Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in November 2019

MCWE 2019: The 1st International Conference on Military Culture and War Experience
New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria, See the new dates below
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2019

This conference was planned to be take place on 1 and 2 November 2019, but had to be rescheduled to 11-12 October 2019.

The new call for papers is available here.

(posted 28 December 2018, updated 8 January 2019)

‘Every man a liar’: truth, text, rhetoric
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK, 2 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2019

Offers of papers are invited on writing and inventing the truth in literary form, always a problematic matter since distortion, imagination, duplicity, selectivity and numerous complications arise.

The CLSG interest is in Exploring Christian and Biblical themes in Literature.

The deadline for proposals, which should be emailed to Dr Roger Kojecký (, is 31 May 2019. Your proposal should give a provisional title, should state in a few words how you will tackle your topic, and give brief information about your background.

The full form of the Call for Papers can be found on the website of the Christian Literary Studies Group,

(posted 1 March 2019)

Craving Planet Earth: Food in Culture – Past, Present and Future
Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania, 7-9 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 1 May 2019

Invited Speakers include:

  • Daisy Black (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
  • Peter Childs (Newman University, Birmingham, UK)
  • Sebastian Groes (University of Wolverhampton, UK)

Conference includes a psychological olfactory experiment organized by the AHRC- and Wellcome Trust-funded research project The Memory Network: Proust in Transylvania.

On behalf of the Faculty of Letters and Arts at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania and the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research, it gives us great pleasure to invite you to an international conference: Craving Planet Earth: Food in Culture – Past, Present and Future. The conference chimes in nicely with Sibiu’s selection as the European Region of Gastronomy for 2019, but is primarily to ask pressing questions about significant issues such as climate change and food production, the refugee crisis and labor migration, sustainable agriculture and the ethical distribution of the earth’s resources. Given the centrality of food to human life and survival, and recurring anxieties about the depletion of the land as a result of growing populations or other forms of crisis such as global warming, representations of food and starvation are abundant in world literature. This conference explores the intricacies and complexities of food in culture.

The event is the next edition of the East-West Cultural Passage international conference (, organized biennially by the Department of Anglo-American Studies at LBUS. This special edition will celebrate 50 years of philological and anglophone studies at LBUS. It will be a great opportunity for Sibiu’s researchers to showcase their recent work and network with international specialists in various fields of the humanities. It will also be an opportunity for our scholarly journals, particularly East-West Cultural Passage, to attract valuable international contributions. Lucian Blaga University organizes this conference in collaboration with the Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research (CTTR), University of Wolverhampton, UK. CTTR provides a platform for Wolverhampton’s humanities scholars to

promote their research. For more information, see—centre-for-transnational-and-transcultural-research/

Participation by specialists in literature, modern languages and cultural studies, as well as the arts and humanities more widely, is warmly encouraged. Papers are delivered in English and could address (but are by no means limited to) topics such as:

  • Representations of food in literature, film, painting etc, from Shakespeare to Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover;
  • Food, the body and the senses;
  • Feasting/fasting: globalisation, migration and changing eating habits; cultures of eating, tradition and change, such as, for example, Kafka’s ‘Hunger Artist’ and Nicola Barker’s Clear;
  • “Eat, Pray, Love”: representations of hospitality in travel writing;
  • Historical instances of famine and starvation: the Irish Potato Famine, the Holocaust etc.; eating/starvation in crisis situations;
  • Nature/ nurture and the intersectionality of identity;
  • Food and global warming: an ecology of food and sustainability;
  • The ethics and aesthetics of consumption and capitalism;
  • Growing bigger and growing differently: overpopulation, dystopias andposthumanism;
  • Anorexia, other eating disorders and mental health in contemporary fiction and film; fashion and body image;
  • Food as spectacle: food in the (social) media, such as The Great British Bake-off, etc.;
  • Ordering like a connoisseur: food, gluttony and frugality in translation.

Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes, allowing for 10 minutes of discussion.

Paper/ panel/ workshop proposals should include an abstract (no more than 200 words), a list of 5-7 keywords, and a short biographical note in word format, along with titles of papers/ panels, name and institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone, and e-mail address of the participant(s).

Please send your proposals in the field of literary studies to Anca-Luminiţa Iancu ( and paper proposals in the fields of language, translation and cultural studies to Anca Ignat (

Deadline for submission of proposals: 1 May 2019

At the heart of the European Region of Gastronomy for 2019 (, Sibiu is the ideal location to discuss the role of food in culture. Situated in southern Transylvania, Sibiu combines the culinary cultures of the various ethnic groups which have inhabited it since the Middle Ages (Romanians, Germans,

Hungarians, Jews, Roma etc.), and newer cuisines that include Indian, Chinese, French, Italian, and Portuguese. In 2007, it was the European Capital of Culture. Sibiu enjoys a rich cultural history: it boasts a magnificent art gallery, the Brukenthal Museum (, and it is surrounded by medieval fortified churches ( If we are to believe Jeremy Clarkson, the most amazing road – the Transfăgărășan highway – is just around the corner (

A selection of the papers presented will be published in a special issue of East/West Cultural Passage (

Conference fee: 190 Lei for AASR members / 235 Lei for non-members / 140 Lei for doctoral students (40 Euros for AASR members / 50 Euros for non-members / 30 Euros for doctoral students), to be paid upon arrival. The fee covers coffee-breaks, lunches and conference portfolios.

Conference venue:

Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu
Faculty of Letters and Arts
Department of Anglo-American and German Studies
5-7 Victoriei Bvd.
Sibiu, 550024, Romania

For further information please contact Dr Ana-Karina Schneider ( and Professor Sebastian Groes (

We look forward to welcoming you to Sibiu!

For further details and updates, please visit us at and on Facebook at

(posted 30 March 2019)

The Figure of the Terrorist in Literature, Film and Media
University of Zurich, Switzerland, 8-9 November 2019
Deadline for proposals : 15 July 2019

Organized by Michael C. Frank (English Literature, University of Zurich), in cooperation with Maria Flood (Film Studies, University of Keele)
Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 15 July 2019
Contact: and
Conference website:

In their pioneering 1996 study Terror and Taboo, cultural anthropologists Joseba Zulaika and William Douglass point out a curious paradox in the contemporary preoccupation – or, rather, obsession – with terrorism: whereas the topic of terrorism has been ubiquitous in Western public discourse since the late twentieth century, the voices of terrorists themselves are usually silenced. Zulaika and Douglass explain this by suggesting that the terrorist is “the paradigm of inhuman bestiality, the quintessential proscribed or tabooed figure of our times” (1996: 6).
To say that there is such a thing as a “terrorism taboo” (Jackson 2015: 320) is not to say that terrorism is not talked about. Quite the opposite is true: quoting Michel Foucault’s wellknown phrase, we may, in fact, speak of a “veritable discursive explosion” (1978: 17) surrounding the subject of terror, which the events of 11 September 2001 have propelled to the forefront of political action and media attention. What is taboo, then, is not the topic of terrorism as such; it is the political subjectivity of the perpetrator of terrorism, for “the very attempt to ‘know’ how the terrorist thinks or lives can be deemed an abomination” (Zulaika and Douglass 1996: 149).
According to political scientist Richard Jackson, the tabooing of terrorists not only affects debates about actual perpetrators of politically motivated violence, but also fictional representations in literature and film, where terrorists tend to be “dehumanized, demonized, and most importantly, depoliticized” (2018: 382). Indeed, Hollywood action films characteristically deploy the figure of the terrorist as a disposable villain, whose motives remain obscure and whose elimination at the hands of the white male hero serves to affirm the respective period’s political, social
and cultural status quo (Vanhala 2011, 296–98). Unsurprisingly, the cinematic engagement with terrorism turns out to be rather more complex and multifaceted if we move beyond the narrow genre of the Hollywood blockbuster. Yet, Tony Shaw’s Global History of Terrorism on Film still
comes to the conclusion that the issue is depoliticized in the majority of films (2015: 205).
Does this mean that the “‘condemnation imperative’” (Hage 2003: 68) to which terrorism is subjected ultimately precludes an empathetic identification with the perpetrator and his or her agenda? As Tim Gauthier notes in a recent discussion of fictional approaches to the 9/11 hijackers, such identification would require an acknowledgment of the terrorists’ own sense of victimization and a framing of their violence as “serving altruistic purposes” (2015: 164) – a perspective invariably denied to the reader, as novelists shy away from any appearance of condoning

Taken together, the (surprisingly few) existing studies on the portrayal of terrorists thus seem to confirm the tenets of Jackson’s pessimistic diagnosis that:

In all the thousands of popular and literary novels, all the newspaper columns and news reports, all the movies and television shows and even in many academic books and articles, terrorists are virtually always depicted in stereotypical terms and as caricatures of what we imagine terrorists to be – fanatical, extremist, aggressive, hateful, dysfunctional, damaged. (2015: 319)

Using this sweeping – and deliberately provocative – statement as a starting point, the international conference The Figure of the Terrorist will be the first to approach the “tabooing” of the terrorist from an interdisciplinary and historically comparative perspective.
We seek proposals from scholars across the fields of literary, film, media, cultural and postcolonial studies, history, international relations or any other related discipline addressing the following aspects and themes:

  • Specificity of medium and genre: how do the distinct discursive functions, limitations and possibilities of fiction, film, newspaper or news reports shape the ways in which these forms construct the figure of the terrorist? And what is the specific potential of imaginative
    representations of terrorists – as opposed to factual ones?
  • Intermediality: in what ways do fictional accounts engage with academic, popular orpolitical discourses around terrorism, e.g., Marie-Castille Mention-Scharr’s Heaven Will Wait? How do representations of the figure of the terrorist change from one medium to another,
    e.g., Mohsin Hamid’s and Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist?
  • Empathy for the terrorist: how does a particular work seek to elicit or prevent reader/audience empathy for the terrorist, and what narrative strategies does it employ to invite identification with the perpetrators and/or victims of political violence?
  • Accounts that move beyond the immediate post-9/11 context – for instance, by looking at the more recent phenomenon of ISIS-inspired political violence. What new narratives are currently emerging around radicalization, youth, politics, Western recruits and non-violent extremists?
  • The aftermath of the “War on Terror” in media, literature and film: how do the cultural reverberations of this ongoing cycle of violence relate to the discursive response to 9/11?
  • A comparative view on earlier forms of terrorism and their representations: to what extent does the notion of the terrorist as a tabooed figure apply to previous manifestations of terrorism, such as the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Algeria, right-wing extremism or organizations like the Baader-Meinhof group?
  • Non-Western perspectives on the figure of the terrorist: how is the terrorism taboo deployed, altered, avoided or undermined in texts from and about other cultural contexts, e.g., Abu Assad’s Paradise Now (Palestine) or Mahi Binebine’s and Nabil Ayouch’s Horses of God (Morocco)?
  • Gender and the figure of the terrorists: are female terrorists more “tabooed” than their male counterparts, e.g., Gille Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers or Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack?
  • Representations that question the very category of “terrorist” or problematize its use in Western discourse, e.g., Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire.

Please send a 400-word abstract and a short bio note to: and (deadline: 15 July 2019).

Works Cited:
Foucault, Michel. 1978 [1976]. The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Pantheon
Gauthier, Tim. 2015. 9/ 11 Fiction, Empathy, and Othemess. Lanham, Boulder, New York, and London: Lexington Books.
Hage, Ghassan. 2003. “‘Comes a Time We Are All Enthusiasm’: Understanding Palestinian Suicide Bombers in times of
Exigophobia.” Public Culture 15:1, 65–89.
Jackson, Richard. 2015 [2014]. Afterword to Confessions of a Terrorist, 317–22. London: Zed Books.
———. 2018. “Sympathy for the Devil: Evil, Taboo, and the Terrorist Figure in Literature.” In Terrorism and Literature, edited
by Peter C. Herman, 377–94. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shaw, Tony. 2015. Cinematic Terror: A Global History of Terrorism on Film. New York: Bloomsbury.
Vanhala, Helena. 2011. The Depiction of Terrorists in Blockbuster Hollywood Films, 1980–2001: An Analytical Study. Jefferson,
NC: McFarland & Company.
Zulaika, Joseba, and William A. Douglass. 1996. Terror and Taboo: The Follies, Fables, and Faces of Terrorism. New York:

(posted 4 May 2019)

Innovation in Language Learning International Conference – 12th edition
Florence, Italy, 14-15 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 10 September 2019

The objective of the Conference is to promote transnational cooperation and share good practice in the field of the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to Language Learning and Teaching. The Innovation in Language Learning Conference is also an excellent opportunity for the presentation of previous and current language learning projects and innovative initiatives.

The Call for Papers is addressed to teachers, researchers and experts in the field of language teaching and learning as well as to coordinators of language teaching and training projects.

Experts in the field of language teaching and learning are therefore invited to submit an abstract of a paper to be presented in the conference.

Important dates:
– 10 September 2019: Last extended deadline for submitting Abstracts
– 17 September 2019: Notification of Abstracts’ acceptance / rejection
– 24 September 2019: Deadline for final submission of Papers
– 14 – 15 November 2019: Conference days

There will be three presentation modalities: oral, poster and virtual presentations.

All accepted papers will be included in the Conference Proceedings published by Filodiritto Editore with ISBN, ISSN, DOI and ISPN codes. This publication will be sent to be reviewed for inclusion in Conference Proceedings Citation Index by Thomson Reuters (ISI-Clarivate). The publication will also be included in and indexed in Google Scholar.

For further information, please contact us at the following address: or visit the conference website:

(posted 17 August 2019)

Anglo-Iberian Relations: From the Medieval to the Modern
University of Oviedo (Asturias), Spain, 14-16 November 2019
New extnded deadline fo proposals: 20 June 2019

Guest speakers:

  • Dr. Rui Carvalho Homem (Universidade do Porto),
  • Dr Mark Hutchings (University of Reading)
  • Dr Agustín Coletes Blanco (University of Oviedo)

Check out our website and follow us on Twitter! @IberianAnglo, #AIR2019

We accept individual papers, panels and roundtables by academics and heritage professionals for the third conference in this vibrant field of Anglo-Iberian studies, including colonial and Latin American studies. Papers, panels and round tables may talk about any or all of the Four Kingdoms and any associated territories and their relations with both Portugal, Spain and any of their overseas colonies. Since our inaugural meeting in 2015 (Mértola, Portugal) we have extended our timeframe from beyond the early modern period, to include papers from the medieval to the modern.

