Tag Archives: University of Kent

CFP: Play, Recreation, and Experimentation (Kent)

‘Play, Recreation, and Experimentation: Literature and the Arts since the Early Modern Times’, 8-9 Dec 2017, University of Kent, Canterbury.

Invited speakers: Professor Peter Dayan (Edinburgh), Professor Ulrike Zitzlsperger (Exeter), Dr Thomas Karshan (UEA)

This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore relations between play, recreation, and experimentation by examining their articulations in literature and the arts (broadly understood as the visual arts, architecture, music/sound art, film) from the early modern period to now. There are many instances of engagement with the ludic and experimentation, e.g. early modern literature on the theme of playing with appearances (being and seeming); Duchamp’s Fontaine; Dada and Surrealist practices including cadavre exquis, collage, bricolage; Oulipo and pataphysics; postmodern pastiches and hybridity in architecture, and re-inventions of myth and history in contemporary fiction. Nevertheless, we intend to shed new light on these works and probe their implications for a theory of the ludic through considering the interactions and dialogues between play, recreation, and experimentation. The broad chronological and disciplinary scope is meant to accommodate to the comparative and intermedial perspective that this topic involves.

In recent years there has been increasing attention paid to the question of play and recreative practices and emphasis on their importance, as evidenced by studies in literature, critical theory, classics, philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, cognitive and life sciences, education, and digital humanities. Nevertheless, play and recreation have not been sufficiently examined in the fields of literature and the creative arts, nor in specific connection to the important notions of experimentation and novelty. On the other hand, since Huizinga’s groundbreaking study Homo Ludens (1938) and Spariosu’s The Wreath of Wild Olive (1997), it has also become a truism to say that all literature and art are play. But to say everything is play is not to say much about play and the creative arts at all. There is the need for more specific and deeper examination that refines the characteristics and problematics of play and recreation within literature and art. This is what this conference purports to do by considering the following research questions, with the aims of revealing new and diverse ways of understanding the ludic and experimentation, and revise our conceptual frameworks about play, literature and the arts.

  • How to understand the playful in literature and the arts? Does it involve certain ludic modes of writing and of designing artworks, or does it lie rather in the audience’s reception and context of an artwork?
  • Is play a type of behaviour or intentionality, and how is it articulated in literature and artworks?
  • How may the perspective of ‘recreation’ shed new light on literary and artistic practices? – firstly, in the sense of how recreative and leisure activities may relate to the production of literature, art, and architectural space; secondly, in the sense of how literature and artworks re-create an existing canon, past experience, an original context and/or language through re-invention, appropriation, or re-performance?
  • Although experimental writing and art typically connote modernism and the avant-garde, is experimentation something that is also very present in other periods and styles? Does the raison d’être of experimental play lie in the pleasure and shock of the new?
  • Does being experimental necessarily involve a playful mode of engaging with literature and the arts, – a mode in which one is prepared for risk and failure (i.e. losing the game)? What happens when playing with or at something relates to the attempt to try something new without complete commitment? Should this affect how ludic works are critically judged, i.e. the artwork not as end-product but as attempts at and processes of creation?
  • Do experimental works tend to involve an interplay of different media? Is intermediality a ludic principle by nature? What about the evocation of another medium by use of only one medium (e.g. imagic poetry)?

Proposals are invited for papers addressing (but not limited to) the following themes:

  • ludic language, writing and its techniques and characteristics;
  • theoretical discussions on the notion of play, the ludic, laughter, ludic aesthetics, the pleasure and shock that results from experimentation;
  • recreative activities, leisure, and experimentation in literary writing, artistic practices, and spatial organisation;
  • re-creation in the sense of re-invention, revitalisation, adaptation, appropriation, translation and trans-lingual practices, performance, hybrid genres in play;
  • relations between play and experimentation, pleasure and novelty, risk and failure in experimentation;
  • appearance, superficiality, and play: playing with appearances, masquerade, imitation; different literary forms such as satire, parody, pastiche; experimenting with the new and dilettantism;
  • intermediality and play: play between the senses, language, and abstract thought; different modes of play in different media and mixed media; games in literature and visual arts.

We encourage submissions that engage with creative output in European modern languages and culture, and comparative discussions between European and non-European literatures and arts.

Proposals for 20-min papers (maximum 300-word abstract) and a short biography of the author with his/her affiliation and contact details should be sent to the conference organisers Dr Xiaofan Amy Li (Kent) and Dr Helena Taylor (Exeter) at playconference2017@gmail.com by midnight (UK time) 31 July 2017.

Organised collaboratively between the University of Kent and the University of Exeter, with the support of the MHRA conference award.

CFP: Skepsi, ‘Borders’

Skepsi: Call for Articles, ‘Borders’

Skepsi is an online interdisciplinary peer reviewed research journal, now in its ninth year, run by postgraduate students of the University of Kent’s School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) and funded by the University of Kent.

Following the recent success of our interdisciplinary conference on ‘Borders’, held at the University of Kent in May 2016, we are calling for contributions on the same theme to a future issue of Skepsi to be published summer 2017.

Thor Heyerdahl, widely known for his Kon-Tiki expedition, is said to have once remarked, ‘Borders? I have never seen one, but I have heard that they exist in the mind of some people’. Arguably, Heyerdahl might be mistaken for questioning the existence of borders, yet his statement nonetheless draws attention to some highly interesting and controversial questions: What exactly are borders and on what necessary, legal and ethical grounds do we build them — and where? These questions seem particularly relevant today, as the European Union is facing the so-called migrant ‘crisis’, and with Daesh’s auto-proclamation of an Islamic State.

