Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in July 2020

Transcodification: Literatures – Arts – Media: First Conference of the ICLA Research Committee on Literatures/Arts/Media (CLAM)
Department of Humanities, Excellence Program 2018-2022, University of L’Aquila, Italy, 1-3 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 10 February 2020

The transition of narratives, characters, themes and iconic elements from one code of representation to another represents one of the most fundamental processes through which the literary and artistic fields evolve, transform, and expand within a given culture. These same processes of transcodification also play a vital role in how different cultures interact across time and space. In the classical world, mythical narratives were disseminated through the Homeric epic, the theatrical genre of tragedy and the visual arts. From the onset of Christianity to the late modern age, the history of European art has been driven by the adaptation of episodes from the Bible and other religious texts across a number of media, from painting to sculpture, from medieval plays to sacre rappresentazioni, from musical texts to folkloric practices. Fables have moved from orality to the written form; at the same time, written narratives have been circulating through oral transmission. Medieval and early modern manuscripts were illuminated; modern and contemporary texts are illustrated. From antiquity to the contemporary media franchise, transcodification is ubiquitous.
Today, mass media and the digital revolution have changed—and are still changing—the notions of author, text, public, intellectual property and medium that were inherited from the 20th century’s critical traditions. Literature, cinema, theatre and television are now facing the multisensory logic of the contemporary mediascape, a logic based on inclusion, acceleration, simultaneity and hyper-mediation. The idea of text has expanded into that of hypertext, while narration is becoming more and more pluralistic, polycentric and antihierarchical: as proposed by Lev Manovich (2010), narratives are becoming more and more like softwares that can be endlessly rewritten and reused. Cinema is being re-articulated in the forms of the so-called postcinema, in which films become part of a larger system of converging media and cinema can be relocated outside its traditional and institutional spaces. This medium’s formal structures are being disseminated in urban spaces, thus giving birth to new forms of visuality like videomapping and media façade installations. Media may quote and thematize other media, according to the well-known concept of re-mediation coined by Bolter and Grusin (1999), thus generating what Irina Rajewsky (2002) defined as “intermedia references”. The interactivity and immersivity of videogames, augmented reality and virtual reality, as well as the transmedia and crossmedia organization of storytelling (especially in the case of TV series), also suggest a deep sense of engagement towards media hybridization and the exploration of innovative forms of textuality. Finally, the question has arisen, and is still being debated, whether it is appropriate to consider the theatre as part of the cluster of forms which, since the middle of the 20th century, have been subsumed under the general label “media”.
Given these premises, the first CLAM conference Transcodification: Literatures – Arts – Media represents an invitation to investigate the principles and practices of transcodification across time and space, as well as to discuss re-mediation as an aesthetic category which implies fluidity, fragmentation and pluralization. The conference’s main purpose is to offer an intermedial perspective on fiction and the arts taking as a starting point the insights provided by the most recent developments in comparative literature. More specifically, such an inquiry’s aim is twofold:

  • historicizing transcodification, re-mediation and intermediality as both a set of practices and a set of philosophical notions;
  • exploring transcodification in the contemporary (post-WWII) age and examining the new roles and configurations of literature in the global polymorphic imagination.
We encourage contributions addressing any of the following areas or any interrelation between them:
  • Transcodification, adaptation and intermediality, from antiquity to today;
  • Literatures and the arts;
  • Transmedia narratology;
  • Philosophies of transcodification;
  • Literary transcodifications: new perspectives in comparative literature;
  • The dissemination of literary techniques (narration, empathy, point of view, etc.) in every aspect of contemporary culture;
  • Cinema/TV series and intermediality: theoretical frameworks;
  • Postcinema and new digital technologies;
  • TV series and transmedia television
  • Baroque/Neo-Baroque: theories, aesthetics and technologies;
  • Performance, performativity and theatricality;
  • Digital Art: aesthetics, environments and historical perspectives;
  • Inter-art studies;
  • Hybrid forms of mediality: musical theatre, theatrical performance, graphic novels, transmedia storytelling, computer games, video art, video clips, advertising, webseries, videomapping, media façade, etc.
Confirmed Keynotes:
Sean Cubitt, University of Melbourne / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu / Christopher Johnson, Arizona State University / Ágnes Pethő, Sapientia University of Cluj-Napoca / Marie-Laure Ryan, University of Colorado / Rebecca Schneider, Brown University

We invite you to send paper proposals to clam2020conference@gmail.com
Proposals should include an abstract (300 words max), five keywords and a short biographical note(10 lines max).
The working language of the conference will be English.
The deadline for abstracts submission is February 10, 2020.
Participants will be notified of acceptance by March 15, 2020.
The conference will not have a registration fee.
The conference venue is the Department of Humanities, Viale Nizza, 14, L’Aquila.
Further information about accommodation and how to reach the conference venue will be published at www.clam-icla.com (the website is currently under construction).
 
