Calls for papers for conferences taking place in July 2023

Cultures of Skin: Skin in Literature and Culture, Past, Present, Future
University of Surrey, UK, 7-8 July 2023
Deadline for abstracts: 1 February 2023

Organised by Dr Charlotte Mathieson (Surrey) and Dr Nicole Nyffenegger (Bern), co-convenors of the Cultural Skin Studies network.

This conference brings together scholars working on literary and cultural representations of skin,  across historical periods and transnational contexts, to create new dialogues on the cultural  meanings of skin from the past through to the present day, and consider the current and future  state of the field(s) of skin studies. 

Building on an earlier set of enquiries that initiated skin studies in the early 2000s – with key  works including Claudia Benthien’s Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and the World (1999);  Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey’s Thinking through the Skin (2001); and Steven Connor’s The Book  of Skin (2004) – in recent years there has been renewed interest in examining the cultural  representations of skin within a variety of cultural texts and media. Scholars have worked across  historical and contemporary time periods, engaging with key concepts around identity and  embodiment, agency and performativity, temporality and spatiality, and in relation to discourses  of race, class, gender, and sexuality, health and illness. Literary and cultural scholarship has been  instrumental in advancing theoretical and methodological approaches to the skin as historically  variable and culturally constituted, building up a rich picture of “cultures of skin” from the past  to the present day. This represents an exciting moment to consider the state of skin studies now,  and to anticipate future directions for the field. 

In this conference we seek to establish international dialogue among scholars working on a range  of contexts and concepts around the skin, to consider thematic and conceptual avenues as well as  methodological and theoretical approaches to the skin. We invite scholars working on literary  and cultural representations of skin, from any historical period or national/cultural perspective,  to submit abstracts on themes including but by no means limited to: 

  • skin as text, texts as skin 
  • skin and/as the self, skin and identity 
  • skin texture, porosity, permeability 
  • skin colour and race 
  • skin as thing/material object and in relation to the material world  
  • animal/nonhuman skins 
  • skin care and cosmetics throughout history 
  • technologies of the skin, future skin 
  • skin as a medium of artistic representation/performance 
  • skin damage and modification – wounding, scarring, tattoos 
  • skin in relation to health and illness 
  • the geographies of skin moving through space 
  • methodological and theoretical approaches to studying and working on skin • state of the field reflections, the future of skin studies 

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be submitted by 1st February 2023 by emailing Decisions will be communicated by early March.  

The conference is being planned on a hybrid basis, with in-person attendance at the University of  Surrey (Guildford, UK) accompanied by virtual attendance options. We gratefully acknowledge  funding support from the British Academy. 

For more information and to join our mailing list or quarterly online reading group, please visit


(Posted 25 January 2023)

Borders and Crossings: an interdisciplinary conference on travel writing
University of Łódź, Poland, 5-7 July 2023
Deadline for proposals: 8 Jan 2023

The Borders and Crossings international conference series is dedicated to the study of travel writing. It was first hosted in Derry in 1998 thanks to the work of Glenn Hooper and Tim Youngs and since 2012 has taken place on a regular basis. The Borders and Crossings conference series has played a catalytic role in the development of travel writing studies as it provides a forum for scholars across a range of disciplines and from wide variety of national contexts to meet regularly, to explore an increasingly rich corpus of travel writing, and to debate its importance to the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. 

The 2023 edition of Borders and Crossings takes place in the unique context of Łódź: a post-industrial city situated in the wider European political and economic context, and which epitomises ‘borders and crossings’ in several ways. First, Łódź was called ‘the city of four cultures’ and until WWII was inhabited by people of Polish, Jewish, German, and Russian origin, as well as minorities, with their respective languages, religions, processes of assimilation or cultural isolation, and inward and outward migrations. A postscript to this history is the contemporary influx of Ukrainian workers and refugees. Second, the city’s industrial history and built environment is founded on forms of travel: migration for industrial employment; the movement of ideas, technologies, and capital within trans-European and trans-Atlantic industrial networks; and movements for social change. Third, the city’s dynamic expansion in the 19th century converged with its occupation by foreign powers, engaging discussion on imperialism, shifting borders, political change, and identity. The co-organiser of the conference, University of Glasgow, is located in another post-industrial city, sharing some of these characteristics. 

With this in mind, we invite proposals related to the contexts mentioned above, but also, as is customary at Borders and Crossings, contributions concerning other theoretical and practical aspects of travel writing. Proposals can reflect on, but are by no means limited to, the following themes: 

  • Travel writing and the industrial city
  • Representations of travel to/from/around Poland 
  • Scottish travellers in Poland and Polish travellers in Scotland
  • Central Europe or Eastern Europe? Scotland or Britain? Geographical and cultural identities in travel writing
  • East-West interactions
  • Imperialism and travel; indigenous voices ‘writing back’ and decolonisation
  • Travel writing and the self/other
  • Travel and conflict
  • Representations of space and place in travel writing
  • Travel and translation 
  • Travel and class/gender/sexuality
  • Travel writing and eco-criticism/nature writing
  • Theories of travel and travel writing 
  • The history of travel and/versus tourism 
  • The craft and practice of travel writing
  • Travel journalism, guidebooks, digital media, social media
  • Travel writing and other media (film, photography, illustrations, etc.)
  • Non-places and spaces of transit
  • Travel rest and stopovers 
  • Modes of transport and points of view
  • Travel and pandemics/disease

