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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

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CFP – The Prospect of Improvement: A Bluestocking Landscape

A two-day conference at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire including a tour of the house and grounds supported by Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online [EMCO] and Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

8-9th September 2020

Plenary speakers

Dr Stephen Bending (University of Southampton, author of Green Retreats. Women, gardens and eighteenth-century culture (2013)

Professor Markman Ellis (Queen Mary, University of London), author of The Coffee House: A Cultural History (2005)

Dr Joe Hawkins (Head of Landscape at Hagley)

Dr Steve Hindle (Huntington Library, CA) W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research.

Our conference puts centre stage the patriotism and patronage of George Lyttelton first baron Lyttelton (1709-1773), a strangely shadowy figure yet a fascinating eminence grise behind the art and politics of his age. We will discuss the motivation behind his extensive remodelling of his grounds and the commissioning of local architect Sanderson Miller (1716-1780) in designing a new Hagley Hall. How can the ideas of other architects and landscape reformers from the midlands such as Sir Roger Newdigate (1719-1806), Sir Uvedale Price (1747-1829) and William Shenstone (1714-1763) be brought into dialogue with Miller’s project?

As EMCO is editing the correspondence of Lord Lyttelton’s friend and literary collaborator, critic Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800), we will equally focus on eighteenth-century women’s management of estates, commissioning of art and architecture and writing associating rural retirement with moral improvement.

We invite delegates to participate in 3 panels on the following themes:

  • Concepts of Reform and Improvement in Architecture and Rural Life
  • Female Management of the Country Estate
  • The Symbolism of the Garden in Eighteenth-century Art and Literature

We also welcome papers on:

  • Whig Perceptions of the Country and the City
  • Portraiture, representations of the Country House and Landscape Painting
  • Domesticating the picturesque: creating the grotto, the wilderness and the waterfall.
  • Bluestocking Crafts and Collecting
  • Botany, Gardening and Girls’ Education
  • Agricultural Reform and the Rural Poor
  • The Lunar Society, Provincial Salons and Correspondence Networks
  • The Politics of Patronage
  • Philanthropy and the Religious Revival

Early career and unwaged researchers

We reach out especially to early career researchers by offering 6 bursaries funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art to doctoral students and unwaged ECRs with promising proposals for papers relevant to the conference theme. Each bursary holder is invited to review 2 x panel sessions for a report on the conference to be published online on

http://www.elizabethmontagunetwork.co.uk/the-project/

  • Bursaries covering the conference fee and accommodation are available to 6 postgraduate students and unwaged early career researchers, who have papers accepted for presentation at the conference. ‘Unwaged’ scholars may be retired, unemployed or unable to access institutional support for conference attendance. They are invited to make a personal statement in support of their application.
  • Students’ bursary application forms must be accompanied by a statement from a supervisor which is signed on university headed paper and accompanied by the university stamp.
  • The bursary award will be paid as a refund following attendance at the conference.

Special Issue

A selection of delegates will be invited to extend their papers into scholarly articles for a book-length special issue of the journal Eighteenth-century Life, to be edited by Professor Markman Ellis.

Please send proposals for papers (no longer than 350 words) and requests for bursary application forms by 14th February 2020 to Jack Orchard by email [j.t.g.orchard@swansea.ac.uk] or by post to:

Dr. Jack Orchard, Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP.

 

 

Oaths, Odes, and Orations 1789-1830

2020 Paris Symposium of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar

Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Paris

Friday 3-Saturday 4 April 2020

The Tennis Court Oath of 20 June 1789 was the first overtly revolutionary act of the French Revolution and marked the beginning of an epoch in which public speech acts took on unprecedented political significance. The ceremonial odes and hymns of the fêtes de fédération were another manifestation of this renascence of orality, restoring the ancient Pindaric tradition of poetry as public performance and giving new meaning to odic conventions such as invocation, exhortation and apostrophe. In the work of André Chénier and others, this new lyric function produced major poetry. Meanwhile, in the halls of the political clubs, in the National Convention and revolutionary Committees, and from lecterns, pulpits and courtroom benches across France, oratory of all kinds shaped the course of history and decided the fate of individuals. Even on the executioner’s scaffold, rhetorical amplification became the preferred mode of address, a grim illustration of Baudelaire’s subsequent observation about ‘the grandiloquent truth of gestures on life’s great occasions’.