Scientific Committee:
Massimo Fusillo, University of L’Aquila, Italy / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu, Estonia / Hans-Joachim Backe, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark / Jan Baetens, KU Leuven; Belgium / Bart Van Den Bossche, KU Leuven, Belgium / Kiene Brillenburg Wurth, University of Utrecht, Netherlands / Jørgen Bruhn, Linnaeus University, Sweden / Philippe Despoix, University of Montréal, Canada / Caroline Fischer, Université de Pau, France / Yorimitsu Hashimoto, University of Osaka, Japan / Karin Kukkonen, University of Oslo, Norway / Christina Ljungberg, University of Zurich, Switzerland / Kai Mikkonen, University of Helsinki, Finland / Nam Soo-Young, Korea National Univerity of Arts, Korea / Haun Saussy, University of Chicago, USA / Márcio Seligmann-Silva, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Brazil
 
Organizing Committee:
Massimo Fusillo / Doriana Legge / Mirko Lino / Mattia Petricola / Gianluigi Rossini

(posted 17 Januay 2020)


The Travelling Self: Tourism and Life-Writing in Eighteenth-Century Europe
All Souls College, Oxford, UK, 2-3 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 Apruil 2020

CANCELLED. The conference has been put off until 2021. A new call for papers will be issued.

The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies @& Società Italiana di Studi sul Secolo Diciottesimo: Seventh International Joint Conference

The eighteenth century saw the invention of modern tourism and a startling proliferation of new kinds of life-writing. This conference will explore how travellers wrote about themselves while they were away from home, and how our historical understanding of the phenomenon of travel – including domestic travel, but focusing on the Grand Tour – has relied on, but also been restricted by, travellers’ own accounts, whether they seek to project a specific image of themselves (public or private, true or self-censored) or are unaware of how much they are giving up. Letters, diaries, journals, travelogues and any kind of personal reminiscences – either real or fictional – may provide textual evidence of the ‘travelling self’. Biotourism, the selves on tour, absent selves and the life-writing of travel are some of the approaches which colleagues might like to envisage.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers. Abstracts in Italian, English or French (c. 200 words) should be sent by April 15th to

Catriona.Seth@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk and giovanni.iamartino@unimi.it

(posted 10 March 2020, updated 23 March 2020)


(Neo)Victorian Studies
London, UK, 4 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 10 March 2020

An international Conference organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

The Victorian Era was a complex period marked by prosperity and wealth. It was a world characterised by speed and compression of time and space, a world radically different from anything ever known in the past. The exceptional times of national growth and global expansion had a huge impact on the life of the nation and the rapid advances in science and technology facilitated the access to information, which triggered a revolution in the human mind as it increased self-awareness and self-confidence, and stimulated the spirit of (ad)venture.

On the other hand, the extreme individualism of the age generated questions, doubts and inner conflicts that nurtured self-indulgence and intemperance. Charles Dickens captured the contradictory nature of the Victorian times in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

The same dual attitude is obvious in the new Millennium, when the economic, social, political, ideological and cultural changes has generated an ethos of individual dispersion and indecisive oscillation between progress and decadence, optimism and depression, hope and cynicism. In Britain, as everywhere else in the world, the schizoid nature of the present has created poles of objectivity and subjectivity that need re-engagement with a specific set of long-lasting values. Thus, the appeal to challenge the current state of affairs by returning to the insular sensitivity, ambition and intelligence forged by the Victorian period is not suprising, as there is an urgent need to reinterpret and reposition its essential concepts and notions from the perspective of the new insular realities.

As 2020 marks the 201st anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, the main objective of the conference is to bring together all those interested in exploring the intersections between their professions and/or interests and some distinct aspects of Neo-Victorianism, the aesthetic movement based on the deconstruction and reconstruction of the cultural framework shaped between 1837 and 1901.

The event will focus on building and strengthening the dialogue with the past, extending it beyond Queen Victoria’s 63 years of reign to the 21st-century aspects of British identity in terms of national loyalty and individual relevance.

