Conference Report: “Dis/Orientations and Dis/Entanglements in Contemporary Literature and Culture”

“Dis/Orientations and Dis/Entanglements in Contemporary Literature and Culture” (University of Málaga, 21-23 September 2022)

Beth Roberts, University of Surrey

The concepts of orientation, reorientation and disorientation have been increasingly examined in contemporary literature and culture following the pioneering work of Sara Ahmed in Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2006). Indeed, the call for papers for the University of Málaga’s “Dis/Orientations and Dis/Entanglements in Contemporary Literature and Culture” conference makes clear reference to Ahmed, quoting her definition of orientations – “[o]rientations are about the direction we take that puts some things and not others in our reach” (2006: 56) – and posing questions regarding the directions, configurations and affects of and within contemporary texts.

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TransCanadian Networks – ESSE Workshop (ESSE Collaborative Project Workshop Scheme)

TransCanadian NetworksES – SE Workshop
(ESSE Collaborative Project Workshop Scheme)
November 9-11, 2022
Universidad de las Islas Baleares

Event Report

The workshop took place in the terms articulated in our original application for funding. Designed for the research team of the funded project TransCanadian Networks (RED2018-102643-T) to meet with a selected group of European scholars in the field of contemporary Literatures and Cultures of Canada and articulate the research axes of a new application for a larger grant, the workshop had three key objectives: a) to expand the size of the present research team, inviting prominent Europe-based Canadianists, b) to define, refine and organize the work around crucial areas of research within the field and c) to write the first draft of the application for the larger grant. These objectives were fully achieved. The event was highly successful and provided the necessary time and space to work out practical and intellectual details of this new expanded project. 

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Conference Report: “The ‘Second World’ in Contemporary British Writing”

Conference Report: “The ‘Second World’ in Contemporary British Writing” International Conference at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)
16-18 September 2022

Florian Gieseler
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

The main objective of the conference ( was to investigate contemporary British writing published after the fall of the Iron Curtain, but imaginatively located in Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War – the so-called ‘Second World’. A particular focus – and relatively new angle within the larger context of global Cold War literature and postsocialist perspectives – was the retrotopian potential of such narratives, as conceptualised by Zygmunt Bauman. Scholars from the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, and Germany attended to investigate whether more recent British writing was indeed expressing, as the CFP had proposed, “the apparent desire to review and imaginatively revisit past ‘utopias’ […] as retrotopia, the desire to retrieve – through creatively engaging with ‘genuine or putative aspects of this past’ – the utopian potential that it represented”.

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Conference Report – 29th CDE Conference, “Critical Theatre Ecologies”

29th CDE Conference
“Critical Theatre Ecologies”
June 03-06, 2021, University of Augsburg, Germany

The 2021 CDE conference officially opened with the welcoming words by the conference organiser Martin Middeke (University of Augsburg), followed by a welcome by Christiane Fäcke, the Dean of the Faculty of Philology and History at the University of Augsburg. The President of the society Ute Berns thanked the conference organisers for their work and commitment. Martin Middeke and Martin Riedelsheimer then introduced the conference theme.

The evening continued with the conference’s first keynote: London-based playwright Ella Hickson in interview with theatre critic Aleks Sierz (London), chaired by Martin Middeke and followed by Q&A. Hickson spoke about her path to becoming a playwright, and the provenance of her 2016 play Oil.

The second day of the conference started with the first panel (chaired by Ute Berns). Helen Gilbert (Royal Holloway, University of London) spoke on “Climate Change Theatre and the Conundrum of Time”. She traced instances of plays chronicling climate change in the Antarctic, such as the large-scale E. M. Lewis’s Magellanica (2018) on the one hand and the microdramatic short plays emerging from Chantal Bilodeau’s Climate Change Theatre Action project (2015-ongoing). Patrick Lonergan (NUI Galway) then spoke on “Staging the Great Acceleration: Carly Churchill’s Far Away on Spike Island, 2017″, suggesting to see the final act of the play as the current stage of the Anthropocene, and the first two acts as a kind of archaeology of how we arrived there.