The revitalisation of performative language was not confined to the 1789 Revolution, nor to France. Britain experienced what many still consider a golden age of political eloquence, as orators of the calibre of Pitt, Burke, Fox and Sheridan jousted in parliament and extended their orations through the medium of print. Outside parliament, the growth of the corresponding societies, of other political clubs and associations, and of political lecturing created numerous opportunities for public address, the communicative practices and clandestine rituals of certain organisations attracting repressive measures such as the Unlawful Oaths Act of 1797. Radical writers mimicked French revolutionary styles in odes to Liberty and on the Bastille, while satirists parodied their efforts in mock-odes to the guillotine and pseudo-songs travestying revolutionary enthusiasm. Sermons, notably in the Nonconformist churches, were another front in the oral war of ideas, fusing religion and politics in provocative ways. Educational lecturing also underwent a remarkable boom, in the new Royal Institution and other fashionable lecturing institutions.

This two-day symposium will assess the literary significance of this mobilisation of orality and public utterance, and explore links between the speech acts of politicians, polemicists and educators and the writings of poets and other authors. How is the Romantic revaluation of the ode which produced the famous lyrics of Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Victor Hugo – and of less well-known figures such as Southey, Hemans, Iolo Morganwg and Peter Pindar – connected with the revival of ceremonial ode-writing and public ritual? How are the ‘speech genres’ of everyday life integrated into the more complex genres of imaginative literature, as Bakhtin postulated? Can speech-writing, sermonising or toast-making be themselves a form of literary activity? What happens when legally, morally binding oaths and commitments are broken, forcing the swearer to recant, in public again – are such disavowals part of the culture of apostasy and disenchantment posited by literary historians of Romanticism? And to what extent do these purposive deployments of public speech enter the literary and rhetorical theory of the period?

We invite proposals on any aspect of the literary and verbal life of Britain and France from 1789 to 1830 that relates to this broad set of issues. Topics may include but are not confined to:

•       Oaths, affirmations and other verbal rituals
•       Toasts and toasting
•       Public lectures and lecturing
•       Denunciation, recantation and confession
•       Proclamations, declarations and vindications
•       Odes, hymns and songs
•       Apostrophe, personification and other poetic devices
•       Literature and public ceremony
•       Dialectic of publicness and privacy in Romantic lyric
•       Political, religious and forensic oratory
•       Illocutionary acts and performative language
•       Gendered eloquence
•       Dialogues and dialogism
•       Rhetorical theory of the Romantic period

Papers will be 25 to 30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions.

Send title of paper and abstract (300 words), with brief CV, to marc.poree@ens.fr and d.duff@qmul.ac.uk by 31 January 2020

Organised by Marc Porée (ENS), David Duff (QMUL) and the Paris Steering Group of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar. For further information, see http://londonparisromantic.com/

CFP: Writing Health from the 18th Century to the 21st

3-5 June 2020,

Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Northumbria University, in connection with a three-year Leverhulme Trust-funded major project, is organising a two-day conference focusing on writing by and about doctors and other health practitioners, encompassing everything from physicians, apothecaries and botanists to midwives and cunning women. The aim of the conference is to give scholars the opportunity to explore the phenomenon of writing doctors and its wide social effects, whether it be representations of medical practitioners in literature and art, or creative works written by medical people. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject invites work on cultural, economic and gender history, as well as literary, visual and performing arts.

