Cosmopolitan Aspirations in English-Speaking Cinema and Television: 26th Annual SERCIA Conference
Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, 2-4 September 2020
New extended deadline for proposals: 1 May 2020
It has become almost mandatory to start any piece on cosmopolitanism with a reference to Diogenes the Cynic (412-323 BC) and his famous claim “I am a citizen of the world”. Alluring as the phrase may sound to our 21st century ears, when uttered by Diogenes, it was an invitation to be a social outsider: the allegiance to humanity as a whole implied becoming an exile from the comforts of one’s place of birth and social group (Nussbaum 1994). Two thousand years later, Immanuel Kant considered that the achievement of a cosmopolitan order was a must “if the human race was not to consume itself in wars between nations and if the power of nation-states was not to overwhelm the freedom of individual” (Fine and Cohen 2002). Kant’s ideals about a cosmopolitan world order, cosmopolitan law and cosmopolitan hospitality became the foundation on which moral cosmopolitanism, understood as a philosophical and political project aimed at the creation of cosmopolitan political institutions and the development of a cosmopolitan civil society, started to be theorised. This cosmopolitan tradition became especially appealing in the 1990s, a decade that witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid, among other epochal changes, as well as the widespread use of the Internet and the emergence of the so-called network society. Cosmopolitanism became then a framework (or a “methodology” in Ulrich Beck’s words) to try to understand and deal with some of the challenges of globalization: the increased mobilities of people and goods, the proliferation of global risks, the redefinition of borders and the proliferation of global media and virtual communities, among others (Beck 2000).
The development of cinema in the late nineteenth century fed into cosmopolitan aspirations of modern city life and an increasing desire for travel. Films crossed national borders and opened up spaces for spectators’ mediated engagement with difference. The history of cinema abounds in examples of filmmakers that abandoned national contexts as their immediate frame of reference and created their work from and for a cosmopolitan imagination. Orson Welles, Jules Dassin, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Max Ophüls and, more recently, Michael Haneke, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Yorgos Lanthimos immediately come to mind, but the list of travelling filmmakers, past and present, is much longer, and it includes names much more closely associated with a particular national or local identity, from Jean Renoir to Wong Kar-wai – not to mention, of course, travelling actors contributing to foster cosmopolitan aspirations, from Maurice Chevalier to Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg, from Louise Brooks to Marlene Dietrich, from Jean Seberg to Kristen Stewart, from Ingrid Bergman to Max von Sydow, from Jackie Chan to Maggie Cheung, from Dolores del Río to Penélope Cruz, from Sophia Loren to, yes, Clint Eastwood. The development of communication technologies since the 1980s has also led to the development of “globally dispersed productions.” Filmmakers, actors and technicians from all over the world form networks of international professionals collaborating beyond national differences. The outcome of these constant border-crossings have been innumerable films that have complicated national identities and showcased hybridity, and have explored the dynamic between the familiar and the stranger in a myriad ways. Similarly, from its inception, television brought other cultures and ways of seeing the world into the domestic space of one’s home. Digital television and multimedia platforms can now create cosmopolitan communities on demand. Audiovisual media have always played and are still playing a crucial role in the process that Beck refers to as the “cosmopolitanization” of the world. Yet, when compared to the existing literature on the issue in other areas, cosmopolitanism still remains a largely underexplored subject in film and television studies.
