Tag Archives: Queen Mary University of London

Registration Open: The Life of Testimony Conference

Life of Testimony / Testimony of Lives: A Life-Writing Conference
Queen Mary University of London
5-6 May 2016

Confirmed Keynotes:

Professor Roger Woods (Nottingham University) on ‘Life Writing as culture and testimony’

Professor Paul Strohm (Columbia University) on ‘Testimonial truth’.

This conference aims to explore the notion of testimony as an idea that pervades the practice, reception and interpretation of life-writing across time periods, academic disciplines and literatures.

More information can be found on the conference webpage  and registration is now open  (The full registration fee is £35; the fee for students/concessions is £20.)

Untranslatability and the World Literature Debates

The George Steiner Lecture in Comparative Literature

“Untranslatability and the World Literature Debates” delivered by Professor Emily Apter of NYU

March 17 at 6:30pm, Arts Two Lecture Theatre
Mile End Campus
Queen Mary University of London

Following the publication of my book Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability in 2013, diverse responses emerged to the book’s critique of the political stakes of institutionalized World Literature or Weltliteratur refurbished for a globalized literary studies.  Many agreed that World Literature bolsters a neoliberal pluralism in the humanities curriculum (as well as international publishing), and questioned World Lit’s endorsement of translatability as a sign of global currency. But some were skeptical towards the idea that untranslatability or “non-translation studies” could provide a political counter-force. In this talk I will clarify how I define untranslatability and argue that untranslatables can do political work: 1) addressing the ambitions, limitations, and compromise-formations of World Literature; 2) activating terms through a kind of political philology; 3) taking stock of the heteronomy and non-belongingness of language within languages;  4) situating non-translation, non-equivalence, and incommensurability against economies of general equivalence; 5) generating new principles of a cosmopolitan right to untranslatability in situations of checkpointing and mass migration.


Emily Apter is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University.  She is the author, most recently, of Against World Literature: On The Politics of Untranslatability (2013) and The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), and has co-edited, with Jacques Lezra and Michael Wood, the English edition of the Vocabulaire européen des philosophies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles [Dictionary of Untranslatables:  A Philosophical Lexicon] (2014). Since 1998 she has edited the book series Translation/Transnation for Princeton University Press.

Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance via the link.

Life of Testimony / Testimony of Lives

Life of Testimony / Testimony of Lives

A Life-Writing Conference

Testimony evokes first and foremost legal connotations and images of the courtroom. In this context testimony is bound by strict procedural conventions and the act of testifying in a courtroom can incur actual legal consequences. Outside of the courtroom, however, life-writing (in its broadest sense) can serve as a form of testimony which, while not necessarily causing specific legal ramifications, presents a life’s experience for judgment by the public. This relationship between an idea of testimony and the practice of life-writing is twofold: on the one hand, authors of life-writing may have certain testimonial or confessional intentions and use writing as a way of bearing witness. Readers, on the other hand, may interpret various forms of life-writing as testimony even if the author’s intentions about recording their experience are unknown. The act of interpreting or employing life-writing as testimony thus demands ethical scrutiny from readers as well as scholars using such materials.

This conference aims to explore the notion of testimony as an idea that pervades the practice, reception and interpretation of life-writing across time periods, academic disciplines and literatures. We are interested in testimony as a broad concept, and hope to investigate its scope and impact as an interpretive lens through which the breadth of life-writing can be viewed. Not only does testimony bear witness to the lives of individuals, it takes on a life (and even an afterlife) of its own as it is read and reinterpreted throughout history.

Confirmed Keynotes: Professor Paul Strohm (Columbia University), Professor Roger Woods (Nottingham University).

Papers are invited from all scholars (including postgraduate students) across the fields of (comparative) literature, history, philosophy, art, cultural studies, religious studies, curation and conservation of archival material, memory studies, and film studies. Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The ethics of producing, reading and interpreting life-writing as a form of testimony
  • Stylistic, rhetorical and aesthetic dimensions of life-writing
  • The relationship between authors and readers of life-writing
  • Truth and subjectivity
  • The afterlife of testimony
  • The afterlife of testimony
  •  Images as testimony
  • Culture as testimony, eg. published diaries of Holocaust survivors
  • Persuasion and manipulation of and within life-writing sources
  • Persuasion and manipulation of and within life-writing sources
  • Instrumentalisation of life-writing for political purposes
  • Life-writing as (historical) evidence and the act of bearing witness
  • Life-writing and the law
  • Reappropriation and adaptation of life-writing in popular culture
  • History and the individual
  • Challenges and conditions of writing lives

The conference will be hosted at Queen Mary University of London (Arts Two lecture theatre) on 5 and 6 April 2016, the registration fee will be £35,-/£20,- (non-concession/concession).

Please submit a short abstract (c. 300 words) and a short bio (c. 100 words) to Lotte Fikkers and Melissa Schuh at lifeoftestimony@gmail.com by Sunday 17 January 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by 8 February 2016.

BCLA Postgraduate Conference: Grace in Literatures in English

BCLA Postgraduate Conference:  Grace in Literatures in English  19 June 2015, Queen Mary, University of London


The programme for the BCLA Postgraduate Conference: Grace in Literatures in English, which will take place on 19 June 2015 at Queen Mary, University of London, has now been announced. There will be two keynote lectures delivered by Dr Ita Mac Carthy, University of Birmingham and Dr Susan Jones, University of Oxford.

Download the programme or visit the website for details and registration.

Early Career Symposium: ‘National Boundaries in Early Modern Literary Studies’

A one-day, early career symposium, ‘National Boundaries in Early Modern Literary Studies’, organised in association with the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at Queen Mary University of London, will be held on Friday 18 September 2015. The day will consist of papers and panel discussions, a roundtable, and an opening address given by Professor Ingrid De Smet (FBA, University of Warwick).

The symposium is especially designed for early career researchers (including advanced postgrads) working in several disciplines (including English, Modern Languages and History) to reflect on challenges and opportunities for research in early modern European literary culture in different languages and that crosses national boundaries. A central aim is to give researchers working in different areas the chance to meet each other, make new contacts and exchange ideas.

Organisers welcome expressions of interest in speaking at the event (including giving a 15-20 minute paper). Deadline for proposals is 30 June 2015. Thanks to generous support from a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA), attendance is free, and lunch and refreshments will be provided. In order to attract researchers from across the country, the organizers are able to assist with travel expenses for participants travelling from outside London. Places are limited and will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis.

Visit the website for details and registration.