Plenary Speakers

Michelle Faubert, Associate Professor of English, University of Manitoba and Visiting Fellow, Northumbria University; Pratik Chakrabarti, Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester; Tita Chico, Professor of English, University of Maryland.

The movement of medical writing from Latin to English in the Early Modern era opened up knowledge previously monopolised by an elite readership. Medical practitioners of both genders recognised the potential to build up their brand by catering to a burgeoning market of eager new readers. Publishers and booksellers capitalised on increased literary rates and greater purchasing powers amongst the public to produce ever-growing quantities of scientific texts – further fuelling public fascination with health and wellbeing, especially that of women. Practitioners, in entering this marketplace, were laid increasingly open to public ownership, as a personality behind the prose, either for better or worse. The full social, economic and political implications of this radical shift in the dissemination of information in the medical field have only just begun to be uncovered by scholars. This conference aims to open up discussion regarding all elements of this topic ca. 1660 to the present day.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Representation of, and writing by, medical practitioners in literary, visual and performing arts
  • Medical self-fashioning.
  • The role of gender in medicine (e.g. female apothecaries, midwives, cunning women, etc.)
  • Definitions of medical writing and the role of genre
  • European, Trans-Atlantic, Asian, and colonial medicine Satire – in all its forms – directed at medical practice, both lay and professional, including by medical people themselves
  • Discourse and correspondence between practitioners, and practitioners and their patients.
  • The nature of medical publishing

We welcome proposals from researchers across a range of disciplines and stages of career, including early career and student scholars. Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a short biography, to writingdocs18@gmail.com by Friday 15th November 2019. Papers will be invited on a wide variety of relevant topics from within the period. A selection of revised papers is expected to be published as part of the project outputs.

Conference Rates: £130 full delegates, £65 Concessions (PGR and Unwaged)

The Conference is organised by: Clark Lawlor; Ashleigh Blackwood; Allan Ingram; Leigh Wetherall-Dickson; Helen Williams and Laurence Sullivan (The Writing Doctors Team).

Romantic Studies and Environmental Criticism: A Symposium

University of Leeds, 7–8 April 2020

Call for Participants

Deadline 13 December 2019

What is the current state of environmental criticism in British Romantic studies? And what is its future?

This symposium will bring together scholars working on literature, culture and the nonhuman around 1800. It aims to enable conversation between postgraduate students, early career researchers and leading thinkers in the field. We will take the measure of existing research on texts and ecologies in Romantic-period Britain, and ask what comes next.

We will also consider professional issues. How can we work towards a flourishing community of researchers in the field? How can scholarship inform and be informed by life outside the academy?

The symposium will consist of dialogues and round table discussions, with readings circulated in advance, but no formal lectures. Lead participants will include Professors Donna Landry (Kent), Ralph Pite (Bristol) and Kate Rigby (Bath Spa). It should be of interest to Romanticists working on environmental/ecological themes of all kinds, including but not limited to animal studies; climatology and meteorology; colonial environment-making; ecopoetics and formalist ecocriticism; gender and ecology; ‘green Romanticism’ and the genealogies of environmentalism; industrial change; natural philosophy; place, landscape and geography; and rural, urban and agrarian cultures.

The symposium will take place in Leeds from midday on Tuesday 7 to late afternoon on Wednesday 8 April. Participation is free but places are limited.

Five £150 bursaries are available to support postgraduate, early career and precariously employed researchers who will be participating in the whole event.

To take part, please email Jeremy Davies (j.g.h.davies@leeds.ac.uk) with a short description – max. 300 words – of your research interests in the field by 13 December 2019. To request one of the five bursaries, please also include a summary of your current career circumstances.