This conference will explore the ways in which cosmopolitan aspirations (and “their enemies” in Ulrich Beck’s words) have made their way into English-speaking cinema and television across different time periods, nations, genres and media. Areas to be explored include but are not limited to:
- onscreen representations and constructions of cosmopolitan identities
- the places of the cosmopolitan: borders, borderlands and global cities
- -he risk society: eco-cosmopolitanism
- agents of cosmopolitanism onscreen: frequent travellers, tourists, migrants and refugees
- cosmopolitanism and gender
- cosmopolitan performances, performing cosmopolitanism
- intimate encounters in a global context
- visual and narrative articulations of the cosmopolitan
- cosmopolitanism in film and television genres
- cosmopolitan directors and stars. Celebrity cosmopolitanism
- the limits and contradictions of onscreen cosmopolitanism
- co-productions as cosmopolitan, global and/or transnational production strategies
- cinematic and televisual representations of the global society
- cosmopolitan film and television networks
- globally-dispersed productions. Global industry, local labour
- cosmopolitan communities and multimedia digital platforms
- -film and TV reception around the world: local, global and/or cosmopolitan audiences
- cosmopolitanism and multilingual films, the politics of dubbing, subtitling and double versions
Juan Suárez (Universidad de Murcia)
Deborah Shaw (University of Portsmouth)
María del Mar Azcona, Julia Echeverría, Pablo Gómez, Celestino Deleyto, David Roche, Nolwenn Mingant, Juan Suárez, Deborah Shaw.
Please submit a 300-500 word abstract and short bio (120 words) in English by 1st May 2020 (new extended deadline) to the conference website: http://eventos.unizar.es/43243/upload/cosmopolitan-aspirations-in-english-speaking-cinema-and-television.html
A select bibliography is available on the Conference website: http://eventos.unizar.es/43243/section/22374/cosmopolitan-aspirations-in-english-speaking-cinema-and-television.html
(posted 9 December 2019, updated 17 March 2020)
Bounded languages… Unbounded: COMELA 2020
The American University, Athens, Greece, 2-5 September 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 November 2019
Politics of identity are central to language change. Here, linguistic boundaries rise and fall, motivating the ephemeral characteristics of language communities. The Mediterranean and European region is one replete with histories, with power struggles, uniquely demarcating nation, ethnicity, and community. For this, cultural and political identities, language ideologies, as well as the languages themselves, have sought boundedness, dynamics of which have indeed sought change over eons, through demographic movements, through geopolitics, through technological innovation. In a current era of technological advancement, transnational fluidity, intellectual power, capitalism, and new sexualities, then, we question, once again, the boundedness of language and identity, and ways in which to unbound languages and ideologies. More than before, we now increasingly pursue anthropological toil, so to innovate ways to locate these ideologies and their fluid boundaries, actively. We now need to increasingly unbind these languages, and their ideologies, so to arrive at progressive realizations, and to rectify, or at least see and move past, the segregations of old.
The COMELA 2020 theme, “Bounded languages… Unbounded”, encapsulates the ongoing struggle throughout Mediterranean and European regions. As the continuous tension between demarcation, and the concurrent legitimization, of languages, language ideologies, and language identities, enters an era where new modes of interactivity require language communities to take on roles super-ordinate to the past, flexible citizenship now operates within, and not only across, language communities, to unbind languages, and to create new boundaries, unlike those ever seen throughout history.
The COMELA 2020 invites work which addresses the shifting boundedness of Language Communities of the Mediterranean and Europe. Papers and posters should acknowledge and decribe processes of language shape, change, and ideology, pertinent to social, cultural, political histories, and futures of Mediterranean and European regions, and by those working in Mediterranean and European regions.
Speaker: Jan Blommaert, Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands. Jan Blommaert is Professor of Language, Culture and Globalization, and Director of the Babylon Center at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He is of the world’s most prominent Sociolinguists and Linguistic Anthropologists, and has contributed substantially to sociolinguistic globalization theory, focusing on historical as well as contemporary patterns of language and literacy, and on lasting and new forms of inequality emerging from globalization processes.
