Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Venue: Senate House Library, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Marking 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), London and Senate House Library in association with the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and Culturethèque, are organising a one-day conference.

With Shakespeare’s works being regarded (and thrust down people’s throats) as ‘universal classics’, it is perhaps not surprising that they have so often been staged across the Channel. The Bard is, in fact, the writer whose works are most frequently performed in France. Indeed, despite a fraught history owing to neo-classical hang-ups, today at least, ‘la langue de Molière’ regularly plays host to ‘la langue de Shakespeare’.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers that look at commentaries, translations, adaptations and productions of Shakespeare’s works in French contexts from the 17th century to the present day.

Topics may include but are not limited to Voltaire’s dubious attitude towards Shakespeare, Jean-François Ducis’s adaptations (including Macbeth minus the witches), Victor and François-Victor Hugo’s respective interests in the Bard, Peter and Irina Brook’s productions of his plays, Ariane Mnouchkine’s Les Shakespeare and very recent adaptations such as Vincent Macaigne’s Au moins j’aurai laisse un beau cadavre, in which Elsinore is turned into a blood-soaked bouncy castle.

Confirmed keynote speakers include: Florence March and Nathalie Vienne-Guérin (Université Paul Valéry).

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words, together with a brief biography (50 words) by 5 April 2016 to the convenor Dominic Glynn (IMLR, London) Decisions will be made by 12 April 2016.


The Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8NX

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 December 2016

Teaching and research in Modern Languages are conventionally structured in ways which appear to insist on national or linguistic specificity. Work on the transnational inevitably poses questions on the nature of the underlying framework of Modern Languages: whether the discipline should be construed and practised as the inquiry into separate national traditions or as the study of cultures and their interactions. These structures seem inadequate at a time when the study of cultures delimited by the concept of the nation/national identities is becoming more difficult to justify in a world increasingly defined by the transnational and translingual, and by the material and non-material pressures of globalization. Challenging the assumption that cultures are self-contained units that correspond to sharply defined national boundaries must become an essential part of all disciplinary fields and sub-fields that make up Modern Languages, as they seek to avoid the risk of methodological nationalism and of participating in the very structures that it is their purpose to critique. At the same time, how might the transnational acknowledge the residual pull of the nation as a potent, albeit porous, container of cultural identity, and broker of citizenship?

A great deal of research within Modern Languages is already, albeit often implicitly, concerned with the transnational dimension of culture. In so doing, it poses questions about language, translation and multilingualism; about the set of practices that make up a sense of location and of belonging to a geographically determined site; about the notions of temporality that obtain within cultures; about modes of understanding subjectivity and alterity. All these questions are of fundamental importance for the study not only of the contemporary world, and its likely future, but for the study of the past.

The aim of the conference is to explore how the ‘cultural’ and the ‘transcultural’ cannot be studied in isolation but rather need to be seen as part of a complex system of circulation which goes beyond national boundaries, canons or linguistic discreteness. The conference aims to bring together researchers who are working on the transnational across Modern Languages and whose work poses questions both on how we study culture and how we produce a version of Modern Languages that is fully respondent to practices of human mobility and cultural exchange.

250 word abstracts should be submitted by 30 April 2016 to Georgia Wall at:

Abstracts should follow this order:

author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) bibliography

Please specify in the subject of your email: ‘Transnational Modern Languages’.

We will acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in two weeks, you should assume we did not receive your proposal.

West African Literature and Thought in French: Translating Cultures

West African Literature and Thought in French: Translating Cultures

Friday 22 January 2016, British Library Conference Centre, 10-30-17.00

Some of the most important contemporary writing in French has emerged from West Africa. This event brings together authors (leading writer from the Côte d’Ivoire, Véronique Tadjo), publishers, translators and other specialists to explore topics including the history of the Francophone West African book as well as the complex processes of translation between oral and literary cultures, and across various other linguistic, historical and political contexts.

Event organized in partnership with the AHRC ‘Translating Cultures’ Theme and the Society for French Studies, with the support of the Institut français, in the context of the West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition.

Fuller information will follow in the New Year.  Please do pass this on to anyone who may be interested.