Papers should be 20 minutes in length. English is the preferred language of the conference, but papers will be considered in Portuguese and Spanish, if a detailed summary can be provided in English.

Abstracts (up to c. 250 words per paper) and panel/roundtable descriptions (plus a brief CV/biography) should be sent no later than midnight (CET) on 20th June 2019 (new extended deadline) to:

A volume containing select extended papers will be published by the University of Oviedo Press after the conference. Please let us know if you would like to participate when you submit your abstract. Let us also know if you would like to be considered for one of our Student Bursaries.

For further information, please contact:
Follow us on Twitter! @IberianAnglo, #AIR2019

The Organising Committee: Elizabeth Evenden- Kenyon, Anna Demoux Laura Martínez-García, Raquel Serrano González Carlos Menéndez Otero

(posted 11 February 2019, updated 20 May 2019, updated 3 June 2019)

Language and knowledge in Early Modern Britain: Circulating Words, Expanding Lexicons
Paris, Fance, 15-16 November 2019
Deadline for proposals : 20 May 2019

Organised by the universities of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris Diderot, Paris Nanterre, Angers, and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, as part of a series of events devoted to the uses of polyglossia in the early modern period, and sponsored by the Institut Universitaire de France.

Confirmed keynote speaker: Philip Durkin, Oxford English Dictionary

In the early modern period, the humanist practice of translation of sacred as well as secular texts created new readerships in the vernacular for authoritative texts, religious or classical. While the circulation of vernacular languages within Europe contributed to reshuffle hierarchies between classical languages and vernacular tongues, the role of a unified language to promote unity was highlighted at a national level in manifestos (such as Joachim Du Bellay’s Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Francoyse from 1549, itself adapted from Sperone Speroni’s Italian 1542 Dialogo delle lingue). Transmission via translation was thus not only vertical, but also horizontal, and the contacts between European languages allowed for expanding local lexicons from sources other than Latin or Greek. In England, the controversy about “inkhorn terms” – those foreign borrowings, mainly from Romance languages, which were deemed superfluous by some because Saxon equivalents already existed – is well known.

In this context, the conference will focus on the role of translation and lexical borrowing in the expansion of specific English lexicons (erudite, technical, or artisanal) as evidenced in printed texts from the early modern period. In an age of technical progress, geographic discoveries, easier communication, but also of growing interest in theorizing national literature and defining literary genres, how does multilingualism in print contribute to define specialised lexicons? What is the technical, but also the rhetorical import of the foreign words used in English texts? Are polyglot writers and speakers represented as particularly knowledgeable? Particular attention will be paid to translations (including self-translations) and to texts which feature a significant portion of non-English vocabulary in order to try and evidence potential correlations between the language used, the type of knowledge the author aims to share, the authority s/he intends to claim, and the targeted readership(s).

Possible topics of investigation include (but are not limited to):

  • moral philosophy, natural philosophy, history and politics
  • manuals of craftsmanship and treatises on arts and techniques
  • arts of rhetoric and poetry, apologies for poetry or drama
  • poetic, prose and dramatic works making use of foreign lexicons or foreign characters
  • travel narratives

Please send a 250-word abstract and a short (100-word) biography to the conference organisers: by 20 May, 2019 (notifications of acceptance will be sent by 10 June). Papers will be given in English. A selection of papers will be published.

Organisers: Mylène Lacroix, Université d’Angers (CIRPaLL), Sophie Lemercier-Goddard, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (IHRIM – CNRS UMR 5317), Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 (PRISMES) & Institut Universitaire de France, Ladan Niayesh, Université Paris Diderot (LARCA – CNRS UMR 8225), Laetitia Sansonetti, Université Paris Nanterre (CREA) & Institut Universitaire de France

Scientific Committee: Anne Coldiron (University of Florida), Mark Greengrass (University of Sheffield), Ton Hoenselaars (Universiteit Utrecht), Agnès Lafont (Université Montpellier 3 – Paul Valéry), Sandrine Parageau (Université Paris Nanterre)

For more information, see

(posted 18 March 2019)

Play, Masks and Make-believe: Ritual Representations
London, UK, 16 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 31 August 2019

organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

Through the centuries, humans have often shaped their social life by fictional moments and by taking part in fictional events: carnivals, representations, role plays, society plays, structured and semi-structured collective and singular moments where strictly coded contexts organize specific worlds and cultural dimensions. Play, in its wide acception and in its nature of artificial and coded mechanism, reflects historically the symbolic work by which human societies have elaborated, explained and organized the world. Play, fiction, representation and human performance are crucial moments in which categories such as reckoning, planning, ability, strategy, but also turbolence, improvisation, discard and change, are concerned. By organizing fictional moments, plays, rituals and collective experiences, humans bet on the meaning of their social groups. In play and representation, as liminal moments, social groups define relationships, roles, functions and identities. Inside representational and fictional performances, ‘normal’ time is suspended and a new space of experience is defined. Liminal situations produce the possibility of changes, of new and different symbolic experiences.

By exploring the nature of play and of fictional moments of representation, this conference aims to shape a deeper look into different aspects of an anthropology of performance. A focus will be put on how different discourses, disciplines and art forms interact in the definition of a dynamics of social representations where human experience can be analyzed and discussed.

Proposals are welcome from different research fields such as Literary Studies, Film Studies, History of Theatre, Psychoanalys, Anthropology, Art History, Philosophy, Historiography and Sociology.

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

  • Theatre, historical perspectives on representation, representations in time
  • Carnival
  • Rituals of remembrance as social representations
  • Ritual forms of representation
  • Art forms as social moments of rituality
  • Masks and masquerades
  • Cultural history of representation
  • Anthropology of experience
  • Time, rituality and representation
  • Rituals and collectivity
  • Sacred representations
  • Representation in society, representation as a social act
  • Anthropology of performance: meaning and social aspects of representation
  • Symbolic meanings in representations

Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 31 August 2019 to:

Please download paper proposal form.

Registration fee – 100 GBP

Provisional conference venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX

(posted 6 June 2019)

Academic Fiction
Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, 15-16 November 2019
Deadline for abstract submission: 1 October 2019

The Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Professor Merritt Moseley invite abstracts for twenty-minute papers on academic fiction.

Papers addressing any aspect of the relationship between academic fiction and the real world, literary commentary on the crises of university education, the lives of academics, creative writers in academia, academia and race, class, or gender, or other relevant topics are welcomed. Relevant non-fiction and film may also be considered. There is no cost for participation.

Submit an abstract of around 150 words with a brief biographical statement to Merritt Moseley, via email at

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 1 October 2019. Notifications will follow on 10 October.