Topics include but are not limited to several core issues:

  • Victorian principles and practices – continuity and disruption
  • the Industrial Revolution and individual freedom
  • the Victorian novel: adaptations and variations
  • the Dickensian formula of neo-realism
  • the Victorian Romance
  • Victorian poetic emotions
  • Victorian anxieties and insecurities
  • the Victorian Debate: civil society and gender justice
  • women of distinction: reformers, activists, campaigners, environmentalists and Educationalists in the Victorian era and after
  • the legacy of Queen Victoria: between potent imperialism and postcolonial nostalgia
  • the Neo-Victorian ethos: re-visiting Victorian and Edwardian values in the new Millennium
  • Victoriographies and 21st-century reinterpretations
  • (Neo)Victorian philosophies: from Utilitarianism to Steampunk
  • (Neo)Victorian science, technology and religion: idealism and wisdom
  • morals and morality: affections, devotions and abjections
  • (Neo)Victorian poetry: science and sensibility
  • decadent generations: from Oscar Wilde and Algernon Swinburne to Will Self and Joe Stretch
  • public and private realms: fashion, design and architecture
  • patterns of pastimes and entertainment: the public house, the theatre, the music hall, The circus
  • Victorian and Neo-Victorian representations in the arts
  • (Neo)Victorianism in cinema and television
  • Victorian and Neo-Victorian visions of London

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.

Proposals up to 250 words should be sent by 10 March 2019 to: neo-victorian.studies@lcir.co.uk.

Download Paper proposal form.

Registration fee – 100 GBP

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

http://neo-victorian.studies.lcir.co.uk/

(posted 4 January 2020)


Water and Sea in Word and Image: IAWISI/AIERTI Conference
University of Luxembourg, 5-10 July 2020
Proposals for sessions, deadline: 28 February 2019

In an era in which water scarcity is threatening us all and the mainland is affected even in the depths of its epicenter by what is happening on its shores, it seems of great importance to propose a subject both acutely topical and strongly tied to the collective imagination. In Alessandro Baricco’s novel Ocean sea (1993), the fictional character Plasson paints the sea with seawater. This emblematic scene sums up our topic to some extent: water is difficult to grasp and yet concerns us more and more. Shapeless, still waiting to be defined, it even resists any effort of conceptualization. Putting water and the sea into words and into images is not obvious, represents a real discursive and plastic challenge and is therefore particularly likely to call into question the relationship between text and image. Due to its rhythm “without measure” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980), water as an element transcends Lessing’s dichotomy between arts of time and arts of space (see Louvel, 2002). The water’s unspeakable nature does not coincide with its invisible essence. Yet, literary and plastic narratives constitute an actual semiosphere with, at its borders, an area where the semiotic links are violated (Lotman, 1966), the realm of the unstable, the arbitrary, the unaccountable.

Located at the heart of the European continent – however tightly interconnected with its periphery –, cradle of the siren Melusine, territory boasting its natural springs and its balneology, Luxembourg seems to be the appropriate place to host a world congress on this subject.

Abstracts for sessions should be a maximum of 300 words.

N.B.: All conference participants must be members of IAWIS/AIERTI (https://iawis.org/) and in order with their membership fee before the conference.

The deadline for SESSION PROPOSALS is February 28th, 2019. Submissions are to be dropped on our website: https://waterandsea2020.uni.lu

The selection committee will contact you before March 30th, 2019 about the outcome of your application.

POTENTIAL CONFERENCE SESSION THEMES

N.B.: The sessions consist of one or maximum two panels of 1h30 each (three papers). The panels will offer a tribune to experienced researchers in Word and Image Studies and/or young scholars (doctoral students/postdocs) whose proposals the chairs of the elected sessions will gather and select. The word and image interaction should be formulated in the title of the session. Please indicate if your session fits with one or several of the potential themes listed below (e.g.: 1, 7, 12).

1.     Water, a natural element (its virtues and dangers) and an esthetic challenge
2.     Water as energy in science and arts
3.     The biblical or mythical imaginary of water and sea
4.     Aquatic and maritime myths, rites and marine, fluvial or lacustrine folklore
5.     Melusine, nymphs, naiads and other sirens
6.     The seaside or still water in painting and literature
7.     Balneology, its history and actuality
8.     Harbours in texts and images
9.     Insular or peninsular cultures
10.   Touristic promotion of natural heritage (seaside, lakes, rivers)
11.   Aqueducts, thermal baths and dams in the Greater Region
12.   The Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean (shores, fauna, cultural and market routes, migration)
13.   Graphic novel, comics or cartoons on sea, water or migration
14.   Water and sea in film, video or in digital artefacts
15.   The future of water in arts and media
16.   Water scarcity, drought and sustainable issues in word and image
17.   The sea as epistemological metaphor (shipwreck, raft, wave, hurricane, liquidity, archipelago, foam)
18.   Scientific or imaginary cartography
19.   Other related topics

(posted 14 January 2019)


A Hairy Affair: The Material Poetics of Hair
Graduate School Language & Literature, LMU Munich, Germany, 9-10 July 2020
Deadline for paper proposals: 29 Febuay 2020

