Friday, 7 Sep. 2012


Annual International Conference of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures

Ustroń, Poland, 20-23 September 2012

Call For Papers

Download CFP as a PDF file

Although generally resented and deemed unfavourable for individuals, societies and nations, grief, grievance, and grieving, along with a complex list of epithets that could in various situations, under varying circumstances, accompany them – racial grief, political grievance, protracted grieving, chronic grief, traumatic, unresolved grievance – nevertheless occupy a notorious place in culture and its manifestations in literature, art, history, science, or politics.

Published in IECL Conferences

International Conference

Organised by
the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia
and the Committee on Literature Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
22 - 25 September 2010
Ustroń, Poland
Published in IECL Conferences

Call for Papers

Sense, Sensibility, and Sensation

Szczyrk, May 19-22 2010

The conference is devoted to the category of sensation, which appears in English literature in the second half of the nineteenth century as a form of counter-culture movement directed against the obtaining and commonly accepted realistic conventions in fiction. Our considerations will chiefly concern the specific qualities of sensationalist fictions (conceived as a progeny of Gothic/terror/romantic fiction and a precursor of the detective genre), its generic variants and representatives (individual works and authors), and its subsequent permutations (including e.g., horror/suspense in fiction and film). One of the major cultural connotations of sensationalism to take into account is the problematic connection between late-Victorian “low” sensationalism and eighteenth-century “high” sentimentalism and sensibility (coded as noble openness to sense impressions). The phenomenon of sensational fiction became, in the context of its emergence in the nineteenth century, a pretext to debate the relation, not only between low and high culture, but also between the senses and the intellect. Warmly invited are also contributions that will tackle the connections (but also discontinuities and oppositions) between the philosophically forged meanings of the key terms (e.g., the Lockean definition of sensation) and those new meanings which they acquired (also, have acquired very recently) when employed to describe and critique issues of literary practice and literary theory.

Conference organised by

Małgorzata Nitka
Jacek Mydla

with the help of

Karolina Lebek
Mirosław Droń

Published in IECL Conferences

Call for Papers

The Surplus of Culture: Sense, Common-Sense, Non-Sense 

September 16th-19th, 2009

Ustroń, Poland

This conference is designed as a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue on the cultural and literary aspects of Sense (and meaning, as in philosophy), Common-Sense (and everyday life or the quotidian or just ordinary) and Non-Sense (as in the discourse on the absurd, meaningless, the comical, the funny, etc). Culture and literature have always been most inspiring sites to address the idea of the sens-ical or the sens-uous, the common-sens-ical (ambiguous as the word “sense” can be) and the non-sensical which, from medieval times or the Renaissance to the present, have been ubiquitous in discourse. The conference debates will circle round but will not be limited to the following questions: What knowledge is necessary for the reader to bring to the text to understand its sense/meaning? In what ways may the meaning of the text be regarded as stable (unstable)?  What are full evaluative arguments that assess the works of art, in a broad sense: formal, literary, moral, aesthetic, etc? What is the sense of the work of art as opposed to or concurrent with its meaning? What is the unique sense of the work of art if at all? What is the source of sense?

The (non)sensical will address topsy-turvyness, absurdity, theories of humor, humor and cultural differences, humor and art of translation, riddles, children’s humor, multivalence, word games in literature, the grotesque, parody, satire, the carnivalesque, the effect of nonsense caused by an excess of meaning, etc. What are the forms of nonsense writing in various genres or types of literature such as romantic verse, travel writing, short story, lyric poetry, natural history, journalism, to name a few? Is nonsense funny because it does not make sense, or because of various techniques and devices that are employed in this type of writing?  What is the absurd, the nonsensical and the exaggerated? Why are philosophers and linguists fascinated with nonsense?

Common sense is often juxtaposed with reasoning and rationality; the commonsensical and the rational are defined as “two distinctive features of the common cognitive architecture” (Renee Elio). As Barry Smith puts it,  “Common sense is on the one hand a certain set of processes of natural cognition - of speaking, reasoning, seeing, and so on. On the other hand, common sense is a system of beliefs or the world of objects to which the processes of natural cognition and the corresponding belief-contents standardly relate”. For the Catholic apologist, John Henry Newman, in his Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, common sense is vital to the Illative Sense, “the power of judging and concluding, when in its perfection.”

The conference debates will address all of the aforementioned issues and many others to inquire into the sense/common-sense (or non-sense) of contemporary literary and cultural studies, whether European, American, Afro-American, Asian, Asian-American, Australian, Caribbean, New Zealander and others, the presentation of which will be most welcome.