Organisers: Professor Merritt Moseley and Dr hab. Bożena Kucała

(posted 28 May 2019)

Journalism as Justice
De Montfort University Leicester, United Kingdom, 20-21 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 15 September 2015

Hosted by the DMU Institute of Evidenced-Based Law Reform

Keynote speaker: Hayashi Kaori, Professor of Media and Journalism Studies at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo, and author of Journalism for Justice with Ethics of Care (2011). Hayashi sheds light on journalistic practices that are sensitive to the needs of the socially weak and that advocate on their behalf. These practices, she argues, have not yet been evaluated fairly in the journalism scholarship

Traditionally, journalism and justice have been separate fields. A loose relationship has existed between the two through media reports which touch on issues of justice. Yet journalism can perform a greater and positive role in the achievement of justice. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight the importance of peace, justice and strong institutions. Independent media are an integral part of good governance that is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Investigative stories uncover injustices by state and non-state actors, which impede progress and development. However, the third sector – the key player in social justice – often encounters barriers in accessing media. With the advent of new technologies over the past few decades, journalism has assumed different manifestations. Social media have provided to be alternative and useful platforms for interaction and dissemination of information, but ‘fake news’ highlights the negative uses of the digital space. There is scope for inquiry into the links between forms of journalism and typologies of justice, inclusive of, and not limited to, social justice, distributive justice, criminal justice, transitional justice and restorative justice. The central questions are: how can journalism, in all its forms, become an effective tool for, and perform its work, towards the attainment of justice?

This interdisciplinary conference intends to bring together academics, journalists, lawyers, researchers, bloggers/influencers and practitioners in the third sector (NGOs), and hopes to conclude by identifying and proclaiming a set of guiding principles identifying the role of journalism in promoting justice.

We encourage potential participants to submit proposals for papers on a topic of their choice relating to the conference theme. The conference presents an opportunity for individual works and potential collaborations across different disciplines.Generally, papers which explore the intersections between any form of journalism/media constructions/representations, and the various typologies of justice are encouraged. Consideration should be made, where possible, to link the submissions to SDG 16. Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

  • Justice through journalism
  • Press freedom and justice
  • Journalism and development
  • Peace, justice and the media
  • Race, media and justice
  • Gender, media and justice
  • Social justice and media access
  • Media, ethics and law
  • Social justice journalism in digital age
  • Citizen journalism and justice
  • Investigative journalism and justice
  • Journalism and environmental justice
  • Media and restorative justice
  • New media and justice
  • Journalism and transitional justice
  • Migration, media and justice


  1. The deadline for submitting a detailed abstract (500 words) and full author details (title, affiliation) is 15 September
  2. Selection of papers is based on the quality of abstracts submitted (i.e. clarity on the intersection between media forms/practice and justice). Selected presenters will be notified by 30 September 2019.
  3. The paper must be an original submission not presented or published or under consideration for publication
  4. Both abstracts and full papers should be submitted as MS Word files by e-mail to: (subject line: “ABSTRACT”)
  1. The full papers should also be sent to the same email address by 10 November
  2. Papers should be no more than 8,000 words, single-spaced in Times New Roman 12 point (Harvard referencing)
  3. Abstracts and papers must be in English.

The two-day conference is open to academics, journalists, researchers, practitioners in related fields, students and non-governmental organisations.

Expected outcomes of conference:

  • Declaration on principles/the role of journalism in achieving justice
  • Publication of the selected submissions in a journal special issue
  • Establishment of a network on journalism and justice

Registration fee: £250 (also covers conference dinner: 20 November 2019)

To register, please complete attached registration form and return to

with the subject line “REGISTRATION.” Details for payment will be provided after the form has been returned. Full programme details of the conference will be sent to confirmed attendees.

(posted 26 July 2019)

Thirty Years Since The Fall of Communism: Visual Narratives, Memory and Culture
University of Galați, Galați, Romania, 21-22 Novembe 2019
Deadline for submissions: 28 July 2019

Conference organizer: “Dunărea de Jos” University of Galați, Galați, Romania (a joint project of the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology, the Faculty of Letters, and the Cross-border Faculty)

Notification of Acceptance: August 1. 2019
Contact email:
Conference website:

A joint project of the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology, the Faculty of Letters, and the Cross-border Faculty of the “Dunărea de Jos” University of Galați, the conference is intended as a cultural forum for imparting knowledge and research on the textuality and representation of recent, lived history, from different yet interrelated angles:

  •  History and Memory Studies
  •  Political Sciences
  •  Cultural Studies
  •  Film Studies
  •  Literary criticism
  •  Philosophy
  •  Sociology
  •  Cultural Anthropology, etc.

With obvious propagandistic aims, the feature films and documentaries produced in the Eastern Bloc would ‘rewrite’ the history in the making, providing their home audiences with the image of a system that should have been perceived as victorious against the evils of the corrupt, capitalist West, and as a blessing for the ones fortunate enough to be under the protection of the Party.

Equally worth commenting on are the few cultural products of the age that escaped censorship in their attempt to fight the regime, either by subtle insertion of subversive elements in the communist visual propaganda or by ‘emigration’ to a free world that was more than willing to find out what was going on behind the Iron Curtain.

Following the 1989 revolutions, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, lastly, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, cultural memory has been set in motion to ‘show and tell’ how communism really was, in visual artefacts which have painted ‘the age of horrors’, 1945-1989, as even darker than it had actually been. With freedom of expression newly guaranteed, art creators have, since then, struggled to re-textualize the imposed narratives of the recent past, thus re-producing a history of communism.

Without any claims to historical truth(s), we hereby invite individual contributions to an academic debate within the framework of an event that will hopefully shed some light on the way in which communism was culturally represented before and after 1989 in the former communist states and in the West.

A special panel will be dedicated to aspects of overcoming the communist trauma and regaining a sense of national identity through culture in the former Soviet states, with special emphasis on Moldova and Ukraine.

You are, therefore, kindly invited to submit an abstract of maximum 250 words for an individual presentation or a 500-word proposal for a panel or workshop to by July 25, 2019. Notification of acceptance will be sent by August 1, 2019.

The presentations can be delivered in English, French or Romanian. However, the papers sent for publication will be in English.


Following the standard procedure of blind peer review, a selection of papers will be published in a collective volume with PETER LANG (Germany), a renowned publishing house that has already expressed its interest in the topic. Papers equally qualitative that will fall outside the scope of the volume will be published in thematic issues of the journals edited by the organizing faculties:

  •  CULTURAL INTERTEXTS (, indexed with ERIH+ and Ebsco, under evaluation by Clarivate Analytics – Arts & Humanities Citation Index;
  •  ACROSS (, indexed with MLA, CEEOL and Index Copernicus, under evaluation by Ebsco.

(posted 11 June 2019)

The Desert and the USA
Université Bretagne Sud in Lorient, South Brittany, France,  21-23 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 10 February 2019

A conference organissd by The Université Bretagne Sud and the Université Bretagne Occidentale joint research group HCTI (“Héritages et Constructions dans le Texte et l’Image,” EA 4249) in collaboration with the Université Bordeaux-Montaigne and its research group CLIMAS (“Cultures et Littératures du Monde Anglophone,” EA 4196).

We seek papers investigating the link between the USA and its deserts but also with deserts outside American borders.
400-word abstracts as well as brief bio-bibliographies should be sent to the organizing board bFebruary 10th, 2019  
20-minute papers will be followed by a ten-minute discussion period. Papers may be delivered in either English or French.

Organizing board:

Confirmed Keynote: Catrin Gersdorf, University of Würzburg, Germany.