Rapunzel lowers her plaited hair 20 cubits deep, so that her prince can climb into her hermetically sealed tower. Donald Trump’s signature quiff – a piece of interwoven fabric with no evident beginning and end – is treated as a metaphor for his relationship to truth and politics. Samson defeats the Philistines oppressing the Israelites in the Old Testament with his superhuman strength: the origin of his invincibility lies in the vigour of his hair as long as it is not cut. “Don’t touch my hair!”: The Afro is claimed as a symbol of resistance and black pride against the imperative of assimilation to the norm of whiteness. The contemporary hair industry entangles hyper-feminized and neo-imperialist imaginaries with transnational structures of exploitation that range from Chinese hair factories and Hindu temples through Youtube hair tutorials to the multinational company Great Lengths International that sells ‘natural’ hair extensions on the promise of extracting an “ethnic surplus value” (Hage 1998) from the depigmented hairy remains of women from the Global South (Berry 2008).

Hair figures, at once, as the subject of manifold social struggles and the object of multiple forms of exploitation. It holds a ‘defiant’ inclination – it creates op-position –, but it also remains steadily threatened in this potentiality: hair is fundamentally characterized by its precarious and mutinous materiality, which subverts conventionalized dichotomies between the passive and the active. Interweaving a wide-ranging variety of discourses in literature, art and film, hair has imposed itself as an urgent topic in recent academic research and discussion. In African-American Studies the focus rests on hair as a signifier of resistance that promotes the articulation of a politicized black aesthetics and thus defies the global colour-line imposed by white supremacy and colonialism (Hallpike 1972, Caldwell 1991, Kelley 1997, Banks 2000, Byrd/Tharps 2001). Research in Gender Studies, in turn, emphasizes the sexualized codification of head and body hair along the lines of imposed conformity and processes of individuation (Fisher 2010, Roebling 1999/2000, Rycroft 2020, Sagner et al. 2011, Möhrmann/Urbani 2012, Wernli 2018). Literary studies, for their part, have concentrated on the encoding of different hair colours, particularly in relation to anthropological and historical stereotypizations of blond or red hair (Junkerjürgen 2009/2017, Biehahn 1964, Goller 2009, Krause 2015). In addition, the institutionalized act of cutting hair by the ‘literary’ figure of the hairdresser has come into focus (Williams 2016, Herzog 1996).

However, hair does not just represent a nodal point of divergent forms of knowledge production. Nor is it a passive projection surface for various practices of symbolic inscription. On the contrary, it serves in its very materiality as a mediator of aesthetic reflection and formalization. Not just since Ludwig Tieck’s “braid-novella” or “Zopfnovelle” (Füllmann 2008) Die Gesellschaft auf dem Lande does hair belong to the key metaphorical repertoire of aesthetic and narrative forms: whether knotted, cut or curled, braided, shaved or covered; head and body hair figure as a discursively overloaded site of poetological reflection, narrative composition or experiments in literary genre. One of the basic premises of this conference is that hair constitutes an interface between body aesthetics and issues of plot and narrative synthesis. Particular attention is paid not only to neatly ‘coiffed’ discursive formations or to hair’s narrative entanglements, but also to the poetological quality of hair as a disruptive literary factor. Just as hair turns in Racine’s Phèdre into a symptom of the crisis of the choreography of staged appearance (cf. Vogel 2018), Hedda Gabler’s dramatic ruin is triggered by her repeated attempt to burn the hair of her competitor Thea Elvstedt.

‘Hair’ appears as the site of violent narrative cuts, lyrical excess and dramatic knotting, which, in turn, sheds light on the grotesque and uncanny dimensions of hair, that seem intimately tied to its specific materiality. Whether thin, thick, curly or shaved, hair – due to its status as dead matter that reaches beyond the flesh – threatens the integrity of body and text. An accumulated vitality seems concentrated within the dead substance of hair and this peculiar interim state of living-deadness inscribes it with an inherent negativity or resilience: it appears as abjectified human detritus fallen off from the body, as endowed with a ghostly presence, or bearing an uncanny agency. This spectral materiality and excessive vitality ultimately also form the platform on which politico-economic, media-historical or psychoanalytical discourses about hair take shape: be it the analogization between hair’s biological structure and commodity fetishism (cf. Berry 2008), or the superimposition of hair and vagina, the material quality of hair connects different discursive fields and reveals their intersections.

