Simon Armitage: Probation Officer to Poet Laureate
Université de Lille, France, 12-13 March 2020
Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2019
Keynote speaker: Terry Gifford
With a reading by Simon Armitage, an exhibition of the poet’s works, and an exhibition of students’ artworks
Organisation Committee: Claire Hélie (Senior Lecturer, Lille), Samuel Trainor (Senior Lecturer, Lille), Marc Porée (Professor, Ecole normale supérieure, Paris), Carole Birkan Berz (Senior Lecturer, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3), Juliette Utard (Senior Lecturer, Sorbonne, Paris 4), David Creuze (PhD student, Lille)
The biographical note accompanying one of the first poems Simon Armitage ever published, read simply: “SIMON ARMITAGE was born in Marsden, Huddersfield in 1963, he is now a post-graduate at Manchester University” (Iron Magazine 1986).
Today Simon Armitage’s list of publications boasts over 20 collections of poetry, from Human Geography (Smith/Doorstop Books 1986) to Sandette Light Vessel Automatic (Faber 2019), as well as a number of plays and radio dramas, two novels, two travel books, a collection of essays, his memoirs, literary anthologies, film poems, poetry documentaries for television, and innumerable conferences and public appearances. He has also been the recipient of a vast number of literary prizes and awards.
On the 10th of May 2019, towards the end of his time as Oxford Professor of Poetry, he was appointed as the UK’s Poet Laureate, succeeding Carol Anne Duffy for a fixed term of ten years. His appointment to one of the most prestigious roles in English poetry makes this an opportune moment to look back on the poetic career of a man who was still working as a probation officer during the publication of his first four major collections (Zoom!, 1989 to Book of Matches, 1993). The analysis of his career might focus on concepts of emergence, legitimisation and canonisation. Participants might consider contributions based on the following, non-exhaustive, list of themes and questions:
- Armitage as an example of exchanges between margin and centre
- Armitage’s relationship with classic literature and traditional literary forms (translations, re-dramatisations, formal constraints etc.)
- Armitage in translation (Paul Bensimon in French, Jan Wagner in German, Erminia Passannanti and Bocchiola in Italian…)
- the reception of Armitage’s poetry beyond the UK and in non-anglophone countries
- Armitage and anthologies (both those he has edited and those in which his work is included)
- Armitage’s relationship with other poets of his generation (both those in the so-called “New Generation” and those not included in this list)
- Armitage’s relationship with poets that have inspired him (e.g. Ted Hughes) and with new or younger poets
- Armitage as performer (poetry readings, conferences, television and radio broadcasts)
- Armitage’s humour
- representations of Armitage and his poetry in the press and via social media
- Armitage and literary prizes (as recipient and jury member)
- The Simon Armitage Archives at Leeds University
- Armitage on the GCSE curriculum
- the reception of Armitage beyond poetry circles (e.g. controversy surrounding the Stanza Stones)
- Armitage in relation to ‘Englishness’ and Northern English identity and culture
- Armitage and the political context of Brexit and the absence of English devolution
- Armitage’s appointment as Poet Laureate
Abstracts of 500 words max (preferably in English), accompanied by a biography/bibliography of 150 words max, should be sent to email@example.com by 30 September 2019. The results of the committee’s selection process will be sent out in November.
(posted 2 August 2019, posted 19 September 2019)
Troubling Usurpations: Imposture in the literature, cinema and the arts of the English-speaking world
University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France, 19-20 March 2020
Deadline for proposals of papers or of panels: 20 Septembe 2019
Please send 400-500-word proposals, in English or French, along with a short bio-bibliographical note, to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 September 2019.
Please note that panel proposals (3-4 papers) are welcome.
This international conference aims to question the representations of usurpation and imposture in the literature, cinema and the arts of the English-speaking world, from the Renaissance to the present day.
As Roland Gori argues, impostors are powerful tools to reveal how a given culture and period works: indeed usurpers will mimic the rituals, signs and masks through which power, authority and even identities are usually established in a given society, so that the impostor’s unruly or irregular use of such codes is a way of highlighting them. Impostors reveal established definitions of authority, their underlying principles and concealed contradictions: as a liberal vision of individual freedom expands across the English-speaking world, as the individual per se is increasingly seen as the “author” of his or her own life, narratives centered on forged identities bring to light the limits of individualism (e.g. James Gatz in The Great Gatsby). In gothic fiction, both the usurpers bent on overthrowing legitimate leaders and the Promethean or Epimethean figures who seem to usurp a position of divine power – from Manfred to Victor Frankenstein – tend to disclose theological as well as political issues. In sensation fiction, identity theft – whether through bigamy or assumed identities (Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret; Mrs Henry Wood, East Lynne) – lays bare the contradictions of marriage law in the Victorian era.
In anonymous, impersonal places where social control has loosened its grip, usurpation is in full bloom. In Samuel Clemens’s and Herman Melville’s works, the Mississippi river in the middle of the nineteenth century is an in-between zone where any stranger may appear as a potential usurper of someone else’s identity (Melville, The Confidence Man; Clemens, Huckleberry Finn). In periods of fast-growing urbanization, large cities become labyrinthine, anonymous spaces where various forgeries may be given free play: the upwardly mobile trajectory of the upstart, racial passing in the United States, cross-dressing, all seem to point to ambiguous quests for emancipation which blur the conventional boundary between conformism and the transgression of accepted norms.