– February 10th, 2019: proposals
– April 1st, 2019: notifications
– July 1st – November 20th, 2019: conference registration (fee: 100€; 50€ for graduate students)

Call for Papers

I was crossing the desert. Smooth. Wind rippling at the window.There was no road, only the alkaline plain. There was no reason for me to be steering; I let go of the wheel. There was no reason to sit where I was; I moved to the opposite seat. I stared at the empty driver’s seat. I could see the sheen where I’d sat for years. We continued to move acros the desert.
Barry Holstun Lopez, Desert Notes: Reflections in the Eye of a Raven, 1976

Let’s just say the desert is an impulse.
Don DeLillo, Underworld, 1997

The desert is a fascinating locus that encompasses contradictory notions and extremes that seem, at first sight, incompatible. It is a place that one would readily call a non-place which may equally be indicative of an end or of a beginning. The desert may feature remains, traces of ruins, of a destruction, or even, of an annihilation that has just occurred. That is the reason why it may adequately depict “an ecstatic critique of culture, an ecstatic form of disappearance” (Baudrillard, Amérique 18) and it befits the apocalyptic event. Conversely, and owing to the same signs granting it its annihilating value, it stands as a form of nothingness out of which something is to be born, a virgin space from which beginning and being born are, in equal measure, just as implicit as dying and disappearing.

The desert also denotes that unformed background enabling all beings and all things to obtain a form of salience and a more singularized existence, highlighted, so to speak, by the surrounding void. In that sense, it can be argued that the desert operates the way a photographic developer does as it increases both being and the relationship to the other as if to single out what matters. It accommodates a form of life that cannot be seen, an ecosystem which is implicit. In that respect, the desert summons our attention and forces us to adjust our eyes to the level of the grain of sand. It explains why other modes of reading are required, as for instance, those of the Native Americans who, inhabiting in the full sense of the word the “Great Desert” that 19th century Euro-American explorers thought they had discovered, refuted de facto the latter’s perception of the American West as an empty, unfriendly and uninhabited place where the Natives had, supposedly, left no traces on the environment. It is interesting to note that for the newcomers reaching those great spaces, “desert” and “wilderness” have in common the fact that they are devoid of any human beings, a convenient definition to dehumanize peoples, appropriate their lands and colonize their homes/habitats. Roderick Nash reminds us that another link exists between the desert and the wilderness: in the 14th century, John Wycliffe “used wilderness to designate the uninhabited, arid land of the Near East in which so much of the action of the Testaments occurred […] Through this Biblical usage the concept of a treeless wasteland became so closely associated with wilderness that Samuel Johnson defined it in 1755 in his Dictionary of the English Language as ‘a desert; a tract of solitude and savageness.’ Johnson’s definition remained standard for many years in America as well as in England” (Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind 2-3). But, this “Great American Desert” was in fact inhabited and marked, that is to say replete with signs and meanings, including sacred ones.

What is usually called “desert” is no common place. Whether located in plains, mountains, barren lands, thick forests or desert islands, deserts are idiosyncratically other. To what processes of (re)semiotization may those different places be subjected when they are approached by artists, or by geographers, botanists, zoologists, sociologists or ethnologists? Do human beings living in such places fare differently from plants and animals that would probably perish in less extreme environments or milieus? Besides, since the first slave and maroon rebellions, US history has shown how space and resistance intricately interconnect, how politics and geography often merge. Are historians, in the wake of Thoreau, led to consider those unpopulated areas as sanctuaries, places of resistance, repositories of freedom and wildness? The desert suggests a “topographical manifestation of difference” (Gersdorf, The Poetics and Politics of the Desert 14) that starkly contrasts with a view of America as a land of plenty or as the Garden of Eden. Attempting to address the desert requires that one be ready to abandon the restricting aesthetic dictatorship of greenness (“get over the color green” Wallace Stegner). Envisaging the desert through an ecocritical lens will enable us to assess it in contradistinction to other ecosystems (ocean, mountain, prairie…) and other places that have become sanctuaries (national parks…) and to no longer consider it as a place defined by lack or deprivation, but as a place governed by satiety and balance, a place where “[t]here is no shortage of water […] but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand” (Abbey, Desert Solitaire 126).

These “arid United States” (Teague, The Southwest ix) also bring to mind the motif of an original tabula rasa whence all forms of experiments may be attempted, all civilization imagined. As the place of “desemiotization” (Bouvet, Pages de sable 15-16) par excellence, the desert calls for the advent of a new world, a new subjectivity, or a new spirituality. Yet, those transformations may sometimes function as utopias or simulacra, for the desert is often perceived as the place where mirages and hallucinations occur. It is indeed “a land of illusions” (Van Dyke, The Desert 2), a locus where sensorial and psychical fabrication facilitate the projection and transference of desires. It is almost in those terms that the yearly event known as “Burning Man” may be interpreted: created in 1986 and taking place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, “Burning Man” is a sort of pagan summer festival during which a transitory city and its ephemeral community are built only to then vanish without leaving a trace as if everything about it was but a mirage. The desert is also the ideal place to pursue the American dream of the space conquest. A case in point is the Mars Desert Research Station located in Utah which aims at reproducing the extreme living conditions encountered on Mars. The desert thus features both the ruins of our world and the experimental means of anticipating a post-Earth world.

The desert is not only concerned with space, it also evokes time. As it has always been connected to the impossibility of life or the idea of survival, it is intimately linked to death insofar as the horizon of destitution it suggests tends to endow it with a sense of utter and irremediable annihilation. As it presents itself as a place deprived of life, as a “blank spot on the map” (Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge 244), it welcomes all sorts of deadly projections and turns into an ideal terrain for simulations of death and destruction. The Nevada Desert was for a long time used to test the nuclear bomb and is now going to be the site of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. It is also a battlefield where the American army simulates war scenarios. Fort Irwin National Training Center (FINTC), California, for instance, accommodates fake Arab villages and replicates the type of topography GIs and Marines will encounter in the Middle-East.

This conference also provides an opportunity to turn our attention to some of the artistic renditions of the Gulf Wars. In DeLillo’s novel Point Omega, which takes place “somewhere south of nowhere in the Sonoran Desert” (Point Omega 20), the US Mojave Desert is superimposed on the Iraqi desert, the latter being a sort of traumatic and spectral residual trace that the protagonist attempts to repress. Also relevant are the works of the new generation of artists who experienced the war as journalists like Evan Wright or David Abrams, or like former soldiers Phil Klay or Kevin Powers for whom the desert “stretched out on all sides like an ocean of twice burned ash” (Powers, The Yellow Birds 183). The graphic novel (Uriarte’s The White Donkey), television series (Generation Kill, The Long Road Home…) but also the numerous movies dealing with the Iraq wars enable us to study the desert not only as a theatre of operations but also as a place interrogating the concepts of national territories and boundaries.