The conference seeks to interrogate the poetics, practices and functions of hair in literature and in other media. The (poetological) usage of hair’s excessive materiality as well as its function as an operator within discourses of resistance and opposition is therefore of particular interest. Contributions to the following (but not exclusively) subject-areas are welcome for the conference:

  • aesthetic, narratological, genre-specific and form-related aspects of hair
  • mediality of hair
  • interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives: staging of hair semantics in film, music and the arts
  • cultural practices of forming hair: cutting, washing, smoothing, shaving, waxing …
  • practitioners of hair: wig makers, hairdressers and barbers
  • locales of hair: hairdressing salons, bathrooms, waxing studios….
  • relationship between head and body hair: hairstyle and vagina, etc.
  • commercialization of hair: hair as a commodity, hair in global supply-chains and in postcolonial geographies
  • splitting hairs: the oppositional or resilient materiality of hair
  • the op-positional materiality (‘Gegenständlichkeit’) of hair: relationship between material and resistance, op-positional aesthetics, hair as subversion or excess
  • discursive-material hair practices and forms of subjectification

Scholars in literary and cultural studies, as well as researchers from various disciplines – such as Art, Media studies, Anthropology and Social sciences – who are interested in the poetics and materiality of hair, are invited to apply to present a paper. Proposals from junior researchers are particularly welcome. A publication of the contributions is planned.

The conference is organized by the Class of Literature of the Graduate School Language & Literature and will take place July 9–11, 2020 at LMU Munich; confirmed keynote lectures by

  • Professor Emma Tarlo (Goldsmiths University of London)
  • Assistant Professor Seán Williams (University of Sheffield)

Please send your paper proposals (max. 300 words, talk time: 20 min) in English or German together with your biographical information by February 29, 2020 to: hair.conference@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de 

(posted 26 January 2020)


Political Correctness, Wooden Language and Newspeak
Baia Mare, Romania, 10-11 July, 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2020

Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, North University Centre of Baia Mare, Romania</strong
and
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Canada
invite you to take part in the 2nd Mass Communication in the Context of Contemporary Forms of Propaganda International Conference

When there is a lack of coherence or even a contradiction between the tangible facts of everyday life, between the individual experiences of ordinary people and their abstract representations in public messages and discourses often mediatized, one should ask the following questions: why do such things happen and how is democracy understood? Does this continuous and accelerating (re)shaping of reality cause a generalized breakdown of coherence leading to the democratic and psychological discomfort of numerous citizens? What impact does it have on a country’s social and civic cohesion? Is this a battlefield well camouflaged by mass media and the senseless discourses of present-day politicians or managers?

This above-mentioned social phenomenon is also a political strategy, none of the discussed mechanisms being new. The use of the polysemous notion of political correctness is necessary in order to distinguish them. Borrowed from the Stalinist jargon (1930), this concept made reference to a “state of obedience and blind submission that aligned itself with the dogmatic ideology imposed by the central committee of the party[1]. In the ex-Soviet countries, the political regimes used to impose their own ideology, denying the real needs, intentions, actions and feelings of the great majority of the citizens. As a consequence, for the purpose of individual freedom, the fight for human rights became indispensable. Human freedom became valued more than “communist” equality.

Nowadays, political correctness also plays an essential role in the West. In this way, leading to advocate for the sensitivity and dignity of those who might be in danger of being discriminated against due to their differences. Their otherness is claimed to be legitimate so as to prevent a vilifying perspective on them. At the beginning, the intention was justified by the desire to prescribe more equal relationships between individuals, but in time, many begun to denounce it as the social control of people’s freedom of expression, meant to disqualify any disagreement or divergence. And thus, a dangerous polarity slowly arises between those that legitimate political correctness and those that question its validity. By placing “neoliberal” equality higher than freedom itself, the tension between equality and freedom intensifies in the name of these opposing visions of democracy.

A government and its institutions can take action towards rectifying the inappropriate perceptions, attitudes and behavior, replacing some terms with other expressions that could improve or emphasize the image of the people or actions that are thought to be undervalued. In 1949, Orwell used the Stalinist example in his “1984” novel, naming the creation and imposition of a new official language newspeak. At the same time, Klemperer spoke about the implementation of LTI (Lingua Tertii Imperii), the so-called language of the Third Reich. Our current public space is also occupied by a multitude of new right-wing or left-wing correct languages. One easily identifiable example is the managerial language with its terms of excellence, performance and productivity. In this way, the authorised language of the times, politically correct, can easily be in conflict with:

  1. The authentic way of speaking of ordinary people;
  2. The words that allow for the critique or questioning of these new terms;
  3. Language as a “locus” of reflection and analysis.

