The Institute of English Cultures and Literatures and H/Story Research Circle invite all to participate in the international conference


Sosnowiec, Poland, Nov. 23rd-24th 2018


The etymology of the word “emotion,” whose first use dates back to the sixteenth century, betrays the multiplicity of its meanings. Derived from the Middle French emouvoir (to stir up), it traces its origins back to the Latin emovēre (to remove or displace), which in turn comes from the Latin movēre (to move). The notion of movement, then, or a change of state, has always accompanied the way people conceptualise emotions. History is, similarly, a record of movement, fluidity, and volatility, and this approach is increasingly being extended to the study of humanity’s past, with emotion studies bringing increased sensitivity to historical, literary and cultural enquiries. Approaching emotions as “engines,” that is catalysts of past events and processes is, however, fraught with challenges. It is largely due to the fact that the roles of irrationality and emotionality as motivating elements in history and its narratives are not easy to determine and often elude scientific study due to their intimate and highly personal nature. Likewise the very thought that historical decisions affecting the lives of many might have been made under the capricious influence of somebody else’s emotional state fills us with dread. And yet, we suspect or perhaps even know that many events of both distant and not so distant past have been dictated by emotional disposition and moods of those who made them. If fear, hatred, desire, disgust, pity, envy, love and shame affect our individual choices, they might as well influence the decisions whose consequences go beyond one’s singular or communal experience. From the Ides of March, through the separation of the Church of England from Rome, to the role of the social media in the most recent presidential elections in the USA, emotions have shaped and influenced historic events giving rise to groundbreaking social and political changes.

23rd International Conference of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia in Katowice

Captive Minds: Norms, Normativities and the Forms of Tragic Protest in Literature and Cultural Practice
Hotel Meta Resort Vine Spa, Szczyrk, Poland
September 20, 2018 – September 23, 2018

 Although generally resented and deemed unfavourable for individuals, societies and nations, Murti-Bing was a Mongolian philosopher who had succeeded in producing an organic means of transporting a “philosophy of life.” This Murti-Bing “philosophy of life,” which constituted the strength of the Sino-Mongolian army, was contained in pills in an extremely condensed form. A man who used these pills changed completely. He became serene and happy. The problems he had struggled with until then suddenly appeared to be superficial and unimportant. He smiled indulgently at those who continued to worry about them. Most affected were all questions pertaining to unsolvable ontological difficulties. A man who swallowed Murti-Bing pills became impervious to any metaphysical concerns. […] More and more people took the Murti-Bing cure, and their resultant calm contrasted sharply with the nervousness of their environment. […] [O]nce tormented by philosophical “insatiety,” now entered the service of the new society. Instead of writing the dissonant music of former days, they composed marches and odes. Instead of painting abstractions as before, they turned out socially useful pictures. But since they could not rid themselves completely of their former personalities, they became schizophrenics.(Czesław Miłosz, The Captive Mind)

In a world transforming faster than ever before, a Murti-Bing pill would do wonders to those who painfully discover that their heretofore professed philosophy of life has unexpectedly become a burden: an obstacle standing in the way to “serenity and happiness.” In fact, the miraculous power of the pill is simple: whatever norms gain on momentum at a given moment of time, they immediately become one’s own. With serenity and happiness at stake, the choice not to take the pill is a choice between one’s own “insatiable,” unique self and one’s peace of mind, the tranquility of life and liberty not to judge success in life by the gauge of satisfaction. In a world transforming faster than ever, in which the Murti-Bing pills are available without prescription and advertised in all official media, the refusal to blend into the woodwork for the sake of the comfort of being “impervious to any metaphysical concerns” is nothing short of a tragic choice. Therefore, the 2018 edition of the International Conference of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures of the University of Silesia in Katowice aims at addressing one of the most elusive, albeit simultaneously most tangible aspects of our experience of being in the world. As a foundation and a product of grand narratives, norms apply to any and every aspect of individual, communal and social life. They regulate our behaviors, determine directions in the evolution of arts and philosophical ideas, condition intra- and cross-cultural understanding, organize hierarchies. Yet – when transformed into laws – norms become appropriated by dominant discourses becoming “truths.”  Those in control of language always construe them as “universal” and, as such, “transparent”. Those once tormented by philosophical “insatiety,” sharply aware of this, face a choice: a pill-induced schizophrenia which must eventually come, or even more catastrophic consequences of the tragic protest, which are most likely to ensue. Oppressive normativity and protest have always gone hand in hand. The 2018 International Conference of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, in a sense, is a product of the refusal to take the Murti-Bing pill.