- Anthropological Linguistics
- Applied Sociolinguistics
- Buddhist studies and discourses
- Cognitive Anthropology and Language
- Critical Linguistic Anthropology
- Ethnographical Language Work
- Ethnography of Communication
- General Sociolinguistics
- Islamic Studies and discourses
- Language, Community, Ethnicity
- Language Contact and Change
- Language, Dialect, Sociolect, Genre
- Language Documentation
- Language, Gender, Sexuality
- Language Ideologie
- Language Minorities and Majorities
- Language Revitalization
- Language in Real and Virtual Spaces
- Language Socialization
- Language and Spatiotemporal Frames
- Narrative and Metanarrative
- Nonverbal Semiotics
- Oral heritage
- Post-Structuralism and Language
- Semiotics and Semiology
- Social Psychology of Language
- Textualization, Contextualization, Entextualization
All the information about the conference can be found at https://comela2020.comela.me
(posted 26 July 2019)
Evil in literature and cinema
University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, 17-18 September 2020
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2020
Although some literary periods and the leading aesthetics associated with them (for example French Classicism) saw literature as the expression of good, beauty and truth, many writers and thinkers were and still are fascinated by evil. The best known apologists of evil include de Sade, Baudelaire and Bataille, among others. Ostensibly, evil seems to have infected literature and cinema.
Certain genres of popular literature are inextricably connected with evil. Horror fiction and cinema are dominated by its various forms, ranging from spaces filled with horror (the motifs of an evil place, a haunted house), through malevolent characters (vampires, demons), to evil-related motifs (curse, paganism, satanism, cannibalism). In classic texts (Mérimée, Maupassant, Stoker, Blackwood, Lovecraft), as well as in contemporary fiction (King, Masterton, Herbert), evil always triumphs at the end. However, the new fantastic (Andrevon) reverses well-known codes and shows humans as the incarnation of evil, destroying the planet, whereas nature takes revenge for all the harm done (end of the Anthropocene). Gore cinema is an apotheosis of evil, which is visible in its varieties, such as “torture gore porn” or “splat-pack.”
Evil constitutes an inseparable element of the opposition with good, and the clash of these two powers determines many fantasy stories – mainly epic or heroic – as well as similar, more canonical texts, for example the struggle of Beowulf resisting the monster Grendel and his mother. Such opposition is the driving force of classic fantasy, as in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but also of contemporary popular literature and cinema, like Harry Potter. Therefore, while one can study the topic of the battle against evil and its implementation in fantasy, it seems even more interesting to examine how the boundaries between good and evil are blurred in such texts. In this context, how should one perceive such protagonists as Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant or Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian? In what way should one interpret the ambiguous attitude of the characters of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones? The conflict between good and evil is more and more often presented with no clear boundaries, and the opposing sides have no obvious intentions. For this reason, not only the representations of the struggle between good and evil need to be examined in fantasy literature, but also grey areas, anti-heroes and motives of their wrongdoings.
As far as speculative fiction (littératures de l’imaginaire) is concerned, it is worthwhile to mention the images of evil in texts written by women about women, as more and more works that belong to fantasy, fantastic fiction or science fiction are created by female authors, talk about female characters and are written for female readers. One of the subgenres of speculative fiction most dominated by women is contemporary urban fantasy written both in English (Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Darynda Jones), and in French (Léa Silhol, Cassandra O’Donnell). Its heroines, like typical fantasy heroes, have to face the evil of the outside world. Therefore, it seems interesting to analyse what roles they play in the fight against evil, how such a struggle changes them and whether they lose their femininity in the battle.
The fantastic, previously dominated by men, also seems to be more and more frequently explored by women. Writers who create the “female fantastic” focus not only on portraying the dark side of women, but also on presenting various aspects of evil that destroys their protagonists (Anne Duguël, Yvonne Escoula, Mélanie Fazi, Shirley Jackson).
Mainstream literature does not fall behind popular genres in the exploration of evil. As Georges Bataille noted, “if literature separates itself from evil, it quickly becomes boring.” By crossing boundaries and causing anxiety in the reader, literature does not allow anyone to live in the ignorance of the cruellest aspects of human nature, and thus enables confrontation with evil and danger. Evil is always an expression of transgression, and the construction of an anti-hero often simultaneously fascinates and frightens the reader. In this context, one can reflect on the relationship between the oppressor and the victim, as in Ananda Devi’s Green Sari, on physical violence, as well as on some more “subtle” forms of abuse: financial, sexual or emotional. Evil is also associated with discrimination based on sex and race, which entails dehumanization and hate speech. This type of evil and its cultural determinants are visible in African women’s literature written in French, e.g. in the works of Fatou Diome or Ken Bugul. The interpretation of such texts also raises the question of the effects of evil in the characters’ lives (individual and collective traumas), as well as the therapeutic, cathartic role of writing in the healing process.