The panel was followed by the second keynote, by Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow), who spoke on “Ecologising Theatre” (chaired by Martin Riedelsheimer) in the context of agency, politics and ethics.

In the afternoon, the second panel was chaired by Dorothee Birke. Christian Attinger (University of Augsburg) spoke on “An Ecology of Plants: the Post-Manufacturing Age in Philip Ridley’s Shivered and David Eldridge’s In Basildon“, discussing the way in which theatre points at the corporate social and ecological responsibilities of transnational corporations and might offer counter-reactions to the “Capitalocene”. Julia Rössler (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) then spoke on “Embodiment, Atmosphere, and Materiality: Ecological Aesthetics in the Theatre of Adam Rapp”, giving an overview of Rapp’s body of work by historically deriving it from Gertrude Stein and Richard Schechner and then focussing on Rapp’s 2004 play Faster.

The third panel (chaired by Anette Pankratz), brought together Kerstin Howaldt (University of Erfurt), Anna Street (Le Mans University) and Ramona Mosse (FU Berlin). Howaldt spoke about “Diffracting ‘Stabilized/Stabilizing Binaries’ of Climate Change Theatre (Plays)”, Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes in London and Richard Bean’s The Heretic in the context of Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway. In their paper “To Be Like Water – Material Dramaturgies in Unthinkable Environments”, Street and Mosse used three case studies of performing water to argue for fluidity and connectivity relate to notions of the unthinkable.

The day closed with the conference’s third keynote, chaired by Martin Middeke: London-based playwright Martin Crimp in interview with Aleks Sierz, followed by Q&A. Crimp spoke on theatres as an ecology, as a trans-European network.

The CDE Annual General Meeting took place in the morning of the third day.

The conference’s fourth panel took place in the afternoon and was chaired by Merle Tönnies. Leila Vaziri (University of Augsburg) spoke on “Alienation and Disgust – The Capitalocene in Contemporary Eco-Drama”, referring to Dawn King’s 2011 play Foxfinder and Tanya Ronder’s Fuck the Polar Bears (2015) to draw a line from Kristevan abjection theory to the human-animal divide and the alienating effect on the connections between humans and nature. Jill Gatlin (New England Conservatory) then spoke on “Performing Reception Justice: Audience Disturbance and Ecological Toxicity in Cherrie Moraga’s Heroes and Saints“, outlining how the play invites audiences to evaluate their privilege and potential allied action.

The fifth panel followed immediately afterwards (chaired by Clare Wallace). Linda Heß (University of Augsburg) spoke on “Playing the Petrocene: The Toxicity of National Discourse in Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill (2014) and Ella Hickson’s Oil (2016)”, arguing, alongside Judith Butler’s concept of grievability and Timothy Clark’s notion of scale, that both plays allow spectators to explore their own capacity for empathy and their entanglement into the ecological crisis on a global scale. Chukwuemeka Rowland Amaefula (Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike) then spoke on “Eco-Drama, Multinanational Corporations and Climate Change in Nigeria”, exploring the effects of climate change on the country through the lens of Greg Mbajiorgu’s ecodrama Wakeup Everyone (2011).

This panel was followed by the conference’s fourth keynote, by Theresa May (University of Oregon), who spoke on “Kinship and Community in Climate Change Theatre” (chaired by Martin Riedelsheimer). Referring to Marie Clements’ Burning Vision (2002), Chantal Bilodeau’s Sila (2015), and her own play Salmon Is Everything (2018), she argued for ecodramaturgy as a praxis, presenting theatre as a crucial tool of democracy for the Anthropocene.

Sunday morning saw the conference’s fifth keynote, chaired by Martin Middeke. Vicky Angelaki (Mid Sweden University) spoke on “Writing in the Green: Imperatives towards an Eco-n-temporary Theatre Canon”. Angelaki suggested in-betweenness as a key element towards understanding humanities’ contemporary role and responsibilities.