The event is funded by the AHRC, and hosted by the Leeds Environmental Humanities Research Group and the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

Call for Papers – Global Blake: Afterlives in Art, Literature and Music

11-12 September 2020

University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

In recent years a body of work – including Blake, Modernity and Popular Culture (2007), Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and Culture (2012), William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (2017), William Blake and the Myth of America (2018), and The Reception of William Blake in Europe (2019) – has emerged around the posthumous reception of the artist and poet, William Blake. From almost complete obscurity following his death in 1827, Blake has become one of the most important figures in British cultural life. What is less understood, outside certain pockets such as the USA and Japan, is the significance of Blake elsewhere in the world.

Today, Blake’s global presence cannot be underestimated. The aim of this project is to showcase the wide variety of global ‘Blakes’ (after Morris Eaves’s “On Blakes We Want and Blakes We Don’t”, 1995, and Mike Goode’s “Blakespotting”, 2006) and to provide an overview of the appropriations and rewritings as well as examples, that fall into three categories: art, literature and music. It will examine how Blake’s global audiences have responded to his poetry and art as well as explore what these specific, non-British responses and cultural and social legacies can bring to the study of Blake. What is fascinating about works in art, literature and music inspired by Blake is the fact in which the verbal and the visual in Blake’s art translates into different cultural contexts in unique ways.

Building on The Reception of Blake in the Orient (2006) and The Reception of William Blake’s Reception in Europe (2019), part of the longstanding and successful series The Reception of British and Irish Authors with Elinor Shaffer as series editor, the organisers welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (three 20-minute papers). Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Studies of influence in Literature, such as Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Kenzaburo Oe, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, the Beat Generation and the Black Mountain Poets.
  • Blake in translation
  • Postcolonial Blake and Blake in world literatures and arts
  • Blake and the theatre or performance
  • Afterlives in art and exhibition culture, such as Rockwell Kent, Helen Martins, or Subir Hati.
  • Blake and graphic novels and comics
  • Setting Blake to music
  • Reception by Women, People of Colour and LBGT+
  • Blake and the digital age
  • Routes of transmission: Blake and the web, social media, publishing houses, publishing histories and facsimiles
  • Blake and literature written for children
  • Blake and film, such as Jim Jarmusch, Derek Jarman, Hal Hartley
  • Blake scholarship, including T.S. Eliot, Northrop Frye, S. Foster Damon, Leopold Damrosch, Donald Ault, Robert Gleckner, Hazard Adams, Harold Bloom and David Erdman, Mona Wilson and G.E. Bentley Jr.

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note (50 words in the same Word document) should be sent to Sibylle Erle (sibylle.erle@bishopg.ac.uk) and Jason Whittaker (jwhittaker@lincoln.ac.uk) by 29 February 2020.


 

The 28th Annual NASSR Conference

Romanticism and Vision

28th Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR)

University of Toronto, Ontario on August 6-9, 2020.