Evil often manifests itself in violence, which can take various, also less obvious, forms, such as: self-destruction – when the subject, as a result of past harm, mutilates their own body or mentally destroys themselves (e.g. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath); aggression against another, usually weaker, person – violence against women, children, animals (e.g. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn), violence directed by one group against another (national, ethnic, racial or religious) – manifested in the form of war, genocide, terrorist attacks (e.g. the Algerian literary movement écriture de l’urgence from the 1990s, The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga).
We encourage you to reflect on these topics, as well as to explore any issues that have not been mentioned above, but are related to the given field of study.
Submissions with an abstract of a 20-minute paper and a bio-bibliographic note should be sent to: email@example.com by March 31, 2020. The authors of the accepted proposals will be notified by April 15, 2020. The cost of participation in the conference is 100 euros (430 PLN for participants from Poland), plus 25 euros for those interested in participating in the banquet (100 PLN for participants from Poland). The conference fee of 100 euros covers the cost of publication (after obtaining a positive review), but does not include the cost of travel, meals and accommodation of participants. Payment details will be provided later. The conference will include the publication of a multi-author monograph in a publishing house from the list of indexed publishers – articles will be accepted until December 20, 2020.
The conference languages will be French, English and Polish.
The conference is organized at the Institute of Literary Studies, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia in Katowice.
Organising committee: Katarzyna Gadomska (Assoc. Prof., Professor of the University of Silesia): chairwoman of the organising committee; Ewa Drab (PhD), Anna Swoboda (PhD): coordinators of the English-speaking section; Katarzyna Gadomska (Assoc. Prof., Professor of the University of Silesia): coordinator of the French-speaking section; Grażyna Starak (Assoc. Prof., Professor of the University of Silesia); Magdalena Malinowska (PhD): coordinators of the Polish-speaking section; Magdalena Perz (PhD): coordinator of the financial section
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(posted 4 March 2020)
Poetry Between Creation and Interpretation
St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, UK, 19 September 2020
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2020
An International Conference on Poetry Studiesorganised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research
Poetry is a constant, being produced by all known civilisations from ancient to modern times. Throughout its extensive history, the individual art of high emotions sublimated into perfect language has approached a vast array of subject matters, including love, war, social issues, the beauty of nature, etc. A particular exercise of the mind and soul, and a unique way of apprehending reality, poetry is a self-sufficient universe that intensifies and enlarges life experience. Pointing to inner knowledge rather than real circumstance, it activates different layers of perception, sweeps away human thoughts, feeds emotions and soothes suffering.
Poetry inspires as well as instructs, as it is an initiation into the concealed order of the world. Its intense gratification, unrivalled in authenticity and honesty, appeals to human nature and makes ultimate sense of the self, opening the individual to interaction and communication. Poetry ennobles, enlightens and entertains because its expressive boundaries are virtually unlimited. With the help of translation, it goes beyond strict localisation and cultural arbitrariness, generating a sense of spiritual compatibility and communion between the collective identities of the world.
The conference aims to bring together international poets, literary critics, translators and scholars from diverse contexts and interdisciplinary fields to share their work. As the 2019 edition is dedicated to issues related to poetry, poetics and translation, we invite papers, presentations, manuscripts, panels, roundtables, performances, and other forms of contributions relevant to the areas of investigation.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- from Aristotelian poetics to 21st century aesthetics
- poiesis, mimesis, kinesis
- (non-)originality/individuality/voice amidst technical innovation
- subject-construction in poetry
- gender and poetic imagination
- tropes and schemes of the 21th century
- hybrid & cross-genre poetic modes
- the immeasurable and/or non-measurable in poetry
- form, proportion and balance: long poems, poetic sequences
- associations, juxtapositions and connections
- ekphrasis and ideology
- poetry and the arts: poetic and artistic collaborations
- poetry and science
- poetry and architecture
- poetry and mathematics
- language-centered poetics (including Language- and post-Language writing)
- conceptual and post-conceptual poetry
- urban poems and poetry
- poetics and politics
- poethics and theopoetics
- ecopoetics and ecocriticism
- performance or performative?
