invite proposals on these and other areas, such as variationist work which engages with issues of linguistic structure. We do not envisage work which is purely historical, but work which brings in diachrony in order to explain the structure of Present-Day English is certainly welcome.

The following speakers have agreed to deliver plenary addresses at BICLCE2017:

  • Teresa Fanego (University of Santiago de Compostela)
  • Martin Hilpert (University of Neuchâtel)
  • Padraic Monaghan (Lancaster University)
  • Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow)
  • Anja Wanner (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

We invite abstract submissions for (a) 20-minute paper presentations, (b) thematic workshops, and (c) poster presentations. The deadline is 31 January 2017.
Abstract submissions will be handled via EasyABS at the following URL:
PAPERS. Abstracts for 20-minute presentations should be no longer than 350 words (excluding references). They should be submitted as a .PDF file or in MS Word document format (.doc or .docx). Please use only common phonetic fonts such as SIL. The abstract document itself should be anonymous, i.e. it must not contain the name of the author(s).
THEMATIC WORKSHOPS. Colleagues interested in organising athematic workshop are also welcome to submit a proposal. This should start with a description of the overall panel up to one page in length, followed by abstracts for all papers included. For abstracts, please use the same format as for paper submissions (see above).
POSTERS. Posters will be presented in a special session and remain on display during the conference. Please use the same format as for paper submissions (see above).

SUBMISSION. At the top of the abstract – preceding the title – please:
(1) State whether you are submitting a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, for one of the planned thematic workshops, or for a poster session.
(2) List one or several subfield(s) of contemporary English linguistics that your work pertains to. This information helps us to assign your abstract to the right reviewers. You may choose from among the following list and/or name additional subfields where appropriate: Cognitive linguistics, Computer-mediated communication, Corpus linguistics, Language acquisition, Lexicography and lexicology, Morphology and morphosyntax, Phonetics and phonology, Pragmatics, Processing, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Sociolinguistics, Syntax, Typology, Varieties of English, Variationist research.
You may submit more than one abstract but we will accept a maximum of two abstracts from any one person for presentation (one joined, one single-authored), as this allows more people to take part in the conference.
All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously.
Notification of acceptance will be sent out by 15 March 2017.

There are plans for publishing a peer-reviewed selection of papers from the conference, most likely in thematically coherent volumes which will be submitted for the consideration of international publishers.
The conference language will be English.
Time for general sessions and workshop presentations: 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions/discussion

(posted 6 June 2016)

Phonology and interphonology of contemporary English: from native corpora to learner corpora. PAC 2017
Université Paris Nanterre, France, 28-30 September 2017
New extended deadline for proposals: 30 April 2017

Guest Speakers
Jacques Durand, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès
Dan Frost, Université de Grenoble
Patrick Honeybone, University of Edinburgh

All papers focusing on the main theme summarized by the title of the conference are welcome but, to contextualize this forthcoming event, participants should be aware that PAC 2017 is a logical extension of the conferences that the PAC project has organized annually since 2000, on a European level, at the universities of Toulouse II, Montpellier III and Aix-Marseille I, and reflects the developing activities of this project.
All contributions on the phonology and phonetics of contemporary English as well as on the interphonology of English are welcome.


The general PAC session will be dedicated to the following theme: Usage-based accounts and phonological models: how to articulate phonetic-acoustic studies and phonological theory??.

In recent years, usage-based accounts, especially within the framework of Exemplar Theory (Pierrehumbert 2001, 2006), have been put forward as relevant explanations for various phenomena observed, on the basis of oral corpora, in the different varieties of oral English. By relying on frequency effects, such accounts have shed light on the emergence and evolution of New Zealand and Australian English (Trudgill 2004, Gordon et al. 2004) or on the dynamics of rhoticity and r-sandhi phenomena in contemporary non-rhotic varieties (Cox et al. 2014) for example. However, such accounts are often criticised for lacking phonological abstraction and for not being able to fully account for the phenomena in question as they do not model their underlying mechanisms at the phonological level. That is why many phonologists have rejected these accounts. However, other phonologists have shown how the results provided by phonetic-acoustic studies and usage-based accounts of corpora can lend themselves to theoretical analyses and help model the emergence and evolution of phenomena at the phonological level (see Patrick Honeybone?s work on T-to-R in Liverpool English (to appear) for an example of such an approach).


The interphonology session will be dedicated to the following theme: Variation, correctness and correction. We encourage participants to investigate the phonetic and phonological systems developed by non-native speakers/learners of English who have command of English either as a foreign language (EFL) or a second language (ESL) in various parts of the world and in different contexts of communication. Interphonology will be discussed both as a theoretical, linguistic construct and empirically by looking into aspects of the learners? new phonological system, while in the process of establishing itself or when it has already been stabilised and/or regularised. Inter-speaker and intra-speaker variation will also be central to our study of interphonology to understand, for instance, how segmental variability is integrated in the newly developed phonological system and how the phonologies of two (or more) languages at work mutually influence each other. ?Correction? can be envisaged as a didactic tool for improving students? oral performances. It can also be rejected on theoretical grounds. It can be tackled as the adaptation process, or modification process, put in place by students when trying to reach specific phonological or phonetic targets. ?Correctness? can constitute a goal as far as communication and interaction in English are concerned for learners. It can also be questioned as a pedagogical goal, for instance with the prevalence of RP as a target accent in the French academic context. The problem of conciliating variation and correction in the study / teaching of English as a foreign or second language can lend itself to relevant reflections here.