It is, thus, not surprising that academic interest in borders is on the increase. Over the last decades the topic has been developing into a new interdisciplinary field of research drawing together scholars from the social sciences and humanities. Border studies notably look at the historical, anthropological, sociological, and geopolitical aspects of borders ‘in the quest to understand the changing nature of territory, power, governance, and identity within both national and more global frames of reference’ (Wilson & Donnan: 20–21).

Topics may include but are not limited to:

 European Borders and the Refugee Crisis

 Shifting Borders, Territory and Partition

 The Frontier

 Security and Conflict

 Globalisation vs. National State

 Colonialism and New Imperialism

 Mobility, Migration and Multicultural Societies

 Borders and (national/sexual/racial) Identity

 Performativity

 Crossing Borders

 The Impact of Borders on Literature and their Literary Representation

 The Representation of Borders in the Arts

 Borders and Language(s)

 Physical Boundaries and the Self

 Psychological Aspects of Borders and Boundaries

Submissions are invited from academic staff, postgraduate students and independent scholars. Articles will be selected by the Board after peer review and published in a forthcoming issue of the journal, to be published in summer 2017.

Articles, which should not exceed 6,000 words, should be sent together with an abstract of about 250 words and brief biographical details about the author to: skepsi@kent.ac.uk

The deadline for submission is 31 October 2016.

Skepsi is an online interdisciplinary peer reviewed research journal, now in its ninth year, run by postgraduate students of the University of Kent’s School of European Culture and Languages and funded by the University of Kent.


Skepsi Call for Peer Reviewers

Skepsi is currently looking for peer reviewers in the fields of the humanities and the social sciences.

All of the articles submitted to Skepsi are double-blind peer reviewed (the peer review will be blind both for the author and the peer-reviewer). Peer reviewers read and give anonymous feedback on the style, presentation, originality, scholarly merits, of the academic articles in their field of study.

The peer reviewing system guarantees the quality and the originality of the material published in the journal.

For more details on becoming a peer reviewer, please see the page here.

CFP: Samuel Beckett and World Literature

Samuel Beckett and World Literature 

4 – 5 May 2016, University of Kent


Stanley E. Gontarski, Florida State University

Fábio de Souza Andrade, University of São Paulo

Almost unknown before the première of En attendant Godot in 1953, the immediate success of the play led to Samuel Beckett very quickly acquiring an international reputation. Since then, his works have been translated into numerous languages, and have exerted a considerable influence upon art and literature across the world. The award of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 confirmed Beckett’s status as a major figure in world literature.

However, while there is no doubt that his oeuvre lends itself to translation and adaptation, Beckett’s concern with directorial and verbal precision cautions against misappropriation, notwithstanding the seemingly decontextualised nature of his postwar writings. Moreover, in light of his global dissemination, Beckett’s commitment to ‘impotence’, ‘ignorance’, and ‘impoverishment’ takes on a new meaning. Despite the prevailing tendency to consider Beckett as an absurdist, his works resist being circumscribed by any literary and aesthetic category, and perhaps for this very reason have flourished in cultures very different from the one in which they originated.

So what is it in his writings that enables this global circulation? In what ways is Beckett culturally reciprocated and refracted? How do nation and nationality figure in his writings? These are some of the many questions that arise when considering Beckett as amongst the foremost figures of world literature today.

This international conference is designed to address the questions of Beckett as a figure of world literature and world literature as figured in Beckett. We would like to invite papers, presentations, and performances from students, academics, artists and fellow enthusiasts on the following topics, although participants should not consider themselves restricted by these:

  • Beckett’s influence, reception and circulation across disciplines
  • Rethinking global modernism in the light of his works
  • Beckett as a self-translator and studies of Beckett in translation
  • Cinematographic and theatrical adaptations of Beckett’s plays
  • The intercultural, sociological, and political dissemination of Beckett’s work
  • Beckett and global contemporary criticism and theory
  • Reappraising Beckettian motifs through appropriations and relocations
  • Teaching Beckett as part of international French and English curriculums
  • Beckett and the literary field
  • Retracing publication and translation trajectories
  • Beckett’s circulation in the digital world

Abstracts and proposals of no more than 300 words are invited by 15 February 2016. Please e-mail submissions to beckettworldlit@kent.ac.uk, along with a short bio. Please also use this email address if you wish to contact the organisers with any queries. Additionally, please visit the website and Facebook for latest updates.

‘Environments: Landscape and the Minds’: Postgraduate Conference at Goldsmiths

Environments Landscapes and the Mind ImagePostgraduate students based at Goldsmiths, University of London,University of Essex and the University of Kent will be organising a conference entitled ‘Environments: Landscape and the Minds’ on 19 June 2015 at Goldsmiths, University of London. The interdisciplinary conference is sponsored by CHASE.

Abstracts for 20-minute papers, short creative pieces, and readings from postgraduate students on the connections between landscapes, society, and self are invited. Deadline for abstracts is 12 April 2015.

See the call for papers for details.

‘Found in Translation’: Postgraduate Conference

Organised by a group of postgraduates at the University of Kent and the University of Sussex,  Found in Translation is a one-day conference aimed at postgraduate students of Literature and related disciplines from CHASE-affiliated institutions. The aim is to explore the broad theme of translation.

The conference, which will take place on 30 May 2014 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, features two parallel panels concluding with a keynote by Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalán from the University of Kent.

Visit the website for details.