- sound and silence
- poetry between phrase and metaphrase
- translation, inerpretation, adaptation
- the translatability of metaphors
- limits and limitations of the poetic discourse
- the role(s) of the reader
- poetry ages and generations
- publishing poetry today
Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 30 April 2020 to: email@example.com.
Please download paper proposal form.
Registration fee – 100 GBP
(posted 15 January 2020)
Mirror, Mirror: Perceptions, Deceptions, and Reflections in Time
St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, UK, 19 September 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 May 2020
International Conference organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research
Since ancient times, mirrors have been viewed as place where the dual worlds of soul and self merge. In ancient Mexico, polished obsidian mirrors were viewed as magical portals through which sorcerers traveled to reach the world of the gods. The fictitious mirror of 18th-century author, Oliver Goldsmith, revealed the inner workings of the mind rather than the surface. In the 21st century, our reflections may obscure rather than uncover the truths we once searched for. Through technology, we can recreate ourselves and the world around us. We see our altered, perfected reflections in our photos, on our web cams, and in advertising. Images may come to show not necessarily our realities, but visions of the world that we prefer. Indeed, altered visions and the falsehoods they purvey may serve as instruments for political gain, for the accumulation of personal wealth, and as a means of repression. This conference explores how our virtual concepts and reconstructed worlds impact humanity, the arts, and nature in the age of rising anthropocentrism.
Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:
- Illusion and the ancient world-mirrors and other artifacts and their elite metaphysical uses
- Specific cultural beliefs related to mirrors, truth, soul, and self
- Physical science: knowledge and beliefs relating to mirrors both ancient and modern
- Studies of writers, artists, and others who emphasize reality and illusion in their creative works (Lewis Carrol, Oliver Goldsmith, and others)
- Trompe l’oeil (Early and Modern Visual Art)
- Truth, illusion, and delusion in the age of the Internet–You Tube and other Media
- The reinvented self: modern or historical
- The dangers of deception (social and environmental concerns)
- Specific perspectives on truth and illusion as symbolized or addressed in the visual arts, creative writing, new historical narratives, architecture, and other media
- How altered vision can have far reaching impacts on culture, society, and the environment
We also welcome poster proposals that will address the conference theme.
Registration fee – 100 GBP
(posted 15 January 2020)
Contact in Times of Globalization: Fifth International Conference on Language
Klagenfurt, Austria, 23-26 September 2020
Deadline for proposal: 15 January 2020
Conference website: https://www.aau.at/en/english/lctg5
After 4 inspiring meetings in Groningen (The Netherlands) and Greifswald (Germany), the ‘Fifth International Conference on Language Contact in Times of Globalization’ will be held at the University of Klagenfurt (Austria) from September 23rd – 26th, 2020, locally organized by the linguistics section of the English Department. As in the previous meetings, the conference language is English. The programme is open to contributions from all types of language constellations in which contact occurs. We warmly invite paper presentations from all areas of interest in language contact including the full range of socio-cultural and cognitive perspectives.
Klagenfurt, the conference venue, is located in Austria’s southernmost region of Carinthia which is linguistically characterized by its vicinity and interchange with Romance (Italian, Friulian) and Slavic languages, and is home to autochthonous Slovene speaking communities.
We look forward to seeing you in Klagenfurt.
The notion of language contact captures multi-faceted phenomena and processes of language use that emerge from the interaction of speakers and their diverse linguistic repertoires. Dependent on socio-cultural conditions as well as the type and medium of interaction, manifestations of language contact have been a constant source of linguistic investigations. In current times of increased physical and virtual mobility and of dynamically shifting boundaries and identities, the notion of language contact is faced with concepts such as fluidity, dynamic systems, transculturality, multilingualism and the break-up of the one nation – one language ideology. This raises the question of how language contact as a theoretical notion and as a field of inquiry is able to capture these current developments.