For more details Click Here

The organizers of NASSR 2020 invite proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables–from scholars emerging and established, and in all areas of literary, philosophical, cultural, and artistic study–on the theme of “Romanticism and Vision.” In the field of Romanticism, the implications of “vision” as a keyword have changed dramatically over the last half-century, and have expanded to include (for example) the embodied senses, technologies of perception, visual and material culture, and the visual and performing arts. We welcome presentations that explore Romanticism’s connection to vision, the visual, and the visionary, understood in the widest possible sense. Approaches that broaden Romanticism’s disciplinary, geographical, and linguistic scope are especially welcome. In our echoing of the “Vision 2020” and “Beyond 2020” motif currently being deployed in academic, business, and public sectors, we aim to make this year’s conference an opportunity to consider the future of Romanticism as a critical field of humanist study, and to strategize about the role of Romanticism in shaping the future of the university.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Re-envisioning Romanticism: looking back and looking forward
  • Visions and the visionary: perception, prognostication, projection, speculation, the speculative
  • Ways of looking: reading, conceptualizing, observing, peeping, gazing, categorizing, examining, recognizing and misrecognizing
  • Visual culture and aesthetics: objects of sight, spectacle, the spectacular, the sublime and the beautiful
  • Reading methods and histories: careful, close, distant, surface; plagiarism, copyright law
  • Print culture in its social, theoretical, and physical aspects (e.g. text, design, structure, layout); manuscripts, letters, journals, scrapbooks, books, journals, newspapers
  • The seen and the unseen: noumena, phenomena, the spirit world, apparitions and appearances
  • Romantic iconoclasm and anti-representationalism; ocularcentrism and “the tyranny of the eye”
  • Visual communication: text, numbers, notation (e.g. musical), images, sign language, placards, banners, flags, gestures, hieroglyphs, emblems, insignia
  • Questions of form and representation
  • Fashionable looking: costume, hair, makeup, manner, style, taste, places to see and be seen
  • Visualizing gender and sexuality: identity, performance, politics
  • Visual and scenic arts: sculpture, painting, illustration, graphic satire, print shops, pornography, broadsheets, dioramas, panoramas, architectural and landscape design
  • Theatre and performing arts: set design, lighting, visual effects, costume, body movement, dance, pantomime, attitudes, tableaux vivants
  • Art collection and assessment: museums and curation, connoisseurship, formal and evaluative concerns (e.g. light, color, pattern, shape, scale, proportion)
  • Visualizing class: social hierarchies and signifiers (e.g. clothing, heraldry, pageantry), occupational and economic segregation
  • Instruments of looking: lenses, spectacles, quizzing glasses, spy glasses, Claude glasses, prisms, mirrors, telescopes, microscopes, orreries, windows
  • Forms of illumination and darkness: lightning, electricity, candlelight, lamps, gas light, spotlights, limelight, torches, fireworks; shade, shadow, twilight, gloom, obscurity
  • Religious vision(s): prophecy, revelation, enthusiasm, sermons and hymns, public and private devotion, natural and revealed religion
  • The science of the eye: vision, optics, visual anatomy, medicine, pathology, disability, blindness
  • Data visualization (e.g. land, economy, population studies): mapping, cartography, geography, geolocation, charts, diagrams, categorization, numerical and pictorial statistics
  • Visualizing race: slavery, racism, racialization, minoritization
  • Vision and ecopoetics: seeing nature (vistas, prospects, the picturesque); noticing and reading features of land, water, and sky; watching weather and recognizing climate; the animal gaze
  • Envisioning space and place: the local and the global, home and abroad, the peripheral and transperipheral
  • Envisioning (the ends of) empire: imperialism, colonialism, sites and sights of war; decolonization, indigenization
  • Political and military forecasting, strategy, optics, campaigns, battlegrounds, political theatre
  • Imagining the future of Romanticism; strategizing its work in the humanities, in the university, and in society

Keynote Speakers:
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Northeastern University)
Martin Myrone (Tate Britain)

Special Seminar Leaders:
Luisa Calè (Birkbeck, University of London)

Timothy Campbell (University of Chicago)

William H. Galperin (Rutgers University)

Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton)

Grégory Pierrot (University of Connecticut at Stamford)

Padma Rangarajan (University of California, Riverside)

Gillian Russell (University of York)

Sophie Thomas (Ryerson University)


WEBSITE: http://sites.utoronto.ca/wincs/nassr2020

EMAIL CONTACT: nassr2020vision@gmail.com

Midlands Romantic Seminar

20th November, 6.30-8.00pm

University of Derby

Professor Tim Fulford and Dr Andrew Lacey

We are delighted to announce that the Midlands Romantic Seminar is being re-launched on 20th November at the University of Derby.  Our first event will welcome Professor Tim Fulford and Dr Andrew Lacey, two members of the research team involved with the Davy Letters Project, who will each be speaking about their recent research on the chemist and poet Humphry Davy.

Event Details:

6.30-8.00pm

Room OL1, Kedleston Road Campus

Professor Tim Fulford (De MOntfort University), ‘From Derbyshire to Vesuvius:Humphry Davy and the Midlands Enlightenment’

Dr Andrew Lacy (Lancaster University), ‘Brothers in Science: John and Humphry Davy’

There will be a Wine Reception afterwards. All are very welcome! Please do pass this information on to anyone who you think would be interested in attending.