The keynote was followed by the conference’s sixth and last panel (chaired by Eckart Voigts). Jamie Harper (De Montfort University) spoke on “Performing Resilience”, comparing the neoliberal approach to the concept with the one taken by ecological sciences and exploring radical transformation through evaluation of a research residency at a community orchard. Solange Ayache (Sorbonne University) then spoke on the merging of the brain, the stage, and the forest in her paper “‘It’s the Intricacy of the Forest … That’s the Treasure’: Devising Ecological Theatre with Simon McBurney’s The Encounter“. Simon Bowes (University of Greenwich) then gave a paper on “Embodiment, Occupation and Solidarity: Theatre Environment as Territory in three Tim Spooner Performances”, in which he outlined Spooner’s refashioning of the theatre environment as ‘territory’ in his performances The Voice of Nature (2018), Cuteness Forensics (2018), and Dead Nature (2019). Bowes proposed that Spooner occupied nature and, by extension, the theatre.

The conference closed on Sunday mid-day. The next conference will take place in Paris (organised by our sister organisation RADAC) on 23-26 June, 2022.

Conference Report – 28th CDE Conference

“Theatre of Crisis. Aesthetic Responses to a Cross-Sectional Condition”
June 20-23, 2019, University of Graz, Austria

Julia Boll, CDE Secretary

The Bildungshaus Mariatrost in Graz (Austria)

The 2019 CDE conference officially opened with the welcoming words by the conference organiser Nassim Balestrini (University of Graz), Maria Löschnigg (University of Graz), and Leo Lippert (University of Vienna). The President of the society Ute Berns thanked the conference organisers for their work and commitment. The conference organisers then introduced the conference theme, followed by a welcome by Martin Löschnigg, the deputy head of the Institute of English Studies at the University of Graz.

After dinner, the conference participants made their way into Graz city centre to attend a performance of Ayad Akhtar’s The Who and the What at Schauspielhaus Graz, followed by a roundtable discussion with dramaturgs and other representatives of the theatre.

The second day started with the conference’s first keynote: Erin Hurley (McGill University, Montréal), “Community Vitality and Minority-language Theatre: English-language Drama and Theatre in Modern Québec” (chaired by Nassim Balestrini). Hurley traced English-language theatre’s status as a minority theatre in francophone Québec, arguing that the crisis of anglophone theatre in Québec does not register as a crisis.

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Conference Report: 27th CDE Conference: Fear and Anxiety in Contemporary Drama

Conference Report: 27th CDE Conference: Fear and Anxiety in Contemporary Drama

May 31-June 3, 2018, University of Hildesheim

by Dr. Julia Boll
CDE Secretary 

CDE Universitaet Hildesheim Neubau Luebecker Strasse
Photo by Andreas Hartmann

The 2018 CDE conference officially opened with the welcome speeches by the conference organiser Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier and the Dean of the University of Hildesheim’s Faculty of Arts Prof. Dr. Jens Roselt. The President of the society Prof. Dr. Ute Berns thanked the conference organisers for their work and commitment. She then informed the members of the recent death of long-standing member of CDE, Dr. Christoph Henke, PD (Augsburg), who died the weekend before the conference. A minute of silence followed.

The President then announced the two winners of the Bi-Annual CDE Award for outstanding dissertations (jury: Annette Pankratz, Kerstin Schmidt, Christina Wald). She read the laudations for Cyrielle Garcon and Jan Suk, who shared the prize this year: Cyrielle Garson (Univ. de Avignon) for her thesis Beyond Documentary Realism: Aesthetic Transgression in Contemporary British Verbatim Theatre, and Jan Suk (Charles University Prague) for The Poetics of Immanence: Performance Theatre of Forced Entertainment. Both theses will be published as monographs in the CDE book series.

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Conference Report: Crossing Borders

RADAC 40th Anniversary Conference: Crossing Borders: Contemporary Anglophone Theatre in Europe

Paris, October 11th-12th, 2018

Susan Blattès (President RADAC)
ILCEA4 Université Grenoble Alpes


This conference had several objectives. First, we wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of RADAC (Recherches sur les Arts Dramatiques Anglophones Contemporains), an association of scholars and theatre professionals set up in France in 1978. Second, as a group which increasingly involves members from other countries, we wanted to look at the wider issue of the place of contemporary Anglophone theatre in continental Europe. Finally, by involving speakers and participants from many different European countries, we thought that the conference would allow us to consider how to increase collaboration amongst drama and theatre scholars throughout Europe, with a view to setting up a European network. We decided therefore to include in the conference programme a session in which this could be discussed.

