Next week Monday (17 May, 1-2pm), join Eleni Philippou for the online book launch of her newly-published monograph, Speaking Politically: Adorno and Postcolonial Fiction. In this monograph Theodor Adorno’s philosophy engages with postcolonial texts and authors that emerge out of situations of political extremity – apartheid South Africa, war-torn Sri Lanka, Pinochet’s dictatorship, and the Greek military junta. For further details and to register, see here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/discussion-group-book-launch-speaking-politically-adorno-and-postcolonial-fiction.
EVENTS and CFPs
1.The 62nd Annual Conference of the Society for French Studies will now take place online and will be free to all paid-up members of SFS. See the message below from our President, Michael Syrotinski, and our website for more information: https://www.sfs.ac.uk/conferences/2021-annual-conference
As many of you are no doubt aware, we have taken the decision to organise this year's annual SFS conference as a virtual rather than physical event, for reasons that became increasingly irresistible over the course of the year. The conference was originally scheduled to be held at Queen's University, Belfast, and we look forward very much to being able to return to Belfast in person for 2022.
These have been extraordinarily challenging and difficult times, and all of us in French Studies, and in Modern Languages more broadly, are still coming to terms with the short and longer term impacts of the 'double whammy' of Brexit and Covid-19, and national and international politics more broadly. In light of these exceptional circumstances, we are more determined than ever to use this year's conference as a 'point de ralliement', an opportunity not only to reaffirm the values we all espouse and share, but to reach out to colleagues around the world. While we will all miss the buzz of the physical conference, I think it is fair to say we have been discovering unexpected side benefits to the virtual, not least the sheer global reach and accessibility it affords, and we see this year's conference as an opportunity to exploit those benefits to the full. Along with the usual high quality programme of sessions, workshops, poster displays, publisher exhibitions, and distinguished keynote talks, all transposed virtually, we plan to include a range of other events.
For this reason, we are hoping to make the conference affordable and accessible to all. A well planned and managed virtual event, which we intend SFS 2021 to be, will not be cost-free to the Society, but we would like to make this year's conference free to all paid-up members of SFS. Membership fees are currently £55 per annum (standard rate) and £27.50 per annum (reduced rate), with a further 10% reduction for those opting for a recurring subscription. Postgraduate (Graduate) students, unwaged or retired colleagues, and colleagues outside of the UK, Europe and North America are all eligible for the reduced rate. Membership includes a year's subscription to our internationally renowned Society publications, French Studies and the French Studies Bulletin, as well as an extensive range of benefits, access to our funding schemes, and other activities besides these subscriptions, which are outlined in more detail on our website https://www.sfs.ac.uk/about-us
We hope as many of you as possible will join us at the end of June, whether presenting or not, and can attend as much of the conference as your time permits. Please disseminate far and wide, including via networks and bulletin boards we may not be aware of. Registration instructions for the virtual conference and more detailed information about the event will be circulated shortly.
2. Open Library of Humanities Journal Special Collection: Call for Articles
The Pathological Body: European Literary and Cultural Perspectives in the Age of Modern Medicine
Since the birth of modern medicine in nineteenth-century Europe, its authority and influence has profoundly shaped society. Medical institutions in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin identified new forms of pathology, with ‘illnesses’ such as hysteria and degeneration becoming social concerns. Such disorders, diagnosed by usually male doctors, were inevitably entangled with politics and cultural biases which were consistent with a patriarchal society enforcing the boundaries of normativity. Since then, literature has absorbed the discourse of medicine, reworking and amplifying the meaning of wellness and sickness.
This Special Collection aims to examine society’s relationship with sickness through literature and language(s). Taking a European transnational and transhistorical approach, it will look closer at the politics of the body since the mid-nineteenth century. Contributions are welcome from across the Modern Languages: the emphasis is on what literary researchers within Modern Languages collectively can bring to Medical Humanities. All articles should be written in English and, for maximum accessibility, all foreign-language quotations will be given both in the original and in English.