Is there a war, as well as a convergence, between the new right-wing and left-wing newspeak? Do they have the same common denominators, the same means of communication, aiming for excessive rationalization, strict administration and supervision of representations and publicly expressed words? Are the societal relations between majority and minority groups always reversed by a unique valorization of the latter? Who represents who? Are there limits beyond which the networks of political correctness become authoritarian and constrictive? Which are the democratic mechanisms that would allow for questioning and debate? How can we avoid social fracture? Rapports

The newspeak facilitates political correctness, its formulae being quite precise. The wooden language conveys senseless, vague and interchangeable statements, avoiding the articulation of what is actually meant. These two linguistic configurations are easily confused: their assertions are fixed, rigid, stereotypical, repetitive and address neither our understanding nor our intelligence. The absence of authenticity becomes a code, a jargon of generalizations, euphemisms and truisms. The vocabulary used in political, economic or mass media discourses abounds in resolutions and promises that do not say anything. Social acceptance is glorified and at the same time, citizens’ obedience and passivity are required. In fact, this leads to constant dissatisfaction and conflict. As a result, the quality of education in our societies is questioned. How much freedom of expression and freedom of conscience do our universities offer? Under these limitations what kind of professionals are graduating? Academic circles are not too welcoming when it comes to political correctness especially because it brings about avoidance and self-censorship, restraining the academic freedom of professors and their choice of research subjects. Is language just a tool that helps us express ideas about freedom or the very place where we express this freedom?

The new representations of reality shaped a new norm of de-contextualization, as the historical and social causes are erased. What might be its impact on our way of thinking, when meaning we create depends on context and circumstances? Do we have to rectify everything and let ourselves be controlled by a single perspective? Is the dogmatic dimension, requiring the submission of public interest to a “specialized class” of people, an administrative elite rooted in this de-contextualization? The great majority of words become positive. Do they protect the individuals against behavioral deviations until politically correct formulas start thinking in their place? People no longer find the words to express themselves without insulting when they disagree with or are provoked. We can easily notice how many members of society are becoming indifferent and unresponsive, even apolitical. Must we be constrained to this public silence required by political correctness or should we challenge it by our counter-power citizen actions? Is this the role of popular dissatisfaction? What kind of critical thinking do we need in this all-embracing context of political correctness that hides the plurality of opinions?

Many declare a global crisis in communication. How did we reach the current context of public communication, built exclusively on political correctness, functioning through mass manipulation, newspeak, fake news and wooden language? The visceral reactions of ordinary people are adding up and the insulting messages we are constantly exposed to on social media channels are becoming almost unbearable. Are these real effects and results, the evidence of the ideological failure of political correctness?

The abstracts are to be sent no later than 15 March 2020. They can not exceed 4000 characters (including spaces and titles). They can be written in Romanian, French or English.

The abstracts will be assessed by the scientific committee of the conference and must be accompanied by a short bibliography. The evaluation criteria are the following:

  • Pertinence to the general topic and objectives of the conference;
  • Explicitness of the research context or practice;
  • Explicitness of the theoretical and methodological bases that endorse the research or field experience.

The papers will be grouped according to their topic so as to be presented in different workshops. The presentations will not exceed 20 minutes, being followed by 15 minutes of discussions.

The abstracts should be sent to the following addresses: http://litere.cunbm.utcluj.ro/multiculturalism/fr/comite-organisation.html

[1] ALBER, J.-L. (2002). De l’euphémisation: considérations sur la rectitude politique. Dans les mots du pouvoir: Sens et non-sens de la rhétorique internationale, pargr. 5. Genève: Graduate Institute Publications. https://books.openedition.org/iheid /2461

(posted 31 January 2020)


Mapping Gender: International Conference on Gender Studies
London, UK, 11-12 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 20 Marh 2020

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
  • gender and human rights
  • gender and leadership
  • gender and health
  • gender and sexuality
  • gender and religion
  • gender and literature
  • gender and politics

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.

Proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 20 March 2020 to: genderstudies@lcir.co.uk.

Download Paper proposal form.

Full registration fee – 220 GBP
Student registration fee – 180 GBP

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

(posted 18 January 2020)


Stories of Exile. “Let us not forget together”: First International Conference
Baia Mare, Romania, 12-13 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2020

Romania, as well as other East European countries, has many stories of exiles and expats, especially after WWII, when the political exile mostly began. In our country, as Monica Lovinescu showed, we can only speak of exile since after communism was established. Aron Cotus invoked in his poetry that for many Romanian intellectuals the 1945 “Crash in time” also meant a “crash in space”: they were forced by the historical-political situation to engage on a path of roguery. The consequences of such uprooting were many. Each of these people’s roads could be considered as symbols of an entire category, as they had to give up almost everything. To give up their country was the greatest sacrifice –Sanda Golopentia wrote: “nobody leaves his country because his life is good/…/ from now on, no place will be ours, we are entering a new type of freezing of the soul” (cf. “Cuvintele exilului”, in the volume  Intre patrii/ In between Homelands, p. 199).