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There will be two further Midlands Romantic Seminars during the year 2019/20: watch this space for more details and follow us on Twitter @RomanticMidland. If you have any proposals for future seminars or events, please contact Dr Paul Whickman and Dr Erin Lafford at either p.whickman@derby.ac.uk or e.lafford@derby.ac.uk.

 

BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowship 2020

We would like to invite Early Career Researchers who are not in permanent employment to apply for a one-month residential Fellowship with the Wordsworth Trust at Grasmere.

The Wordsworth Trust is centred around Dove Cottage, the Wordsworths’ home between 1799 and 1808, where Wordsworth wrote most of his greatest poetry and Dorothy wrote her Grasmere journals. The Trust’s collection comprises over 68,000 books, manuscripts and works of art, and at its heart remains the poetry, prose and letters of William and Dorothy.

This Fellowship will take place during one of the most exciting and transformative times in the Wordsworth Trust’s history. Our major HLF-funded project ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ is due for completion in time to celebrate Wordsworth’s 250th birthday on 7 April 2020. ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ seeks to raise awareness and change perceptions of Wordsworth’s life and work, furthering his own wish for his poetry to help people ‘to see, to think and feel’.

To help achieve this, we are transforming our site (which will include a redesigned and extended museum, a new learning centre, a newly interpreted Dove Cottage and two new outdoor spaces) alongside an extensive programme of engagement and activities in Cumbria and beyond.

The Wordsworth Trust is also committed to embracing the Creative Case for Diversity in all that we do. We believe that by welcoming a wide range of influences, practices and perspectives, we can better understand our own collection and the stories it can tell, thereby enriching our public programmes. The purpose of this Fellowship is to help us achieve just that – to examine our collection from a different perspective, and to use that perspective and knowledge to help an audience of your choice better understand and engage with Wordsworth’s life and work. We are open to discussing what form this might take (a workshop, or online activity, for example) and what would work best for the audience you choose. The impact of this Fellowship will be substantial, not only in helping us shape the direction of our public programmes, but it also has the potential to foster positive in change the way people see Wordsworth, the world and themselves.

You will receive advice and training from the Collections and Learning team, led by Jeff Cowton (Curator and Head of Learning). The activity could be delivered within a workshop setting, or online – or whatever you think works best for the audience in question. There will also be opportunities to develop your own research.

We welcome applications from anyone whose research interests will help us to re-imagine Wordsworth and to embrace the Creative Case for Diversity. We particularly welcome applications from candidates that are under-represented, including candidates from low-income backgrounds, and/or candidates with disabilities (we are happy to discuss any reasonable adjustments that we can make).

The Fellowship provides on-site self-catering accommodation for one month; we would prefer the residency to take place between January and March 2019. The Fellowship also provides £100 towards travel expenses. All applicants must be members of BARS.

Application procedure: on no more than two sides of A4, provide your name, email contact details, institutional affiliation (if relevant), current employment status, a brief biographical note, a description of your PhD thesis, details of the proposed research and audience based activity, and preferred period of residence (from November 2019 to the end of March 2020). The successful applicant will show enthusiasm for audience engagement and for exploring Wordsworth’s life and work in new ways, demonstrated in initial ideas of their proposed project.

Send the application as an attached Word file to Jeff Cowton (J.Cowton@wordsworth.org.uk) and  Dr Jennifer Orr (Jennifer.orr@ncl.ac.uk) no later than 31 October 2019. The successful candidate will be informed within two weeks.

The Fifteenth Annual Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science

The fifteenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science

University of Sheffield

Wednesday 15 April until Friday 17 April 2020.

Keynote speakers will be Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Oxford), Professor Martin Willis (Cardiff), and Professor Angela Wright (Sheffield).

