Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in December 2020

Play, Masks and Make-believe: Ritual Representations
Cambridge, UK, 5 December 2020
Deadline for proposals: 10 June 2020

organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

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

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

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

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

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

Paper proposals up to 250 words and a brief biographical note should be sent by 10 June 2020 to: Please download paper proposal form.

Provisional conference venue: Lucy Cavendish College – University of Cambridge, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU, UK

(posted 10 February 2020)

Frontier(s) and Frontier-zone(s) in the English-speaking world
Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, 10-11 December 2020
New extended deadline for proposals: 25 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
AS REQUESTED BY A NUMBER OF COLLEAGUES AND OWING TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE DEADLINE FOR THE CONFERENCE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MARCH 25. Abstracts not exceeding 400 words should be sent no later than March 25, 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, updated 19 March 2020)

After Postmodernism: American Studies in the 21st Century
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 17-19 December 2020
Extended deadline for proposal submission: 6 March 2020

The Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 17-19 December 2020 in collaboration with the Hellenic Association of American Studies (HELAAS) invites you to participate in this international conference.

There is a shared sense among a large majority of historians, philosophers, critics and artists that we are now living in a new global moment:  our contemporary era may or may not have started with the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989; may or may not have established itself in the wake of the 9/11 attacks; but it is painfully clear that, in the new millennium, a new debate on the “post-postmodern” has opened up. If the Jamesonian taxonomy no longer has the same explanatory power, what is the new dominant cultural logic of post-postmodernism? If, to quote Jameson again, postmodernism was a “radical break or coupure” with modernism, which is post-postmodernism’s cultural imaginary, its strategies and features? However early it may be to describe the nature of post-postmodernism, we can discern three loosely bounded interpenetrating strands: some scholars recognize a heightened degree of intensity and mutation of tendencies and techniques already present in postmodernism, others see a renewed engagement with history and a return to realism. Still, there are those thinkers who have observed a decisive break with the postmodern period and have struggled to mark its contours in the new socioeconomic order, a notable feature of which is the shift or questioning of the paradigm of the American global hegemony. Nevertheless, complicating the study of the cultural shifts that are underway in our current condition is the abundance of terms and tendencies that proclaim to be postmodernism’s successors.

The conference “After post-modernism: American Studies in the 21st century” takes as a point of departure the words of Ben Lerner’s narrator, that “the world [is] rearranging itself” (10.04) and invites both panels and papers that address fresh and original questions relevant to studying the post-postmodern condition. It seeks to investigate questions about changing literary patterns, innovative/shifting cultural practices, and new trends that have risen in the first two decades of the twenty-first century or, to put it simply, what comes after postmodernism.

Possible topics could cover

  • The post-nationalist turn in American Studies
  • American Literature and the posthuman turn
  • Aspects of autofiction in contemporary art, literature and popular culture
  • New literacies and American fiction
  • New Media literacy and authorial practices
  • Post-exceptionalist American fiction
  • Deterritorialization and American migrant literature
  • American literature and Ecoglobalist presences
  • Post theory and the ‘novelizations’ of literary theory
  • Writership/readership in the post-postmodern

Please send 300-word abstracts to Dr. Dora Tsimpouki (, along with a short (150-word) biographical note by our NEW extended deadline for abstracts: 6 March 2020.

(posted 26 January 2020)