Being exiled, uprooted, dislocated, de-countried meant for these people a kind of prolonged abnormality that, for some of them, lasted for almost their entire lifetime, unfortunately.

This was also the case with many other East Europeans, who had to find freedom (physical and mental) in other countries, thus establishing there a kind of country from abroad; they were invested in finding solutions for the old countries, to keep traditions alive, besides adapting to new systems, new languages and new territories. Their motivation was not adventure, or personal choice of a better life, but escape from totalitarian regimes. But they were never cut from their roots. Writers, philosophers, artists, other humanists, scientists, ‘normal’ people tried to remain connected to the cultural and political phenomena in the old countries, even if their writings, their work was banned, their names blamed and accused of treason, and their identities denied. Only later – in some cases – was their work made available for the public in their countries of origin.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many such exiled people tried to either go back, or just re-connect with the country, and take their place in the country’s culture/literature/life. Unfortunately, their recuperation has not been and still is not a phenomenon that matches their work; they deserve more, they should be acknowledged institutionally.

Other countries, other historical and political times also led to exile, to people having to just embark on an un-expected, un-willing and horrifying experience of dislocation, which changed their lives dramatically. During or after wars, in times of dictatorship and totalitarianism, in times of ethnic, racial, political or religious persecution, many people have just fled toward the unknown. In the beginning of his novel Shame, Salman Rushdie gives us one of the most vivid images of how the dislocated people feel like: they feel as if they jumped with their parachutes from an airplane (their home country), but will never actually get on the ground (their country of exile); they live in a state of permanent pendulating, with their both countries becoming just constructs of their imagination.

Such pain should not be forgotten. As the exceptional Romanian artist Camilian Demestrescu showed: “The malady of our time is loss of memory”. We need to recuperate these stories. We need to not forget. One of the most important Romanian authors, the voices of Free Europe in Romanian – Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca – fought for this recuperation: “The most urgent thing. Let us not forget. Let us not forget together!” (Monica Lovinescu); “…today we forget many things. We actually are spectators of pedagogy of forgetfulness (….), so we can talk about a class will to forget. Therefore, we must fight this forgetfulness” (Virgil Ierunca)

We invite papers on the following themes (without restricting them to such categories; if there is a category you would like to add, please feel free to contact us):

  • The memory of the lost homeland – stories and testimonials
  • Memoirs – the deposit of subjective memory and document of the epoch (confession literature, diaries, etc.)
  • Letters and their documentary value; adressers and adressees – portraits and self-portraits
  • Subjective memory and the utopia – fighting the totalitarian utopia ‘back home’ with the utopia of the ‘new land’; illusions and disillusionment
  • The mother tongue as an identity mark in the exile
  • The press in exile – a cultural document

(posted 31 January 2020)


Mapping Space | Mapping Time | Mapping Texts
The British Library, London, UK, 16-17 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2020

Venue : The Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London. NW1 2DB.

Keynotes : Robert Tally; Anders Engberg-Pedersen; James Kneale

This two-day interdisciplinary conference is hosted by the AHRC Funded Chronotopic Cartographies project in partnership with The British Library. It comes out of primary research into the digital visualisation of space and time for fictional works that have no real-world correspondence. Chronotopic Cartographies develops digital methods and tools that enable the mapping of literary works by generating graphs as “maps” directly out of the coded text.

The Call for Papers emerges from the project and the interdisciplinary fields that it draws upon: literature; narratology; corpus linguistics; onomastics; digital and spatial  humanities; geography; cartography; gaming.  We welcome papers from those working in or across these fields but also from anyone with an interest in the problematics of mapping, visualising and analysing space, time and text from any disciplinary perspective. We seek to bring together and juxtapose different approaches in order to advance knowledge.

We invite submissions in the form of either 20-minute papers or 5-minute poster sessions. Individuals giving a paper or poster may also wish to run informal workshops for shared knowledge exchange.

Questions and Areas of Interest:  What kind of digital models are most useful for the Humanities?  How do insights from the Humanities reshape digital methods?  What can mapping a text uncover or reveal? What happens if we release mapping from GIS? How can we connect virtual, actual and imaginative pathways meaningfully? How do we productively move between visual and verbal meaning?  How do we accommodate the multiple dimensions of literature within 2D, 3D or 4D space? How do we ground time? Does everything have to happen somewhere? How do we map unquantifiable space and place? What is the value of “fuzzy” geography?

Abstract Deadline: 31st January 2020.  (Notification of Acceptance: 29th February 2020).

Short papers: Abstracts of 300 words.

Posters: Abstracts of 150 words.