This Collection has been inspired by the ‘Pathological Body’ conference hosted at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) in London in September 2019, generously funded by the Cassal Endowment Fund and the Society for French Studies. The ten speakers examined literature and film from five countries (Spain, France, Turkey, Italy, and Germany), and the panels focused on different aspects of the ‘pathological body’, encompassing ‘Nation and Body’, ‘Personae, Identity, Subjectivity’, and ‘Therapy and the Text’. It is the intention of this Collection to further expand the dialogue which arose from the event. More details are available on the conference website, and recordings of seven of the talks are available:
Suggested themes for articles include, but are not limited to:
Fin de siècle
Sacred and the religious
Illness and cure
Life and death
Initial informal queries are welcome. Please email abstracts and a short biography to:
Dr Kit Yee Wong
pathbodylit [at] gmail.com
The authors of selected abstracts will then be invited to submit their full article. Accepted articles which have passed peer review will be published on a rolling basis, when they are ready. Submissions should comprise:
- Abstract (250 words)
- Full-length article (8,000 words), inclusive of references and bibliography
- Author information (short biographical statement of 200 words)
The final deadline for submission for the articles is Wednesday 15 September 2021.
The Special Collection, edited by Dr Kit Yee Wong, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.
Submissions should be made online at https://olh.openlibhums.org/submissions/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as “THE PATHOLOGICAL BODY” SPECIAL COLLECTION. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.
To learn more about the Open Library of Humanities please visit:
3. A friendly reminder that the sixth annual postgraduate conference in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, organised by the University of Glasgow's School of Modern Languages and Cultures in collaboration with the Writing in Transit research cluster, is taking place virtually on Friday 14 May.
Registration is free: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sixth-annual-pg-conference-in-comparative-literature-translation-studies-tickets-149834626401
Our keynotes this year will be on the regeneration of Jewish culture in 1950s Glasgow (Dr. Mia Spiro, University of Glasgow) and 'prismatic' translations of Jane Eyre (Professor Matthew Reynolds, University of Oxford).
Our eight postgraduate research papers will focus on the following:
- The regeneration of Jewish tradition through graphic novels
- Translating Arabic poetry into Turkish
- The 'spectral' translation of ghosts in Virgina Woolf's To the Lighthouse
- Byron and the regeneration of Greece
- Exhaustion in early twentieth-century German literature
- Russian (re)translations of Oscar Wilde
- Jhumpa Lahiri and exophony
- Translating notions of being and existence in Arabic texts
We also have a range of posters and poster presentations, available to registered attendees, on the following research topics:
- Indian epics, from ancient to modern
- A comparative study of Indian comics written in Garhwali and English
- The concept of femininity in translations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Belonging, world literature and the refugee crisis
- Nineteenth-century women's travel writing on Transylvania
On behalf of the Regeneration conference committee, we hope to welcome many of you to the event on Friday.
4. Translating contemporary writing in Cameroon: reflections from recent workshops with Bakwa
Thursday, 20 May 2021
3.00pm - 4.30pm BST
Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation
Co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)
Speakers: Ruth Bush (University of Bristol), Madhu Krishnan (University of Bristol), Dzekashu MacViban (Bakwa) & Edwige Renée Dro (1949)
Ruth Bush is Senior Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research concerns African and Diasporic literary and cultural production, with a particular interest in material print cultures, translation, and decolonial practice. Her first book was Publishing Africa in French: Literary Institutions and Decolonization 1945–67 (LUP, 2016) and her next, Translation Imperatives, is forthcoming with CUP. She has published a history of New Beacon Books, the UK’s first radical black bookshop and publishing house; and co-produced an exhibition and digital resource about a pioneering Senegalese women’s magazine, Awa: la revue de la femme noire. She is currently working on two collaborative research projects: one about literary translation (with Cameroonian literary collective, Bakwa) and the other an ERC-funded project, 'The Creative Lives of African universities', with partners in Senegal, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Benin.