The conference ran for two complete days and brought together around 70 academics and theatre professionals, translators and publishers. Papers were given in parallel panels during the morning. In all, twenty papers were given dealing with a wide range of playwrights, types of play or topics concerning the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and France, of course. All panels were chaired by specialists coming from the various countries mentioned as well as Britain and Germany. The panels all included a mix of nationalities while speakers ranged from PhD students to internationally recognised scholars. The papers gave rise to fascinating discussions in which our common interest in Anglophone theatre was confronted with the specific contexts of theatre production in other European countries (translating, publishing, programming performing …).

The afternoons were organised differently. There were two round-tables: one brought together theatre practitioners (writers, actors, directors) who discussed the challenges of producing Anglophone theatre in a non-Anglophone context. A second round-table focused specifically on issues relating to translation and the publishing of translated plays (round-table participants came from France, Germany and Italy). Another session was organised in which those scholars who belonged to a network of theatre researchers extending beyond their own institution presented their group. This included CDE (Contemporary Drama in English) in Germany which functions in a similar way to RADAC, the Contemporary Drama Barcelona  group from Spain, and one from Rome. All groups brought up the question of funding conferences, publications, supporting doctoral students etc. A thorough presentation of European funding was given by two representatives from Sorbonne University. Many of the participants expressed the desire to collaborate at the European level.

Two keynote addresses were given. Elisabeth Angel-Perez (Sorbonne University) discussed the presence of Anglophone theatre in France and the role played by certain directors and translators in getting these works performed in France. Peter Boenisch (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) looked at the work of English directors on the continental stage, insisting particularly on two directors (Robert Icke and Joe Hill-Gibbons) in Holland, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland.

Each day ended with an appropriate climax. Day one concluded with An Irish Story by Kelly Rivière (surtitled by students from Paris 8 under the guidance of Marie Nadia Karsky).

At the end of day two the conference participants were treated to an interview of celebrated playwright Simon Stephens by Dan Rebellato (Royal Holloway London). Simon Stephens is an ideal dramatist to interview in relation to the theme of the conference. Firstly, his own work has been put on across Europe, notably thanks to his collaboration with Sebastian Nübling. Secondly, Simon Stephens has contributed to the circulation of non-Anglophone plays in the UK, having translated/adapted works by playwrights such as Brecht, Chekhov and Ibsen. The discussion between Dan Rebellato and Simon Stephens brought out the importance of crossing borders in Stephens’s work and in the Anglophone theatre in general. Despite the many serious themes evoked, Stephens and Rebellato managed to end on an optimistic note about the role of theatre in Europe to the delight of the conference participants.

A selection of the papers will be published in 2019 along with highlights from the round-table discussion in a special issue of Coup de Théâtre.

Conference Report: “Nation, Nationhood and Theatre”

“Nation, Nationhood and Theatre”: 26th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

Reading (Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading/UK),
29 June–02 July 2017

Julia Boll (Konstanz, Germany)

The 26th CDE conference, hosted at the Minghella building (Dept. of Theatre and Film) at the University of Reading, provided a platform to discuss the representation of issues of nation and nationhood in contemporary theatre and drama in English, a very topical theme in the year after the referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and in times of a global rise of nationalisms and populist movements.