Workshops: Brief description + technical requirements.

E-mail abstracts to Dawn Stobbart: d.stobbart1@lancaster.ac.uk

The conference fee is £150 (standard) £75 (concessions) for this two-day event.  A limited number of bursaries will be available.

(posted 18 November 2019)


Global Festival Culture
London, UK, 18 July 2020
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2020

International Conference organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Festival Culture, Research and Education Network

Global festival culture is a one-day inter-, multi-, trans-, and cross-disciplinary conference that aims to explore the creative practices, social benefits, economic development, tourism, multiculturalism, diversity, local community involvement, partnerships, religion and music entrepreneurial networks that festivals offer.

There are many festivals around the world; they all manifest in varying ways and all possess their own social, religious and cultural practices. Festivals both past and present – be it folk, religion, cultural or community-based – illuminate discourses of hegemony, homogeneity, race, politics, nationalism, identity and religion etc. As an emerging discipline, it is important to examine festivals from varying perspectives to understand, broaden and articulate the scope of festival studies.

The conference aims to bring together researchers, costume and craft makers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, organisers, policymakers and stakeholders. We are extending this invitation to academics from across disciplines, postdocs and postgraduates at all stages in their research, as well as to practitioners seeking to give creative demonstrations or performances.

We welcome contributions that explore questions such as: How do festivals transform and how much are they a part of our everyday life? What do festivals tell us about history and ourselves? What can we learn about the festive life of the Middle Ages? And what is the significance of Mikhail Bakhtin’s depiction of the festive culture of the Middle Ages in relation to festivity and celebration today?

Proposals may also address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Festival and the community
  • Festival and education
  • Festival and religion
  • Festival and food
  • Festival in the city
  • Festival and activism
  • Researching festivals (methods, methodology)
  • Archiving the festival as an academic and public resource
  • Festival event organising/management
  • Festival art
  • Festival and craft (craft-making processes, practices e.g. costume and float making etc.)
  • Festivals as a space for youth entrepreneurship
  • Festive activities as a form of therapy
  • Festival funding and policy
  • Festival politics
  • Festival and literature
  • Festival and fan studies
  • Festivals, tourism and leisure
  • Mass media and the festival
  • Social media and the festival
  • Technology and the festival
  • Sound and the festival
  • Folk festivals and music
  • Medieval festivals and re-enactments
  • Performance
  • Festival heritage and traditions

Paper proposals up to 250 words should be sent by 31 March 2020 to: festival.culture@lcir.co.uk.
Please download paper proposal form. Selected papers will be published in the FCRE journal.
Registration fee – 100 GBP

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

(posted 18 January 2020)


Crossroads in Cultural Studies Lisbon 2020
University of Lisbon, Portugal, 28-31 July 2020
New extendd deadline for proposals: 10 January 2020
Venue: School of Arts and Humanities of The University of Lisbon

Organizers: Association for Cultural Studies (ACS) and the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES/CEAUL)

Important dates:

  • 10 January 2020: Abstract submission and panel proposals deadline
  • 15 February 2020: Notification of acceptance
  • 1 February 2020: Registration opens
  • 31 March 2020 Early-bird registration deadline

Call for papers:

While the research of our invited keynotes and plenary speakers mostly gravitates around the issues of labour and precarities, decolonizing knowledge and the refugee “crisis” in the Mediterranean, the conference is open to all topics relevant to Cultural Studies. Suggested topics, drawing on the work of our invited keynote, plenary and spotlight speakers, and on more general themes in Cultural Studies research, include:

  • (Anti-)consumption and everyday life
  • Adaptation cultures
  • Borders and mobilities
  • Critical and cultural theory
  • Culture, gender and decolonisation
  • Culture, gender and sexuality
  • Dance cultures
  • Data cultures
  • Digital infrastructure
  • Diversity, culture, governance
  • Extraction: cultures and industries
  • Food cultural studies
  • Gender, sexuality, race and class in the Anthropocene
  • Globalisation and culture
  • Human/non-human relations
  • Indigenous knowledge and politics
  • Managing cities
  • Media regulation: from censorship to piracy
  • Migrant cultural studies
  • Multicultural, intercultural and cross-cultural studies
  • Popular affect online
  • Popular cultures and genres
  • Public culture and cultural policy
  • Race, racism and postcoloniality
  • Refugee “crisis” in the Mediterranean
  • Religious diversity
  • Rethinking the human and the post-human
  • Rural cultural studies
  • Screen and media cultures
  • Securitization
  • Transforming/globalising/decolonising universities
  • Urban imaginaries
Submission guidelines are available in the conference webpage.
(posted 2 September 2019, updated 4 December 2019)