Proposals from the Early Modern period to the 21st century may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Desert and wilderness
  • Desert, war, armament
  • Desert and the West
  • Desert and city (Las Vegas, ghost towns…)
  • Desert and no-go zone, no man’s land, wasteland, outlaw
  • Desert, retreat, banishment, exile
  • Desert as refuge, resistance, liberty, radical reform (wildness, Thoreau)
  • Desert and the frontier
  • Desert and the Bible, sacredness, asceticism
  • Desert, orient and orientalism
  • Desert and biodiversity
  • Desert and ecocriticism (Mary Hunter Austin, Barry Lopez, Charles Bowden…)
  • Desert and desertification
  • Desert and visual arts: photography (Ansel Adams, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Robert Adams…); performance; land art; art installation (Wafaa Bilal, Danae Stratou, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Michael Heizer, James Turrell, Walter de Maria, Leonard Knight…); painting (Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederic Sackrider Remington…)
  • Desert and literature: Native American Literature, Southwestern Literature, Arab American Literature, Chicano-a literature…
  • Desert in films and series: road movies, western, sci-fi, utopias, dystopias, war…

(posted 7 December 2018)

The Dynamics of Resistance and Discontent
Sousse, Tunisia, 22-23 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2019

An International Conference organized by The Tunisian Association for English Language Studies (TAELS)

Resistance Studies have gained critical prominence within academic circles, opening up an arena for new scholarship. By examining the relationship between discontent and resistance as a site for investigation, scholars from different areas of research have sought to respond to the challenges of a contemporary turbulent world, covering in their attempts a wide array of fields of research, ranging from politics, sociology and gender studies to social media, literature, cultural studies and artistic expressions, among many others. In this new contemporary paradigm, the upsurge of such concern constitutes a capstone of social, political, cultural and literary fermentation.

Several readings of power/hegemony have engaged in critiquing discourses championing dominant groups over peripheral voices. The emergence of resistant agency is the logical outcome of a dynamic world open to new understandings of human relations. The dissemination of resistant discourses in social, political, gender, media, and literary contexts has never been equaled before. In fact, resistance is, de facto, related to the corruption of a present completely dissatisfactory and disappointing for those who seek action and change to build different futures. For instance, movements of liberation across the globe and the recent accelerations of events that gave birth to social uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa along with the high tide of populism across Europe and the United States are but a few articulate expressions of this age of resistance.

Out of a bitter sense of disappointment and discontent with the status quo, resistance has emerged as a subversive political stance and a challenging discourse to orthodox, monovocal, institutionalized doctrines. The articulation of the emerging and the celebration of the alternative correlate with the firm belief in the urgent need for change and the vitality of demythologizing homogenizing narratives. Perceived as such, resistance becomes the gateway to transcend the narrow confines of the dominant and a statement on the apocalyptic ramifications of a disintegrating “New World Order.”It therefore becomes urgent to valorize cultural practices, social upsurges and artistic performances for being the fulcrums of change articulating a common shared sense of discontent and lively testimonies on the unprecedented pace of change.

With its broad scope, literature has equally served as a platform for writers adhering to resistance and refusing to succumb to silence to theorize, fictionalize and politicize a considerable variety of timely issues. The interlacing of literature and politics offers a valuable space to negotiate the dialectics of discontent and resistance and foster a review of the conjuncture between the aesthetic, political and social challenges. The literary space endows marginalized minorities and subaltern groups with the power to voice their concerns and dispose of the fetters of an imposed silence. Anglophone literatures and diasporic narratives, for instance, constitute sites of resistance as writers try to negotiate new positionings and showcase ambivalent experiences. The artistic space in general, whether poetry, film, painting or dance, relocates agency to the hands of the stigmatized and the downtrodden. The process of relocation is galvanized within a discourse that stems its energy from discontent and that prospects to subvert the worldly certainties through resistance.

In language studies and media discourse, research on resistance and discontent has focused on strategies of manipulation and indoctrination. The emerging analytical frameworks offered new methodological tools for linguists and researchers in the humanities in general, to unveil patterns of hegemony and dominance in different types of corpora. The critical tradition in discourse studies opened new perspectives to study expressions of resistance and gave prominence to voices that have been historically silenced or forgotten.

It is within this framework that the steering committee welcomes individual and panel proposals related, but not limited, to the following topics:

  • Subversion and emancipation
  • Typology of resistance
  • Patterns of resistance
  • Narratives of resistance
  • Resistance as performance
  • Colonialism, imperialism and resistance
  • Minorities and resistance
  • Emerging forms of resistance
  • Resistance and discourse analysis
  • The aesthetics and politics of resistance
  • Resistance in the media
  • The sociolinguistics of Resistance
  • The arts of resistance


We welcome individual abstracts for 20-minute presentations and complete panel proposals of three or four papers treating a similar theme or topic. Priority will be given to panel proposals.

Participants are kindly invited to submit their proposals via one of these links:

The deadline to submit proposals is June 30th, 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by July 10th, 2019.

We accept abstracts and papers written in English, Arabic and French.

TAELS editorial board will select a number of papers that will be published after peer-reviewing in a collective volume on the proceedings of the conference.

Participation fees

Presenters of accepted papers will be required to deposit a participation fee of 250 TND (250 Euros for international participants) to TAELS bank account no later than August 31st, 2019.

Bank account details

IBAN: TN 59 1070 5007 0481 8407 8872
Bank address: Rue Hédi Nouira – 1001 Tunis – Tunisia
Swift code: STBKTNTT
TAELS Address: ISLG, Rue Ali Jemel, 6000, Gabes – Tunisia

The participation fee will cover:

For Tunisian participants For International participants

– One full-board night at a four-star hotel in Sousse (the conference venue),

– Conference bag,

– Submission of the paper to peer-reviewing,

– Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication.

Two full-board nights at a four-star hotel in Sousse (the conference venue),

– Conference bag,

– Submission of the paper to peer-reviewing,

– Two copies of the conference proceedings after publication.

For advice and more details about transportation and accommodation, please send your requests to . TAELS team will be happy to assist in making your stay most comfortable.

(posted 8 April 2019)

Performativity and Creativity in Modern Cultures: an Interdisciplinary Conference
Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, 22-24 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 1 Mach 2019

Performativity and creativity have often been used vaguely in a number of discourses in cultural studies, economics, political ideologies or advertising. The purpose of this conference is to explore the force of these concepts in pragmatic approaches to cultures and closely related industrial production (“creative industries”), in technological developments connected with performing arts and cultural communication, as well as in commercial entertainment.

In recent approaches, the understanding of performativity has transcended its original linguistic dimensions (Austin, Searle) and their deconstructionist critique (Derrida, Hillis Miller). In our view, it can be better described by studying notions like “fiction”, “play” (Iser), “gender” (Butler), “technology” (Foucault) or “social roles” (Goffman, Ross and Nisbett).

Similarly, creativity is no longer linked with the evolution of closed autopoietic systems (Niklas Luhmann). The conference offers to re-assess the existing notions of autopoiesis in view of the concepts of the virtual/actual (Deleuze, Buci-Glucksman), interface/interfaciality (Latour), media technologies and mediation (in broadest terms, including conflict resolution). It also invites interdisciplinary approaches inspired by the psychology of creativity (Csikszentmihályi), the philosophy, history, as well as the psychological and anthropological aspects of play (Huizinga, Sutton-Smith, Caillois and others).