CONFERENCE FEE: The conference fee amounts to 600 PLN (Polish Zloty), which is ca. 160 EURO,


A Conference Organized by the University of Silesia,  Poland  and the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada
April 26-28, 2017, University of Silesia, Sosnowiec campus

Indigenous Expressions of Culture in Storytelling, Drama, Theatre and Performance –Traditional and Contemporary Canadian and  Polish Upper Silesian Perspectives
Confirmed Speaker: Tomson Highway (Cree)

“Storytelling is at the  core of decolonizing,  because it is a process of remembering, visioning and creating a just reality […] [it] becomes a lens through which we can envision our way out of cognitive imperialism” (Simpson 89)

The first of the intended series of conferences dedicated to the exploration of the complexity of Indigenous cultures of North America and minor cultures of Eastern/Central Europe - is a joint project of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, Canadian Studies Centre, Department of American and Canadian Studies, Theatrum Research Group and the Centre for the Study of Minor Cultures at the University of Silesia (US), and the Department of English and Indigenous Affairs Office, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Canada.  As Canadian and Polish scholars and educators working in the fields of  Indigenous, minor, and transcultural literary and cultural studies, we propose that the first conference will explore the traditional and contemporary expressions of culture in Indigenous America,  specifically Canada, and in the Eastern/Central European territory of Upper Silesia, specifically Poland, with a primary focus on the  acts of resistance, survival and celebration of culture as enacted in storytelling, drama, theatre and performance (DTP). Performance is interpreted broadly including traditional and contemporary music and dance as well as festival events understood as modes of cultural storytelling. We envision the event as a meeting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars representing a variety of disciplines  and Indigenous Canadian and Upper Silesian storytellers, writers,  artists, performers,  educators and community members.

University of Silesia in Katowice
Faculty of Philology
Institute of English Cultures and Literatures

Sosnowiec, Poland, June 30th‒July 1st 2017


The significance of the body in the context of historical narratives has been paramount for the understanding of the contemporary human condition and of the past by which it has been shaped. Our perception of the body and the bodily, seen as both the object and the subject in and of history, has influenced our current understanding of both individual and collective narratives of the past, since, in the words of Donna McCormack, “[f]lesh is woven into history as both the bloody deaths necessary to achieve the desired goals and the skin on which it has become possible to write these new foundational narratives.”[1]

International Conference organised by the Department of Postcolonial Studies and Travel Literatures, Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland
Szczyrk, META Hotel, 20 – 23 September 2017

The Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia is happy to announce its upcoming conferenceL Fantastic Material(s): Things and the Workings of the Non-Real (7-8 July 2016). The conference Keynote Speakers are Mark Bould (UWE, Bristol, UK) and Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock (Central Michigan University, USA). Futher details and the CfP can be found on the conference’s website:


The Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia (Poland) and Love Research Network are happy to announce the CFP for the upcoming conference:

The Materiality of Love

The interest of love studies in the ways affection can be materialized has been reflected through various scholarly perspectives. Although material culture studies have given the issue less attention, there has recently been a revival of research into the intersection of materiality and love. The conference is seeking to reexamine love from the perspective of materiality studies, especially new materialism and object-oriented philosophy, to sparkle a debate on a relationship between love, objects and new forms of materializing affection. The conference aims to analyze the role of things and material culture in practicing and conceptualizing love. It intends to provide an insight into how materiality (in its broadest sense) impacts the understanding of love today (its meanings and practices), and reversely, how love contributes to the production and transformation of the material world.


HistoRISUS: Historie śmiechu / Śmiech [w] historii

Konferencja Instytutu Kultur i Literatur Anglojęzycznych
Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
21-22 listopada, 2014

Zachęcamy do odwiedzenia strony konferencji:

Zachęcamy do zapoznania się z zaproszeniem na konferenjcę (Call for Papers) - w języku polskim (PDF) oraz angielskim (PDF).

Styl Późny w Kulturze. Muzyka - Literatura - Sztuki wizualne.
Katowice, 17 - 19 listopada 2014 r.
Konferencja organizowana przez Katedrę Kompozycji Dyrygentury i Teorii Muzyki Akademii Muzycznej im. Karola Szymanowskiego w Katowicach oraz Instytut Kultur i Literatur Anglojęzycznych Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach.

Zapraszamy do pobrania Call for Papers (dokument PDF).

Ties and Knots. Bridges between Lands and Cultures International Conference

September, 18th – 19th 2014.


Zapraszamy do pobrania programu konferencji (dokument MS Word) oraz plakatu (PDF).

The Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia (Poland) is happy to announce a CFP for an upcoming international conference:

“The Popular Life of Things. Material Culture(s) and Popular Processes” to be held in Sosnowiec (Poland), 3-4 July 2014

In the preface to Les Mots et les choses (1966), a work on the relationship between discourse and things, Michel Foucault observes that “the fundamental codes of culture – those governing its language, its schemas of perception, its exchanges, its techniques, its values, the hierarchy of practices – establish for every man (…) the empirical orders with which he will be dealing and within which he will be at home.” A predominant cultural code today, popular culture, “offers” processes, mechanisms and representations which mediate the experience and uses of things, changing the ways we understand / approach materiality and engage with objects in our domestic, social and professional lives.

The theme of the conference focuses first and foremost on the maze-like structure of both the urban landscape and the net of relationships within that structure, drawing attention to the ubiquitous feeling of puzzlement that accompanies the journey through the urban labyrinth. It invites the speakers to consider the multiplicity of ways in which the city is imagined in literature, allowing for a vast variety of amazing visions of the urban landscape, but it also proposes a completely opposite type of relationship, in which it is the cityscape that can be read like a dense plot.

Download the CFP (PDF file)

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