We invite a wide range of voices, historical, critical and theoretical papers that will address the above aspects (in a narrow or broad sense of the terms). The conference portions will be inaugurated by plenary lectures followed by papers no more than twenty minutes in length to be presented in concurrent sessions (each session featuring three papers).

Prof. dr. hab. Ewa Borkowska
Institute of English Cultures and Literatures (IECL)
Department of Philology
University of Silesia
ul. Gen. Grota-Roweckiego 5
41-205 Sosnowiec
Tel. +48 32 3640 892 (804)

Please forward 300-word abstracts, including title, professional affiliation, addresses (especially e-mail), phone number, and audio-video requirements by April 30, 2009. Electronic submissions are highly encouraged. Papers should be delivered in English.

Send proposals as a MS Word attachment to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download the Call For Papers as a PDF document here

Published in IECL Conferences

Szczyrk, 20-23 maja 2009

Call for papers

Are we here, perhaps, for saying: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, jug, fruit-tree, window –
at most: column, tower [...].

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Ninth Duino Elegy

A thing to notice about the etymology of Latin ab-strahere (from where abstractio originates) is its connection with ab-sentio, close in turn to the idea of ‘departing from sense’.

The main focus of the conference is the reality – the realness – of objects / concretes / particulars; the contribution of those to the maintenance of sense otherwise lost; a vital part objects / concretes / particulars play in the processes of meaning construction. That is not an attempt to enhance crude materialism but rather a way to notice the value of the apparently secondary substratum of sense, whose exclusion does endanger the overall coherence of whatever man wishes to say or produce.

Objects, concretes, particulars in themselves signify a whole spectrum of meanings, eg

  • the physical (and / or material, bodily),
  • the personal (and / or individual, unique),
  • the specific (and / or adequate, precise),

whose distinct nature should be recognised and respected.

* As usual, a ‘work in progress’ session is planned.

the Conference Organizers
Marta Zając
Agnieszka Kliś
Eliene Mąka-Poulain

Published in IECL Conferences
Monday, 7 Apr. 2008


International Conference organized by

the Institute of British and American Literature and Culture of University of Silesia

Ustroń, Poland, September 18 – 21, 2008

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“I think most of our lives are made up of both things visible and things interior, with a large chunk of them being interior,” Stephen Dunn has claimed. This, obviously, does not concern our lives only, but also the world around us, in which almost every thing seems to have its other life, the inner one, pulsating in its veins. Just because of their invisibility or infinitesimality, the interiors elude quantification, although their influence may be experienced acutely.  For the same reasons, and perhaps also because of their multitude of meanings, they constitute a difficult theme to explore. Therefore we invite you to attend the INTERIORS conference organized by the Institute of British and American Literature and Culture of University of Silesia to be held in Ustroń, Poland, September 18 – 21, 2008.

Program committee members Dr. Sonia Front and Dr. Katarzyna Nowak welcome proposals for panels and 20 minute papers from scholars working in all areas of literary and cultural studies.

We have the honor to announce that Prof. Ali Behdad, Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at University of California, Los Angeles, and Prof. Geoffrey Davis, Chair of European Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies at University of Aachen will deliver plenary lectures.

In keeping with the conference’s theme, individual paper proposals may want to address the following issues:

  • Postcolonial/ postmodern/ deconstructive/ psychoanalytical/ feminist reading of the theme
  • Gendered/ raced/ ethnic interiors and exteriors
  • Geographical/spatial interiority as informative of literary/ film  landscapes
  • Inclusion and internalization, expulsion and abjection as literary and cultural themes
  • Architecture of human body – interiors in anatomical sense
  • Remembering and forgetting as internalizing experience
  • Mental/ psychical inner space
  • The patterns of interior explorations/ journeys
  • Diasporas, homelands, migrations, exile
  • Aberrations/ collapse/ revision of spatial and temporal divisions between the internal and external
  • Interiors in cityscape/ landscape
  • Inner/ interstitial/ private space
  • Ways of employing one’s inner space to express oneself and one’s world/ beliefs/ emotions/ thoughts

Please forward 300-word abstracts, including title, professional affiliation, addresses (especially e-mail), phone number, and AV requirements by March 31, 2008. Electronic submissions are highly encouraged. Papers should be delivered in English. Send proposals as a MS Word attachment toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

You can download the Call For Papers here in the PDF format. We warmly encourage you to distribute the CFP to any of your colleagues who might be interested in participating. Thank you.

Published in IECL Conferences

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Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
ul. Gen. S. Grota-Roweckiego 5
41-205 Sosnowiec