Performativity and creativity will not be discussed separately, but as two interdependent faculties and agencies. The conference will explore them in diverse theoretical contexts, as well as historically – in the main phases of modernity, including the Early Modern period, Romanticism and its aftermaths, Modernism and avant-garde movements and the present time. Apart from developing and interconnecting the theories of fiction, play, media, political and aesthetic ideologies, as well as the notions of avant-garde and the post-modern, the conference aims to contribute to the exploration of recent socio-economic phenomena, such as the “creative industries”, and trace their historical dimensions. The conference is closely linked to the research in the European Regional Development Fund Project “Creativity and Adaptability as Conditions of the Success of Europe in an Interrelated World” (No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000734).

300 word abstracts of individual papers (including keywords and a bio-note of 100 words) or panel proposals (including 300 word description of the panel, keywords, bio-note(s) of the convenors, paper topics and university affiliations of all speakers) addressing one or more above issues should be submitted by 1 March 2019 to the following e-mail address: The notices of paper or panel acceptance will be e-mailed and further information about the venue, registration, accommodation and logistics will be publicized by 1 June 2019.

Professor Martin Procházka, Charles University, Prague
Professor Pavel Drábek, University of Hull

Proposed Paper or Panel Topics

1. Theoretical Aspects
a) Fictions in/and Culture
– Fiction and Play
– Fiction as Performance/Performative
– Fiction as Interface
b) Fiction, Creativity and Technology
– Virtual Nature of Fiction
– Fiction and “Political Technologies of Individuals” (Foucault)
– Imagining Communities: Revisiting Benedict Anderson
c) Performance of Presence
– Performing the Self and the Body
– Performing a Social Role
– Being in a Social Field
d) Propositional Performativity
– The Possible, the Aleatory, the Future
– Modelling the Worlds through Play
– Performance as Negation of Status Quo (carnival, heterotopia, subversion)
2. Performativity and Creativity in Different Periods of Modernity:
Aesthetics, Cultural Theory and History

a) The Early Modern Formation of the Self and the Public Sphere
– Enacting the Social Strata
– Mimetic Desire (Girard)
– Performance as Mediation/Bridging of the Cultural Other (intraculturally, interculturally)
b) Performing One’s World: Performance as Exteriorisation and Interiorisation
c) Autonomy of Artworks from the Renaissance to Romanticism. The Notion of “Heterocosm” and its Development through the Modernity
d) Romantic Aesthetic Ideologies
– in Art and Culture
– in Relation to Radical Political and National Emancipation
– Avant-garde and (Post)Modern Approaches to Performativity and Creativity
e) Performativity and Creativity in Modern Technology and Media Cultures
– the shifting sensorium (Ong): from script and book print, through early modern experiments, to modern VR and AR media
– the “battlefields” of creativity; performativity in the novel territories
3. “Creative Industries”: a Reassessment
a) Historical
– (Early) Modern Theatre and Entertainment Industry
– Film and Popular Entertainment
– Revisiting Guy Debord – The Society of Spectacle
– Changing Functions of Mass Entertainment: From Bear-Baiting to Reality Show
– Virtual Spaces, Second Lives, Games, Avatars and Media Surrogates
b) New Media: Creativity and Entertainment
– Political, Social, Aesthetic and Ethical Aspects
– A SWOT analysis of present-day media culture

(posted 12 November 2018)

Visions and Revisions of the Metropolis: International Conference on London Studies
London, UK, 23 November 2019
Deadline for proposals: 15 August 2019

organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

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Since its beginnings, London has been regarded as the epitome of progress and advancement even in times of profound crisis and discord, exerting the charm of the vast setting that concentrates most, if not all, human experiences. From ancient Londinium to the 21st-century metropolis, the ever expanding urban settlement has emerged as a complex heterogeneous entity forging a particular code of conduct governed by imagination and originality, talent and vision that generate almost endless significations of the self.

The conference will explore the particular spirit of the English conurbation, one of the most influential cities in the world, aiming to identify some of the features that make up its distinctive personality. It will promote an interdisciplinary perspective on the various issues related to the process of making London into a powerful centre of social, political, economic, scientific, cultural, artistic and literary authority. The conference will also focus on the distinctive symbolism of the city and the particular states of mind generated by the interaction with the insular megalopolis, and the way in which people – Londoners either by birth or adoption, as well as temporary residents and transient visitors – translate geographically recognisable sites into culturally constructed places.

The main objective of the event is to bring together all those interested in examining the intersections between their professions and/or interests and some distinct aspects of metropolitan life, providing an integrated approach for the understanding of London’s complex nature as a physical space, a geographic place and a concept: an unpredictable and yet permanent city state, a global hub of learning, knowledge, leisure and creative industries, a state of mind and a lifestyle marked by cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism.

Topics include but are not limited to several core issues:

  • London ages: from prehistory to the 21st century

  • London and the rest of Britain

  • myths, legends and tales of the city

  • iconic symbols and landmarks

  • green spaces and landscapes

  • heritage, culture and the arts
  • gentrification and displacement

  • the city and its people

  • what is a Londoner?

  • urban space and gender
  • the language(s) of the city

  • narrative and identity
  • artistic representations of London

  • metropolitan power and subversion
  • utopian/dystopian perceptions of the metropolis

  • urban extremes and mainstreams
  • walking in and around the city

  • old and new secrets of the city

  • love and death in London

  • fun in London, funny London

  • the senses of London

  • the alternative metropolis

  • fictions and futures of the city
  • post-Brexit London

  • the Thames and the lost rivers of London

Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 15 August 2019 to: download paper proposal form.

Registration fee – 100 GBP

Provisional conference venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX

(posted 6 June 2019)

Addressing Readers: The Pragmatics of Communication from the First Printed Novels in English to 20th-and 21st-Century Digital Fiction
University Paul-Valéry Montpellier III, France, 28-29 November 2018
Deadline for proposals: 20 May 2019

Research lab: EMMA, Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone (
Conveners: Virginie Iché & Sandrine Sorlin

This conference intends to focus on the specific relationship authors and/or narrators entertain with their readers in fictional works from the first novels written in English in the 18th century to 21st-century digital fictions. It is predicated on the idea that fiction is a form of communicative act in the vein of Roger Sell’s works in literary pragmatics (Sell 1991, 2000, 2011) or James Phelan’s (2011: 56, 2017) conception of literature as a “communicative event,” that is “a rhetorical action in which an author addresses an audience for some purpose(s).”

The first English ‘novel’ forms of the 18th century seem to have adopted the conversational mode, with recurrent direct addresses to the readers, meant to lead them through the narrative, to convince them of the (in)authenticity of the stories or to coax them into sharing the authors’/ narrators’ ethical judgment. 19th-century novels still feature many instances of intervening narrators directly addressing the reader, Brontë’s Jane Eyre’s cue “Reader, I married him” being the most famous of the narrator’s felt necessity to confide in the reader at key points of the novel. But as Warhol (1989) indicates, other British and American woman writers (such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, or George Eliot) longed to engage their readers’ sympathy for the cause of American slaves, working-class poor in Manchester, or middle-class rural folk in England, directly urging them to identify with the real-life characters they were describing. The attempt at persuading can go the other way round with readers trying to deter the authors of serial narratives (such as Dickens or Thackeray) from killing a character for instance (sparing little Nell is a famous plea addressed to the author of The Old Curiosity Shop). In the 20th century, the conversational mode with the reader for whom the piece of work is designed seems to have been dropped, or at least to have persisted in much more concealed ways, as modernist works do not much feature intrusive narrators guiding readers through the narratives.