The conference started with a welcome address by local organisers Vicky Angelaki and John Bull. They stressed the uniqueness of CDE and how the background of many members of the society is intricately connected to questions of nation and nationality. They also commented on the society’s spirit of community, reflected in the practise of avoiding parallel sessions, and then spoke about the critical momentum of the conference, the case of worrying nationalism, of jingoism, and how theatre might be the best way of approaching these issues. Continue reading “Conference Report: “Nation, Nationhood and Theatre””

Conference Report: Education and Cultural Heritage

“Education and Cultural Heritage” Conference

Brussels (Belgium), June 10, 2017

Marisa Kerbizi, “Alexander Moisiu” University of Durrës (Albania) and CEO of “Association of Heritage and Education”

Picture Gallery

“Education and Cultural Heritage” Conference was organized by Association of Heritage and Education in cooperation with Cultural Association Konitza, on June 10, 2017. The conference was hosted by Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Brussels, Belgium. Scholars from well known academic institutions and universities in the region took part in this conference; worthy to mention a few, La Sapienza University of Rome, Tirana University, “Alexander Moisiu” University, Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education of Indonesia, Volgograd University, Danubius University of Galati, South-East European University, “Ismail Qemali” University, European University of Tirana,“Fan Noli” University but also Institute of National Economy Bucharest, FEDRA, Young Ambassadors Program Initiative, Centre for the Modern History Documentation of Volgograd Region, etc.

The conference featured a welcoming note by Counselor for Education, Associate Professor Pranvera Kamani, representative of Mission of Albania in EU. A very interesting speech was held by Ms.Amet Gjanaj, Deputy in Belgium Parliament. A Special Guest in ICECH Conference was Ms.Haxhi Bajraktari, Minister-Counselor in Embassy of Kosovo Republic in Brussels. Conference keynote speakers were Prof. Dr. Dhimitër Doka, Tirana University and Associate Professor PhD Gabriela Marchis, Danubius University of Galati, Romania.

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Conference Report: Letters: International and Interdisciplinary Academic Conference

Letters: International and Interdisciplinary Academic Conference

Interhotel Cherno More, Varna, Bulgaria

27-29 April 2017

Peyo Karpuzov, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Picture Gallery

Convened at the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea, the conference gathered scholars with a wide range of interests within the humanities from China through Europe to the USA and Canada. It was organised jointly by the Bulgarian Society for British Studies (BSBS) and the Bulgarian American Studies Association (BASA) in conjunction with the Alma Mater Centre of Excellence in the Humanities at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Faculty of Modern Languages at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. The topic of the conference, ingeniously devised to accommodate papers on the two principle meanings of the word “letters” as graphic signs and written messages and all the space between them, gave the participants generously free licence to unfold their creativity and self-expression which everyone took due advantage of. Additionally, the conference hosted a Transatlantic Seminar on the US recent presidential elections.

The conference featured a welcoming note by Ludmilla Kostova (University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria), who presided diligently over the organising committee and the smooth flow of the event, three plenary lectures by prominent scholars, twelve concurrent sessions – among which an experimental Skype panel which proved a daring but altogether successful endeavour – and an afternoon sightseeing trip to the botanical gardens and Queen Marie of Romania’s summer residence in nearby Balchik. The first-day keynote lecture by Tsenka Ivanova, Dean of the Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Veliko Tarnovo,  focused on alphabets as crossroads of culture and politics. The keynote speaker on the second day was ESSE’s President Liliane Louvel (Université de Poitiers, France) who dwelled on the mediating role of letters between texts and images, exemplified by a vast array of pictorial representations from the past and present. Distinguished poet and scholar Nick Norwood (Columbus State University, GA, USA) delivered the last plenary lecture on the third day of the conference, capturing the audience’s attention with his talk on Richard Howard’s epistolary strategies. The papers, presented in the concurrent sessions, built on the plenary insights and brought the discussion of “letters” into the multifarious directions and beyond new horizons. The conference was held in the spirit of mutual respect and fruitful exchange of ideas and heated, but friendly, discussions marked especially the third day of the conference, after the joyful trip to Balchik had served as a socialising catalyst among the participants.

The proceedings of the conference are to be published in the annual STUDIA PHILOLOGICA UNIVERSITATIS TARNOVENSIS series at the beginning of 2018.