This event is open to academics, postgraduate researchers, and practitioners (inside and outside of academia) interested in travel writing from a broad range of perspectives. The aim of this conference is to showcase the interdisciplinarity of travel writing studies and the event welcomes proposals from but not restricted to literary studies, mobility and tourism studies, history, geography, creative writing, environmental studies, translation theory and practice, among others. Proposals are not restricted to any period of time or geographical context. Further information on the Borders and Crossings conference series can be found at

Although we wish for all participants to be able to attend the conference in Łódź, we plan for a hybrid conference so that participants unable to travel can still present their paper. The conference fee is TBC but will be kept as low as possible.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, creative pieces, and 60-minute panels of three speakers. Proposals of approximately 250 words (up to 500 words for a panel), accompanied by a short biographical note, should be sent to:

Deadline for proposals: 8 Jan 2023 
Notification of acceptance: 31 Jan 2023

Organising committee: 

  • Dr Joanna Kruczkowska (University of Łódź) 
  • Ross Cameron (University of Glasgow/University of Strathclyde

(Posted 20 November 2022)

“Then fate o’erruled”: Change in Shakespeare – biennial conference of the European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA), 2023
Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest – 6-9 July 2023
New deadline for proposals: 1 December 2022

Event organised by

  • Zsolt Almási, Kinga Földváry, Gabriella Reuss, Veronika Schandl, 
  • Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary

The deadline for submitting proposals for the ESRA 2023 Conference is 1 December 2022; see the call for seminar papers here:, and the call for proposals of panels, workshops or roundtables here:


Contact details:


(Updated 18 November 2022)

Photography and Culture Industries: From Leicas to Likes
Centre for Intercultural Studies, Polytechnic of Porto (Portugal), 13-14 July, 2023
Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2023

Event organised by Clara Sarmento, Polytechnic of Porto & Tony Barker, University of Aveiro

Rationale / Presentation of the event

This conference is widely concerned with photographic representations and the uses ascribed to them. It intends to explore the meanings and implications of a vast array of approaches to photography, its uses and consumptions, in order to understand the – semiotic, cultural, social, economic, etc. – motives and values that are encoded/decoded in the content of a photographic image. The construction of people, objects, places and events captured in photography rests as much on how they are represented by the choices of the photographer as on how they are interpreted by the gaze of the beholder. 

Abstracts are invited on such themes as the following:

  • Architectural photography
  • Drones & phones 
  • Family albums
  • Fashion photography
  • Fine art photography
  • Humanist photography
  • Nature photography
  • Photography and other culture industries
  • Photography as business
  • Photography as dissent
  • Photography in Literature
  • Photojournalism
  • Portrait photography
  • Product photography
  • Queering photography
  • Selfies
  • Social media
  • Sports photography
  • Still photography vs. the moving mage
  • Travel and photography
  • Photographic mode in video games


Contact details

(Posted 16 December 2022)

“And this gives life to thee”: Textual Reasons for Canonicity – 17th International Connotations Symposium
Kloster Schönenberg (Ellwangen, Germany), July 30 – August 3, 2023
Deadline for abstracts: November 30, 2022

Recent debates on canonicity have focused on how canons are a product of social and  historical conditions as well as of reception. Texts become canonical when they are felt  to embody the spirit of an age or to voice concerns considered universal at a particular  moment. But what about the texts themselves? Can any text become canonical in any  way? Or are there any specific textual reasons for such an elevated status? This latter  question is what our symposium wishes to address.  

Textual strategies of self-authorization may well be one of those reasons. When Shake speare ends his Sonnet 18 on the notion of its ongoing life – “So long as eyes can see  and men can breathe / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee” – he anticipates  that neither his (ironically unnamed) addressee nor his own work will ever be forgot ten. This is one example of how a speaker – and, by implication, an author – may pro mote the canonicity of a text.  

A second group of reasons may have to do with the choice of subject matter. Do texts  just recycle well-known material or are they innovative? Is there a balance to be struck  between repetition and innovation as a textual recipe for canonization? Subject matter  also comes in with the ways in which texts make offers to identify their relevance. This may have to do with the way in which a text combines the particular and the general. Furthermore, textual reasons of canonicity may be sought in formal, rhetorical, and  aesthetic features of a work. What is the energy of a story, play, or poem that “keeps children from play and old men from the chimney corner” (Sidney) and therefore makes it likely that it will be considered meaningful beyond its own time and place? We invite contributions that address these and further dimensions and combine the  detailed study of individual texts written in English with wider theoretical perspectives regarding the textual reasons of canonicity. They may include questions of methodology: how is it possible to arrive at such reasons by analyzing texts that have been  assigned a canonical status? Do we need to compare texts, and/or does it make sense  to work with larger corpora to come up with plausible results? 

Please send an abstract (300 words max.) to the editors of Connotations by November 30, 2022:


(Updated 18 August 2022)