Submission of papers
Abstracts should be no longer than one side of A4, with 2.5 cm margins, single-spaced, with a font size no smaller than 12, and with normal character spacing. All examples and references in the abstract should be included on the one single page, but it is enough, when referring to previous work, to cite “Author (Date)” in the body of the abstract – you do not need to include the full reference. Please send two copies of your abstract – one of these should be anonymous and one should include your name, affiliation and email at the top of the page, directly below the title. All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously by members of the scientific committee or other experts in the field. The named file should be camera-ready, as it will be used in the abstracts booklet if the proposal is accepted.
Abstracts should be submitted in the same form, in a PDF file, by email to with copy to and
Time for papers: 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes for questions.

Dates and deadlines
Conference: September 28th / September 30th 2017
New extended deadline for submissions: April 30th 2017
Results of refereeing of abstracts: Friday June 30th 2017

The PAC project (Phonologie de l’Anglais Contemporain: usages, variétés et structure – The Phonology of Contemporary English: usage, varieties and structure) is coordinated by Anne Przewozny-Desriaux (Toulouse Jean Jaurès University), Sophie Herment (University of Aix-Marseille), Sylvain Navarro (Paris Diderot University) and Cécile Viollain (Paris Nanterre University).

The main aims of the project can be summarized as follows: to give a better picture of spoken English in its unity and diversity (geographical, social and stylistic); to test existing theoretical models in phonology, phonetics and sociolinguistics from a synchronic and diachronic point of view, making room for the systematic study of variation; to favour communication between specialists in speech and in phonological theory; to provide corpus-based data and analyses which will help improve the teaching of English as a foreign language.

To achieve these goals, the cornerstone of the PAC project is the creation of a large database on contemporary oral English, coming from a wide variety of linguistic areas in the English-speaking world (such as Great Britain: Received Pronunciation, Lancashire, York, Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, West Midlands: Birmingham, Black Country ; Republic of Ireland: Limerick, Cork ; Canada: Alberta, Ontario ; Australia: New South Wales ; New Zealand: Christchurch, Dunedin ; India: Delhi English, Mumbai ; USA: California, West Texas, Saint Louis, Boston, North Carolina). The protocol used is shared by all researchers in every survey location and was inspired by the classical methodology of William Labov.

Although significant corpora of oral English already exist, many of them have been conceived along exclusively sociolinguistic rather than explicitly phonological lines. In other cases, hardly any information is available on speakers beyond gender and regional affiliation. Furthermore, few corpora are based upon a single methodology permitting a fully comparative analysis of the data.

The approach chosen by the PAC program is modelled on the French PFC program (La Phonologie du Français Contemporain, coordinated by M.-H. Côté (Ottawa University), J. Durand (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès), B. Laks (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense) and C. Lyche (Oslo/Tromsø). This parent program has demonstrated how a corpus which was originally conceived for phonology can lend itself to many other types of linguistic exploitation: the lexicon, morpho-syntax, prosody, pragmatics, dialectology, sociolinguistics and interaction.

PAC 2017 and PAC programme available at

(posted 1 February 2017, updated 12 April 2017)

Women in the public space 1800-1939: Great Britain, Ireland, Empire and Commonwealth
Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France, 29 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 2 May 2017

Keynote Speaker : Florence Binard, Université Paris 7, Université Paris Diderot

“The Angel in the House” is the image most commonly retained of British women in the nineteenth century. This reductive and repressive ideal, emerging from values propagated by the literary, religious, medical political discourses of the time, still persists today in the collective unconscious. Although this model has increasingly been questioned by researchers in the humanities, the focus has tended to be on the beginning of the 20th century.

This one-day conference aims to pursue this still neglected area, bringing the Victorian and Edwardian woman further out of her “cloister” or “sphere”, and exploring the destinies of those women who occupied the public space in Great Britain, Ireland and, by extension, the Empire: activists, explorers, artists, writers and sportswomen to name but a few.

The endorsement of women in the public space, may be viewed in dialectical terms, as an ongoing process which, while it is still not complete today, was a site of increasing negotiation in the long nineteenth century, with women’s right to vote and to attend university standing as two particularly noteworthy landmarks.

One important question underpinning our reflection would be whether women simply “broke into” a hitherto exclusively masculine space or if they benefitted from the evolution of some traditionally female realms—charitable institutions’ increased interest in more political concerns for instance—thereby causing a shift in the very terms of political debate towards more humanitarian ends.

Another angle of exploration might be how women were able to circumscribe or even overcome the public / private divide and the gender dualisms that sustained it (culture / nature, rationality / emotionality, power / morality and so forth) by deploying their supposedly feminine qualities in the service of their own emancipation. The argument of women’s greater “moral purity” advanced by the Suffragettes, for example, had in fact already served female members of the Anti-Corn Law League in the period around 1840: their campaign against the importation of grain was couched in pious philanthropic terms that were a far cry from “grossly” political demands that would have been deemed unsuitable for any respectable lady to articulate.