The BSLS invites proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three papers, or special roundtables on any subjects within the field of science (including medicine and technology), and literatures in the broadest sense, including theatre, film, and television.

The conference will include a visit to the Alfred Denny Zoological Museum(pictured), and the Turner Museum of Glass will host a keynote lecture and the wine reception.

Please send an abstract (200 words) and short biographical note (50 words) to Katherine Ebury and Helena Ifill at shefbsls2020@gmail.com by no later than 18.00 GMT on Thursday 12th of December. Please include the abstract and biographical note in the body of the email.

The conference fee will be waived for two graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these awards, please mention this when sending in your proposal. To qualify you will need to be registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the conference.

Information concerning registration fees and local hotels will be forthcoming.

Membership:

Conference delegates will need to register/renew as members of the BSLS. Annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged.

2020 BCLA Triennial Conference on Randomness

Randomness CfP

Queen’s University Belfast

15-17 September 2020

Keywords: Accidental, arbitrary, incidental, slapdash, hit-or-miss, unplanned, unintended (e.g. consequences), unexpected, unanticipated, unpredictable, contingent, volatility, excitement, wonder, fantasy, imagination, creativity, serendipity.

Chance encounters, unforeseen opportunities, and impulsive decisions play a bigger role in our life and work than we wish to acknowledge. Is reading not always random to some extent? It is only retrospectively, in shifting scale from the individual to social or perspective from reading to interpreting, that randomness becomes regularity and can get explained away as purpose and design.

Randomness and chance play a leading role in historical accounts, in narratives of war and battles, victory and defeat, in biographies and travelogues, in narratives of arrivals, encounters and departures. They resurface in stories, setting characters onto a course or hurtling them into the great unknown, towards their fate. People’s bookshelves, readers’ memories, and second-hand bookshops can produce a similar, puzzling – even dizzying – sense of randomness.

Fortunes of literary works and theory are not immune to the dictates of chance. What are the forces that get literary works published, translated, circulated locally or internationally, and nominated for and winning literary prizes? When do managed search algorithms fail and serendipitous connections appear? How do chance encounters with a literary work, a theory, or lead to translations or adaptations, new creative adventures, or additional and alternative theories?

Artists and writers can be more comfortable with randomness than scholars; they break away from the space of the familiar and the already-known and place trust in the process of the work itself. Critics are driven by institutional pressures to present their work as an execution of purpose, design and method. But randomness persists even in grand geo-political schemes. Randomness overcomes censorship and solutions are always found to circulate books without the support of publishers or the state. Randomness happens despite control, and may be the more attractive for it. It is often random finds that are the most treasured with a sense of delight. Random encounters excite imagination and creativity.

Randomness is also openness; it stands more often at beginnings and turns of the road of many literary and critical careers. How do we cultivate a sense of wonder and open up our critical discourses and theories of comparative literature and world literature to more inclusive and elastic modes of thinking and writing? Can we use randomness in and outside texts and oeuvres productively, to our advantage?

We seek panels that will work with the idea of randomness, particularly in relation to:

  • Encounters with literary works, theories and cultural others
  • Adaptations, new writings, performances, visualizations within the same literary/cultural field, or outside.
  • Representing randomness through visualisations and digital interfaces.
  • Multilingualism, heterolingualism, plurilingualism, translanguaging
  • Performance, performativity
  • Politics of the literary/cultural market, including publication, translation, circulation, literary prizes and literary festivals (and book fairs)
  • Critiquing randomness in the age of search algorithms
  • Unpredictable futures
  • Ecocritical approaches to randomness and unpredictability
  • Translation and translation studies, choice of work and language, choice of method and style
  • Theories and Methods of Comparative Literature and World Literature

Deadlines: 15 November 2019 for Panel proposals and 15 December 2019 for Paper proposals.

Submit your proposal to: randomness2020bcla@gmail.com or through the conference website https://randomness2020.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/.