When represented on screen, many forms of usurpation tend to disrupt preconceived ideas about collective or individual identity (linked to race, gender, or to the human as opposed to the non-human or trans-human); these troubling usurpations question any firm distinction between different facets of the self or the frontier between the self and one’s social personae (Mad Men, Vertigo, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ready Player One). When masks, avatars or doubles do embody a definite part of the self, it is not always easy to draw the line between the “genuine” identity and the “fabricated” one. When new channels and modes of communication are seen to thrive, notably on social media, the theme of usurpation in literature and the visual arts keeps drawing our attention toward a persistent problem: do usurpations point to an inherently theatrical character of social life which should be embraced as an inevitable, and even enjoyable, aspect of human existence (as can be seen in virtual communities where “catfishing” is an aspect of social life) or do they point to a philosophical and political aporia, to the lack of any firm foundation for any social contract?
When texts, plays or films represent unsettling modes of usurpation, those fictions also call for a critical debate on what constitutes an authoritative position. How is identity theft repressed or punished? Who is supposed to put the usurper back in his or her place? And may the authority of the avenging or righteous figure be considered as yet another form of power abuse?
Usurpation may also be tackled from a semiotic angle when the usurper seems to be nothing but a persona, a “sheer” signifier with no substantial signified, coming across psychologically as devoid of any inner life and being reduced, therefore, to his or her surface appearance. We also invite reflections on the metafictional, poetic and aesthetic dimensions of imposture in particular works of fiction, when the impersonator may be seen as symbolising the powers of fiction itself, notably in the case of unreliable narrators.
We welcome any study of the following topics (please note that the list is indicative and by no means comprehensive):
– Representations of legitimate and illegitimate rulers, usurpers of political or religious authority, the virtuous, educational use of mimicry and imposture;
-Representations of upstarts, cross-dressers, bigamists, racial passing, medical doctors and simulators, usurped professional, sexual, or national identities in biographies/autobiographies/ biopics/ artistic performances;
- – New forms of the performance of identity in contemporary media: the use and misuse of avatars;
- – Usurpation, social control and social unrest;
- – Counterfeited signs, counterfeited evidence: semiotic, legal, medical perspectives on the illegitimate or irregular use of signs;
- – Imposture and metafiction; illusionism, realism and trompe-l’œil in literature, the cinema and the arts;
- – Usurpers in spy fiction, in detective fiction, in satirical texts, films or cartoons;
- – Psychoanalytical and/or philosophical perspectives on imposture; imposture and ontological or political dead-ends.
Download a select bibliography.
(posted 24 May 2019)
New Perspectives in Science Education International Conference, 9th edition
Florence, Italy, 19-20 March 2020
Deadline for proposals: 22 October 2019
The 9th edition of the New Perspectives in Science Education Conference will take place in Florence, Italy, on 19 – 20 March 2020.
The objective of the Conference is to promote transnational cooperation and share good practice in the field of innovation for science education. The Conference is also an excellent opportunity for the presentation of previous and current projects in the science field.
The Call for Papers is addressed to teachers, researchers and experts in the field of science education as well as to coordinators of science and training projects. Experts in the field of science teaching and learning are therefore invited to submit an abstract of a paper to be presented during the conference.
- 22 October 2019: Deadline for submitting abstracts
- 5 November 2019: Notification of abstracts’ acceptance / rejection
- 20 January 2020: Deadline for papers’ submission
- 19-20 March 2020: 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 FilodirittoEditore with ISBN and ISSN 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 Academia.edu and indexed in Google Scholar.
For further information, please contact us at the following address: email@example.com or visit the New Perspectives in Science Education conference website http://conference.pixel-online.net/NPSE
(posted 25 July 2019)
D.H.Lawrence and the People: 34th International D.H.Lawrence Conference
Université Paris Nanterre, France, 26-28 March 2020
Deadline for proposals: 10 November 2019
A conference organised by Centre de recherches anglophones, Université Paris Nanterre
The people is a more or less discreet or threatening presence in Lawrence’s fiction, a kind of collective character with its psychology and narrative function, or a topic for discussion between protagonists. It is also an important theme in the author’s non-fiction, “the political problem of the collective soul” as Gilles Deleuze puts it in his introduction to “Apocalypse.” One immediately thinks of the essay “Education of the People,” but the focus should not be exclusively on this controversial text. “The people,” that of the contemporary working class, is a theme of speculation from Lawrence’s first writings to the last. Even where Lawrence is tempted to romanticise exotic, primitive, or past peoples untouched by industrialization and modernity, we may perceive oblique references to his own people.
What people in Lawrence? And who does he write for? Both the polysemy of the term and the fact that the writer was himself “of the people” or “from this people” makes for complexity and probably renders these questions to which he responded with characteristic ambivalence more interesting ones.
The following is a non-exclusive list of possible topics of inquiry: Lawrence as a commentator of contemporary social theories, the will of the people, the people and the law, the social structure of primitive and modern societies, ethics and politics, leadership, the sense of superiority, colonized peoples, patriotism, intellectual influences and antagonisms;
The deadline for proposals is 10 November 2019. Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 20 November 2019.
Please send a 200 word abstract to
Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes : http://www.revues.org/10111
(posted 17 June 2019)