Madhu Krishnan is Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures at the University of Bristol, where she currently serves as Director for the Centre for Black Humanities. She is author of Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications (2014), Writing Spatiality in West Africa: Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone Novel (2018) and Contingent Canons: African Literature and the Politics of Location (2018). She is currently working on a five-year project funded by the ERC titled 'Literary Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Commons, Publics and Networks of Practice'.
Dzekashu MacViban is the founder of Bakwa Books and Bakwa Magazine. His fiction has appeared in Wasafiri, Kwani?, Jungle Jim, and elsewhere, and his writing has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish. He is the recipient of an Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship.
Edwige Renée Dro is a writer, a literary translator and a literary activist from Côte d’Ivoire. Her writings have been published by Bloomsbury, Harper Collins or in magazines like Popula, This is Africa, etc.
She has judged and facilitated many writing competitions such as the PEN International Short Story Prize, the AfroYoungAdult anthology project or the Bakwa Magazine Literary Translation workshops.
She strongly believes that arts and literature are the tools that can change a society for the better and in February this year, she set up 1949, a library of women’s writings from Africa and the black world. 1949’s mission is to unearth and shine the light upon the contributions of African and black women to the world in order to inspire present and future generations.
This free event will be held online, at 15:00 BST on Thursday 20 May 2021. Please note that you will need to register in advance to receive the online event joining link:
https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/23764 . UK time shown - don’t forget to check your local time.
5. The Asymptote Book Club is the only book club dedicated to world literature in translation that partners with top independent publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. The selected fiction it delivers monthly around the globe is curated by an award-winning team of Asymptote editors, featuring a wide variety of translators and source languages. It aims to inspire and challenge while keeping its readers up to date with the latest titles by both emerging voices and beloved authors. The Book Club is proudly endorsed by prominent literary figures like George Szirtes, Magistra Beck, Yann Martel, Dan Chiasson, and Stav Sherez, among others. Members get access to live Q&A sessions with authors and/or translators and benefit from an exclusive community space for discussions. Flexible subscription options and group discounts are available. Sign up details and more information are available here:
6. Rabelais's 'Radical' Farce Reconsidered: What did Dindenault do to Deserve This!?
8 June 2021
Speaker: Zak Eastop (IMLR)
As part of a wider project exploring the character Panurge’s long-nineteenth-century musico-theatrical primacy, the seminar will re-examine the ovine-oriented episodes of François Rabelais’s Quart Livre. In these chapters (V-VIII), Panurge tosses an overpriced sheep into the sea causing its entire flock to leap to their deaths, dragging their loud-mouthed shepherd Dindenault with them. By situating the episode within a late-Medieval farcical genre paradigm (though one dislocated from its popular roots by Rabelais’s appropriation) in which transgressing societal norms – being guilty of démesure – is met with degrading punishment, Rabelais uses Dindenault, his sheep, and their murder, to restate and reinforce socio-economic hierarchies. In this context, Dindenault’s drowning constitutes a farcical punishment, handed down by Panurge for transgressing the socio-economic status quo by attempting to pass his ‘moutons à la grande laine’ off as luxury goods and take part in a trade from which the rural poor were economically precluded. Thus, it is not just the instantly recognisable reference to les moutons de Panurge – the French idiomatic equivalent of English ‘lemmings’ – which contribute to the scene’s persistence on the musico-theatrical stage of the long-nineteenth century, but the scene’s socio-economic critique as well.
All are welcome to attend this free online event, starting at 12:00 BST. You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link: https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/24401
7. The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London cordially invites you to its Lecture Series 20/21 on “Critiquing Violence Today”:
The Promise of Decline: Race and the Rhetoric of Historical Pessimism in the Interwar Years
Donna Jones (Berkeley)
Monday, 17 May 2021
(To register please visit https://gold-ac-uk.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G5SHSXsMQgenm_PsYeYdeg)
Donna Jones is Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley and the author of The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism and Modernity (Columbia UP, 2010). She is currently working on two projects, The Ambiguous Promise of European Decline: Race and Historical Pessimism in the Era of the Great War and The Tribunal of Life: Reflections on Vitalism, Race and Biopolitics.