The primary research questions this conference aims to tackle are the following: is what appears as a progressive disappearance of the explicit communicative framework a reality from the 18th to the 20th century in fiction (written in English)? If so, how to account for the phenomenon? Are there aesthetic and stylistic reasons? Different tastes and approaches to the novel? Have the more and more sophisticated techniques of thought (re)presentation that have been used to reflect characters’ deeply intimate thoughts in (post)modernist fiction for instance, inevitably eclipsed the need to communicate with the reader through a direct channel? Has the reader been at some point (like the author) “refined out of existence” to favour immersion in the story-world and to bring language and/or characters to the front scene? Yet, even in the most language-oriented novel, addresses to the reader are not absent: in Finnegans Wake, Joyce seems to have been keen on leaving the channel of communication open with his readers (Cahalan 1995). Is, as Warhol (1986) intimates, the disapproved “sentimentalism” of the 19th-century “engaging” (rather than “distancing” narrator responsible for its disappearance in literature? Or does it simply reflect one specific historical and ideological moment, direct address in fiction being then the only public forum possible for women to speak “directly, personally, and influentially”?

However, from the 1970s onwards, addressed fiction of old seems to have re-emerged under the guise of second-person narratives (Fludernik 1993, 1994) that make the situation of address “insistent” again. This morphologically explicit address (“you”) seems to become even more “reader-engaging” in 20th– and 21st-century digital fiction that requires some form of participation from the readers (through clicking on hyperlinks or direct input) if they want the story to go on at all (Bell 2014, 2016, Bell & Ensslin 2011, Bell et al, 2010, 2014). Examining second-person addresses in digital fiction may then shed a new light on the type of participation hoped for or required by direct addresses in earlier print fiction. Do print fiction and digital fiction use direct addresses in radically different ways? Do direct addresses in digital fiction signal to the 21st-century reader, already attuned to the many potentialities of digital material, that s/he can have an active role in co-constructing the story or exploiting the glitches of the digital narrative (Angello 2016) or is this type of reader participation only superficially active?

In both print and digital fictions, the reference of this “you” is purposefully confused and confusing (see Bell & Ensslin 2011, Clarkson 2005; DelConte 2003; Gibbons & Macrae 2018; Fludernik 1993, 1994, 1996; Hantzis 1988; Herman 1994; Hopkins & Perkins 1981; Kacandes 1993; Margolin 1986, 1990; Morrissette 1965; Prince 1985, 1987; Richardson 1991, 2006; Sorlin 2014, 2015, 2017) – a far cry from the clear-cut I/you dyad relationship of Henry Fielding’s novels for instance. But can’t we see in the emerging narrative form of “Twitterfiction” (Thomas 2014) for instance a return to a closer writer/reader relationship in the passionate manner of Victorian times, with the 21st-century digital reader becoming an active and indispensable participant in the writing/reading process? Yet, tweeting does allow for immediate replies to the author to a stronger, faster degree, thereby destabilising the author-reader power relationship to an unprecedented level.

These new trends in both print and digital fiction have called for new narratological models of analysis to account for this specific place allotted to addressees in fiction (Fludernik’s “homo- and heterocommunicative” categories in lieu of Genette’s homodiegetic and heterodiegetic narratives for instance or DelConte’s 2003 focus on who is listening rather than who is speaking or seeing have been instrumental in this perspective). Yet, reader-centered theories seem to have sometimes lost sight of the other partner in the communication process, the author and/or narrator. Although authorship/narratorship seems more “diffuse” in odd-pronominal narratives (especially first-person plural novels) or in cybernarration, the relationship should be thought as a joint process. In this respect, fictional interactions could be pragmatically analysed (from the more traditional to the more recent pragmatic trends, namely (im)politeness theories based on face-work in interactions for instance). Few studies have indeed convened (im)politeness to account for communication in fiction (Jucker 2016, Kizelbach 2014, 2017, McIntyre & Bousfield 2017, Simpson 1989 being exceptions) even though the author/narrator does use different speech acts to court the reader, to confide in him/her and establish an intimate bond with him/her or, on the other hand, to castigate or tease him/her (think of John Barth’s famous address in Lost in the Funhouse (1968): “The reader! You, dogged, uninsultable, print-oriented bastard, it’s you I’m addressing, who else, from inside this monstrous fiction”), which implies specific conception, consideration and negotiation of face needs and wants in the communication framework at stake in a particular fiction.

Contributions adopting a pragmatic perspective in the study of the modes of interpellation and ways of engaging the reader in fiction (both print and digital) will thus be most welcome. The following topics and questions may be approached, the list not being exhaustive:

  • a diachronic approach: (R)evolution of the participation framework across centuries?
  • correspondences between 19th-century novels in instalments and early forms of digital fiction?
  • the reader’s actual ‘freedom’ in what seems to be ‘author-controlled’ early fictions and ‘reader-centered’ late-20th– and 21st-century interactive fictions?
  • odd-pronominal narratives blurring the notion of authorship/narratorship (we/they narratives) and readership (you narratives) and/or crossing the frontiers between the actual and the virtual world
  • direct address and gender
  • (author/narrator’s and reader’s) co-construction of faces
  • (im)politeness and the pragmatics of communication in fiction
  • the “interpellated” (Lecercle 1999) or the “positioned” (Stockwell 2013) reader: two different things?
  • (authorial/narratorial) intervention and readers’ immersion in the plot: two opposed modes?
  • addresses in paratexts
  • engaging narrators and readers’ responses to them in different genres (fiction for children or young adults, detective novel, ‘bad guy’ first-person narratives/crime fiction, etc.)
  • the evolution of novel reading (Birke 2016)
  • translation of forms of address

Deadline for submission: May 20 2019
Notification of acceptance: June 20 2019
Proposals of around 300 words to be sent to
Language of the conference: English
Selected papers will be considered for publication
Registration fees : 60€, free for students.

Guest speakers:
Prof. Alice Bell (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)
Prof. Jean-Jacques Lecercle (Nanterre University, France)
Prof Roger Sell (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)

(posted 27 October 2018)

Gender, Citizenship and Ethnicity: International Conference on Gender Studies
Cambridge, UK: 30 November-1 December 2019
Deadline for proposals: 31 August 2019

organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

The conference seeks to explore the past and current status of gender identity around the world, to examine the ways in which society is shaped by gender and to situate gender in relation to the full scope of human affairs.

Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:
  •  gender equality
  •  women’s rights and women’s history
  •  gender and education
  •  women and leadership
  •  women’s and men’s health
  •  gender and sexuality
  •  gender and religion
  •  gender and literature
The conference is addressed to academics, researchers and professionals with a particular interest related to the conference topic. We invite proposals from various disciplines including history, sociology, political studies, anthropology, culture studies and literature. The language of the conference is English.
Proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 31 August 2019 to:
Dr Olena Lytovka Download Paper proposal form.

Standard registration fee – 220 GBPStudent registration fee – 180 GBPConference venue:

Lucy Cavendish College – University of CambridgeLady Margaret Road

(posted 8 June 2019