Conference Report: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

“Theatre and Mobility”: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)

Eichstätt (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt),
26–29 May 2016

Sarah Heinz (Mannheim, Germany)

In what has been termed the ‘mobility turn’ by scholars like John Urry or Tim Cresswell, research has analysed the complexities of economic, social, and political spaces, dealing with both the historical development of movement and mobility and today’s world of social networks, airtravel, multinational corporations, and SMS texting, among others. Contemporary stages have in the last decades addressed this issue of mobility in a multicultural and global world. Playwrights and audiences alike have been fascinated with aspects and processes related to mobility and its many aspects, e.g. ethical issues like hospitality and unequal access to mobility, technological and virtual mobility, migration and displacement, or mobile and immobile bodies on stage. The 25th CDE conference, hosted at the historical Collegium Willibaldinum at Eichstätt, provided a platform to discuss what mobility might mean in the ‘here and now’ of contemporary theatre and drama and how aspects like gender, race, or class might reflect and inflect issues and representations of mobility. Continue reading “Conference Report: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)”

Conference Report: ESSE 13 Conference, 22-26 August 2016, Galway, Ireland

The 13th ESSE Conference

22-26 August 2016, NUI Galway, Ireland

Patrick Lonergan and Aoife Leahy

galway2016-logo We were delighted to host the 13th ESSE conference at National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.  There were 3 plenary lectures, 17 sub-plenary lectures, 80 seminars, 10 round tables, 5 special PhD sessions and a poster session as well as the ESSE General Assembly and book awards ceremony.

esse-13-photoApproximately 800 delegates attended this very busy conference. Special events included the Welcome Reception, a Sean Nós Song and Dance Performance from The Centre of Irish Studies, readings by the novelist Mike McCormack and the poet Mary O’ Malley, the conference dinner in the Radisson Hotel (including Irish music and dancing performances), three plays by the Fishamble theatre company, and a special closing seminar on women and contemporary theatre from the Druid Theatre Academy. Delegates could enjoy a tour of the library and special collections on any day of the conference and the exhibition “Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen” was on display in the library.

Emma Smith, the Cultural Studies plenary speaker, entertained us with “The Biography of a Book: Shakespeare’s First Folio.” Since the theme of this issue of the ESSE Messenger is Shakespeare Lives, Emma Smith has kindly published her lecture. Paul Baker was the Linguistics plenary speaker, delivering a fascinating lecture entitled “Divided by a Common Language? A Comparison of Recent Change in American and British English.” Colm Tóibín, the Literature plenary speaker, captivated the audience with “As Things Fall Apart: The Response to Violence in the Work of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.”

Liliane Louvel, ESSE’s President, addressed the ESSE membership at the General Assembly. There was applause for Alberto Lazaro and Smiljana Komar, who have been re-elected as ESSE’s Treasurer and ESSE’s Secretary for another three year term. The prestigious ESSE book awards were presented to the prize winners.

Photographs of the General Assembly and book awards can be seen on the ESSE Facebook page at  Important decisions made at the ESSE Board meeting can be seen on the ESSE Messenger blog at

We look forward to the next ESSE conference in Brno in 2018!

Conference Report: Borders and Crossings Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016

Borders and Crossings: An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing,

Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016

Eva Oppermann, Kassel

Picture credit: Pjotr Burda

Held for the second time in former Eastern Europe, this conference, which is the 13th Borders and Crossings Conference since 1998, was hosted by the Department of Modern Languages of the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland. Dr. Agnieszka Szwach and associate professor Magdalena Ożarska, as its main organizers, did an excellent, extremely supportive, job. In eighteen sessions, more than fifty speakers from nearly twenty countries and about fifteen disciplines have covered a wide range of topics concerning travel writing of all ages. The two keynote lectures, “Illusion, immediacy, and the “vehicle of description” in travel writing and travel illustration” by Benjamin Colbert (university of Wolverhampton) and Ludmilla Kostova’s (St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria) “Intercultural mediation in travel writing and its (dis)contents: the cases of Mary Wortley Montagu and Rebecca West” introduced various topics of wider interest in the field: Colbert discussed the concepts of both the picturesque and subjectivity in connection with travel writing, especially with description and illustration. Kostova introduced xenophilia, interpretation and mediation as means of understanding the “other” in women’s travel writing. The topics of the sessions included a concentration on various national literatures (e.g. Polish, French, Russian and British), gender (women’s travels), non-human travel (esp. animals; the space travel of science fiction was not represented), or travel in important works of literature. Continue reading “Conference Report: Borders and Crossings Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016”

