Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in December 2020

Frontier(s) and Frontier-zone(s) in the English-speaking world
Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, 10-11 December 2020
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2020

It may be argued that any frontier is the expression of what is discontinuous, of the existence of an ‘inside’ and of an ‘outside’, in short, that a frontier is an attempt to keep the ‘other’ at bay, whatever the meaning of the term – a given geographical territory, or a specific political entity, or a different culture, or else all of these put together. These considerations are in tune with the etymological origin of the word ‘frontier’ itself, i.e. anything that helps a group of people ‘develop a united front’. Examples abound, from the so-called ‘natural’ frontier of this or that country to Brexit, to the wall that President Trump has set out to build between his own country and Mexico.  At this stage, however, a number of questions arise: * if we are therefore dealing with static, depthless lines, why can they be crossed, as each and everybody knows from experience, through connecting zones of a sort (e.g. airports, which are sometimes referred to, for that very reason in fact, as ‘free zones’)? Besides, for some, the frontier has actually become an in-between universe, i.e. nothing less than a dwelling place (cf. the ‘Calais Jungle’).  * above all, why is it that the word is used in a high number of contexts and narratives in which the very notion of territory also needs to be understood (primarily) in a figurative sense? One, indeed, talks about – to give just a few examples – ‘religious’, ‘linguistic’, ‘internal’ frontiers, ‘frontiers between rich and poor’ and ‘between political parties’.  Better still, if there exists a whole array of frontiers in connection – as just seen – with realities so diverse as citizenship, territory, religion, language, and so on, how could they possibly always overlap? And what lessons may we draw from this? Put differently, if frontiers do not match, don’t they then inevitably foster hybridity, a description that hardly goes with the notion of ‘developing a united front’, which necessarily presupposes confrontation?

It would be greatly appreciated if conference contributors could address all those issues from the various perspectives related to the fields of study dealing with the English-speaking world, from literature to the arts (e.g. the similarities and differences between literary genres, or art as a means of exclusion or integration), to linguistics (e.g. the dialects of English – professional, generational, etc., or national and regional accents), to civilisation studies (e.g. the frontier myth in the USA or the well-known peace walls that characterise many urban districts in Northern Ireland from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry).

Bibliographical references

  • BARTH Frederik (ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries – The Social Organization of Cultural Difference, Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1969, 153 p.
  • BIRNBAUM Jean, Repousser les frontières ?, Paris : Gallimard, 2014, 232 p.
  • DEBRAY Régis, Eloge des frontières, Paris : Gallimard, 2010, 87 p.
  • DORLING Danny, So You Think You Know About Britain?, London: Constable & Robinson Ltd., 2011, 320 p.
  • FOUCHER Michel, L’invention des frontières, Paris : Fondation pour les études de défense nationale, 1986, 320p. ; L’obsession des frontières, Paris : Perrin, 2007, 249 p. ; Le retour des frontières, Paris : CNRS Editions, 2016, 64 p.
  • STIGLITZ Joseph E., Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015, 256 p.
  • WACKERMANN Gabriel, Les frontières dans un monde en mouvement, Paris : Eds. Ellipses, 2003, 159 p.

Submission proposal
Abstracts not exceeding 400 words should be sent no later than March 15, 2020  to Ruxandra Pavelchievici and Didier Revest Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent by April 1st, 2020.

Publication of proceedings
A selection of papers will be published in 2021 as conference proceedings in a special issue of Cycnos.

Registration no later than November 25 November by e-mail to Ruxandra Pavelchievici <>  and Didier Revest <> Free upon presentation of UCA faculty/ student ID and for non-funded PhD candidates. Non-UCA faculty and funded PhD candidates: 5€

Organising committee
Ruxandra Pavelchievici (Université Côte d’Azur) and Didier Revest (Université Côte d’Azur)

Scientific committee
Vanessa Guignery (École normale supérieure de Lyon), Christian Gutleben (Université Côte d’Azur), Isabelle Licari-Guillaume (Université Côte d’Azur), Ruxandra Pavelchievici (Université Côte d’Azur), Didier Revest (Université Côte d’Azur), Nicolas Trapateau (Université Côte d’Azur), Christine Zumello (Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle)

(posted 17 January 2020)