We invite proposals for presentations (20-minutes + 10 minutes discussion) on current scenarios and aspects of language contact world-wide.
A limited amount of thematic sessions can also be accommodated in the programme. Applications for prospective theme sessions should consist of a general description (500 words max., excluding references) and provide a list of planned paper titles and presenters. Theme sessions should consist of a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 papers.
Papers addressing one of the following topics and approaches are particularly welcome:
- globalization as a catalyst of language contact
- (socio-)cognitive approaches to language contact
- the dynamics of language contact: fluidity, hybridity, creativity, translingualism, codeswitching/codemixing
- processes and linguistic manifestations of language contact
- language contact in a multilingual world
Slots for paper presentation will be 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for discussion. Please send your abstracts as doc or pdf files (300 words max., excluding references) to LCTG5 [at] aau [dot] at
Abstracts should be anonymous and preceded by a title sheet stating the author(s) contact details.
Please state “abstract submission LCTG5″ in the subject line of your e-mail.
Final date of abstract submission: January 15, 2020
Notification of acceptance: February 25, 2020
(posted 27 September 2019)
Models and Alternatives: International Conference on Myths, Archetypes and Symbols
London, UK, 26 September 2020
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2020
A conference organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research
Humankind has always sought to explain its origins and the mysteries of life to map personal and collective boundaries, and to secure its sense of identity through the power of everyday events and occurrences. Exemplary accounts of imaginary happenings and supernatural creatures from a time beyond history and memory explain the genesis of the universe, the making of a living thing, the formation of an attitude or the inception of an institution. The essence of these traditional narratives reflects a certain system of values and code of self-conduct of a group of individuals bound together by social and cultural ties, and the cardinal virtues and vices of human nature captured in a conventional configuration.
Even though the time and place of performance and reception generate numerous variants and a multitude of interpretations, myths encode a universal sensibility and specificity, and propose generic yet unique models of humanity. They reveal a culture’s deepest understanding of its own beginnings, awareness of purpose and destiny, its position in the world, and meaning of existence and experience. A particular culture creates particular characters to embody its spirit and significant traits of personality, and particular images to convey its most representative attributes and attitudes.
The conference aims to explore the mode of organisation, the fundamental patterns and the paradigms of human memory that lie at the root of quintessential stories, tales and beings. It will also focus on the constants and variables of some particular components and their relationship with other fields of study, such as anthropology, arts, cultural history, literature, literary criticism, philosophy, psychology, pedagogy, sociology, theology, etc.
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 local, regional, national, or global aspects related to myths and mythology, archetypal characters, situations and symbols, providing an integrative approach to their perception and relevance in the 21st century.
Topics include but are not limited to several core issues:
- from The Age of Fable to The Golden Bough and beyond
- the functions and cultural impact of myths, archetypes and symbols
- the locality and universality of myths, archetypes and symbols
- monotheism, polytheism, pantheism
- gods, demigods and heroes
- myth, ritual and the sacred
- holy books and early writings
- myth-revision from antiquity to the 21stcentury
- mythology and language
- mythology and science
- mythology and religion
- mythology and visual arts
- mythology and music
- mass-media and myth creation
- mythography and mythopesis
- euhemerism – history and imagination
- patterns, prototypes, stereotypes
- ethos and eidos
- Jungian archetypes
- archetypal characters in literature and film
- archetypal symbolism
- archetypal psychology
- archetypal pedagogy
- symbols – context and meaning
- major themes, motifs and symbols
- the meaning and symbolism of colours
- the meaning and symbolism of numbers
- signs, emblems and icons
- semiotics and symbolism
Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 30 April 2020 to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please download paper proposal form.
Registration fee – 100 GBP
Provisional conference venue: Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
(posted 15 January 2020)