If this pattern were indeed to prove a prominent one in the course of the period under study, it might then be possible to speak of the arrival of women in the public space not just as one of a number of symptoms evidencing the gradual opening up of society, but rather as a factor that in and of itself influenced the course of social and political history (the key role played by women during the Easter Rising of 1916 would be just one example of this).

Another area of investigation would be the status of those “little” women —prostitutes, factory workers— who operated in the shadows or wings of the public space, silently and invisibly transgressing “official” Victorian ideals, or the negotiation by women of in-between spaces, on the threshold of public and private spheres. Working-class women were active in the Reform Movement from the 1810s and they would later join the Chartists. Although women from the lower or under classes were scarcely (if ever) in the public spotlight, their limited household resources often forced them to penetrate the public world of work where certain sectors (the textile industry in particular) actually recruited a predominantly female workforce.

We welcome proposals in English or French
Please send your abstracts to the organising committee: (CRIT) (CRIT et CLIMAS) (CRIT)
together with

  • 300-word maximum abstract in French or English
  • Short biographical note (academic position & affiliation, laboratory, area of research)
  • 5 key words

Deadline for abstracts: May 2nd
Notification: May 15th
A selection of papers will be published

(posted 24 March 2017)

International Conference on Annie Besant (1847-1933)
London, 30 September-1 October 2017
Deadline for proposals: 1 June 2017

The Theosophical Society in England ( ) is holding a two-day international conference on Annie Besant (1847-1933) at the TSE Headquarters at 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA on Saturday and Sunday, 30 September and 1 October 2017.

The chair of the first day of the conference, which is primarily concerned with Annie Besant’s public work as a feminist, secularist, socialist and anti-imperialist, will be Dr Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière of the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Paris 4 (author of the new biography Annie Besant (1847-1933) : La lutte et la quête, soon to be published in English).

Those who wish to submit a paper for the first day on any aspect of the subject should send a summary of not more than 200 words by 1 June 2017 to Mr Leslie Price, secretary of Programme Committee, at TSE History & Archives (history&, copied to Speakers will normally have 30 minutes including questions.

Conference participants will be responsible for their own travel, meals and accommodation.  Those presenting papers will be exempt from registration fees and will also be admitted free to the second day, chaired by Kurt Leland (author of Invisible Worlds: Annie Besant on Psychic and Spiritual Development), which is a study day concerned with research problems in assessing Besant’s Theosophical work. If you wish to register for the conference, or to be kept informed of the programme, please contact The Theosophical Society in England (

[Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière writes:] It is impossible to study late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Britain without coming across Annie Besant’s name. So the fact that she has fallen into relative obscurity, at least among the general public, remains difficult to understand.
From a historiographical point of view, Besant seems to have become a victim of trends in historical research that increasingly favour highly specialised and circumscribed studies. Most research has been limited to specific struggles, especially her pioneering fight in 1877–78 for the right to information on birth control and her support of the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888. Her influence on British secularism and socialism are just beginning to be re-evaluated. Yet the logic behind her personal evolution, leading from an early religious crisis to secularism, socialism, Theosophy, and Indian nationalism, has barely been addressed.
Besant’s conversion to Theosophy remains poorly understood and has even been ridiculed by researchers who underestimate the scope of the late-Victorian spiritual and occult revival, in which the Theosophical Society played a critical role. Some writers even lose interest in the second half of Besant’s life or evaluate her earlier struggles with scepticism in light of this conversion. Conversely, though the Theosophical Society has done a remarkable job in preserving and making available Besant’s Theosophical texts, many of its members remain unfamiliar with Besant’s life prior to her conversion.
Furthermore, in a climate of understandable post-colonial guilt, the role that this British woman played in India is an embarrassment to some Western historians, who tend to minimise it. Thus her presidency of the Indian National Congress in 1917 has been almost completely forgotten in the West — even though Indians themselves have preserved the memory of Besant as one of their freedom fighters. Streets in Chennai, Mumbai and indeed many other places in India bear her name and a prominent golden statue of Besant stands on the Chennai seafront alongside monuments to other influential Indian leaders. Despite the criticism of her cautious reformist approach that was expressed in her lifetime by more radical nationalists — including Gandhi — and that are occasionally repeated by Indian historians, Besant remains sufficiently well-known for the State Bank of India to have used her name and image in a publicity campaign in the early 2010s, with a slogan proudly proclaiming: “The banker to this Indian.”
Sadly, Annie Besant’s having been a woman may also have prevented her from passing into posterity. Though she worked and fought alongside a number of talented men in a spirit of brotherhood, many of them would be surprised today to learn that their memory has often eclipsed that of their female comrade.
The purpose of the Theosophical Society in England’s two-day international conference on Annie Besant is to bring together researchers on all aspects of her public life and work, so as to reflect on Besant’s ideological and spiritual evolution within the religious, ethical, social, and political context of her time.

(posted 22 March 2017)