Conference Report: ‘Games of Empires’, Saarbrücken 2016

Games of Empires. Historico-Cultural Connotations of Board Games in Transnational and Imperial Contexts

Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, 21-23 April 2016

Katrin Berndt (Associate Professor, University of Bremen, Germany)

erstellt am: 18.07.07 Foto: atb-thiry, Fotograf: Jochen Hans Universität des Saarlandes. Saarbrücken, Campus, Studiengebühren, Studium
Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

As a universally shared human activity and a fundamental form of cultural expression, playing has been an object of research in the humanities and the social sciences since philosopher Karl Groos developed his evolutionary psychological theory of play in Die Spiele der Menschen (1899; Engl. The Play of Man). To sketch out and establish a historico-cultural approach to the genre of board games was the aim of Games of Empires, an interdisciplinary conference organized by the Department of Ancient History and the Chair for Transcultural Anglophone Studies of Saarland University that took place from 21 to 23 April 2016 in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Continue reading “Conference Report: ‘Games of Empires’, Saarbrücken 2016”

Conference Report: EASA 13 Conference, Veszprém, Hungary

EASA 13 Conference: Australia as Topos – The Transformation of Australian Studies

University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary


University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary EASA13 Conference

The town of Veszprém in Hungary has in many ways been at the cusp of history throughout its 7,000 years of known existence. The surrounding hills witnessed the decisive battles fought in the region more than 1,000 years ago. In several ways Veszprém is also a cultural capital: it was the first Hungarian city to have a university level educational institution in the 13th century. We are delighted to announce that the University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary), in cooperation with Topos – Bilingual Journal of Space and Humanities and the Veszprém Regional Branch of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences successfully hosted the 13th biannual international conference of the European Association for Studies on Australia (EASA) between 30 September and 3 October 2015. Continue reading “Conference Report: EASA 13 Conference, Veszprém, Hungary”

Conference Report: “Afroeuropeans 2015”, Münster 2015

“Afroeuropeans 2015”: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe
The 5th Biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network Conference
Münster, Germany

Jean d’Amour Banyanga (PhD Student, Åbo Akademi University, Finland)

Åbo Akademi University
Åbo Akademi University,
Turku (Finland)

From 16 to19 September 2015, the fifth biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network conference took place in the beautiful city of Münster, Germany. There were 170 participants from 15 countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA. The conference featured keynote lectures, paper presentations, panel discussions, and cultural events on the literature, history, music, art, politics, and youth culture of Africans and their descendants in Europe. Since a full report on all events and sessions would be impossible, the following account is limited to a representative selection. The conference opened in the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2015 with the screening of the film Real Life: Deutschland, followed by a discussion with the director, Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye from Cologne.   Continue reading “Conference Report: “Afroeuropeans 2015”, Münster 2015″

Conference report: “Theatre and Spectatorship”, Barcelona 2015

“Theatre and Spectatorship”: 24th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)
University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 4–7 June 2015

Sarah Heinz (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany)

Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar
Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar,
Barcelona (Spain)

Research into spectatorship and the role of audience has stressed that the spectator is a corporeal presence and indispensable to a performance but that as a concept spectatorship is slippery and difficult to define. Seminal publications like Susan Bennett’s Theatre Audiences (1990) or Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2009) have highlighted both the interest of theatre practitioners in the role of the spectator and its comparative scholarly neglect up to the 1980s. In this context, scholarly work has increasingly focused on the productive, collaborative role of audiences and spectators, contributing to a decisive paradigm shift in the field which, with its emphasis on ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ respectively, has long linked spectatorship with passivity. Since then, there has been a gradual yet sustained increase in interventions in the field. The 24th CDE conference at the University of Barcelona, hosted at the 15th-century Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar, reflected on such theoretical, methodological as well as artistic work on spectatorship in the context of contemporary theatre and drama in English. Continue reading “Conference report: “Theatre and Spectatorship”, Barcelona 2015”