Interdisciplinary Symposium

University of Sheffield, Friday 6- Saturday 7 May, 2016

Supported by the AHRC ‘Translating Cultures’ theme, The Society for French Studies and the University of Sheffield, Dept of Geography

Georges Perec was one of the most inventive and original geographical writers of the twentieth century. His writing explores cities and streets; homes and apartments; conceptions of space and place; mathematical and textual spaces; imagined, utopian and dystopian spaces; time and the city; landscapes of memory and trauma; consumption and material culture; domestic spaces; everyday life, the everyday, the quotidian; ordinary and ‘infra-ordinary’ places.  Perec addressed methods of urban exploration and observation; classification, categorisation and taxonomy; spatial inventories and indexes; and geographical and ethnographic description.

This symposium explores Perec’s Geographies (his own geographical writing) and the wider body of geographical writings and other practices he inspired or speaks to, ranging from novels to travel books, architectural projects and urban expeditions: we call these Perecquian Geographies.

This event will bring together researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines including Geography, Architecture, French Studies, other Area and Cultural Studies, Town Planning and Architecture, and also engaging practitioners including landscape designers and artists with interests in Perecquian themes.

Readings and Keynotes:

  • Karl Whitney, author of Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin (Penguin)
  • David Matless, Nottingham University, author of The Regional Book (Uniformbooks)
  • Joanna Walsh, author of Hotel (Bloomsbury)
  • Derek Schilling, Johns Hopkins University, author of Mémoires du quotidien: les lieux de Perec (Septentrion)

Speakers Include:

  • Amanda Crawley-Jackson, Sheffield
  • Charles Forsdick, Liverpool
  • Matthew Gandy, Cambridge
  • Tim Edensor, Manchester Metropolitan
  • Alasdair Pettinger, Glasgow
  • Joanne Lee, Sheffield Hallam
  • Richard Phillips, Sheffield
  • Andrew Leak, UCL
  • Peter Jackson, Sheffield

There are also opportunities for additional contributors, either as presenters or discussants. Proposals for contributions are welcome now and until 12 February, 2016,  when the schedule will be confirmed. Registration early-bird rate £25 before 28 February, 2016. For expressions of interest, details of how to submit an abstract, register and pay, contact:

Richard Phillips

or Charles Forsdick

Borders and Crossings, Kielce, September 12-14, 2016

First Call for Papers

Borders and Crossings:

An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing

September 12-14, 2016

Hosted by the Jan Kochanowski University’s Department of Modern Languages (Kielce, Poland)

Conference language: English

Conference website:

Deadline for abstracts: May 1, 2016

Notification of acceptance: May 10, 2016

We invite all with an interest in the study of travel writing to the Borders and Crossings Conference.

Proposals for 20-minute papers and for full panels are sought from scholars working in all areas of travel writing, including literary studies, book history, geography, art history, translation studies, anthropology, history and media studies.

Paper proposals from any time period or geographic context are warmly welcome as are proposals from established scholars, early career researchers, graduate students and independent scholars.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of travel through Poland and Central/Eastern Europe
  • Travel writing and autobiography
  • Travel writing and intertextuality
  • Travel writing in translation
  • Travel writing and women
  • Representations of travel and the new media
  • Travel illustration and multimedia
  • Narratives of pilgrimage
  • New directions in travel writing research
  • Teaching travel writing
  • Writing travel and/in minoritised languages
  • Travel and ecology
  • Borders and checkpoints

Please send proposals of approximately 250 words for a single paper or up to 500 words for a panel proposal, complete with a short bio note and your academic affiliation to:

Magdalena Ożarska:


Agnieszka Szwach:


CFP: Turqueries et regards croisés entre l’Orient et l’Occident

Université d’Ankara
Faculté des Lettres

Colloque international organisé par le Département de Langue et Littérature françaises à l’occasion du 80ème anniversaire des études françaises à l’Université d’Ankara (1936-2016)

Turqueries et regards croisés entre l’Orient et l’Occident
12-13 mai 2016

A l’occasion du 80ème anniversaire des études françaises à la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université d’Ankara (1936-2016), le Département de Langue et Littérature françaises organise un colloque international.
Les Turqueries ou autrement dit le thème turc a joué un grand rôle dans la littérature et les arts (la peinture, la musique, le ballet, les objets décoratifs etc…) en France. Si les croisades ont mis en contact l’Orient musulman et l’Occident chrétien, la prise de Constantinople et la montée en puissance de l’Empire ottoman ont fait des Turcs ottomans le principal représentant de l’Orient en Occident. Pour les écrivains français le thème turc représentait l’altérité par excellence. Peu importait la véracité de l’image, la fiction française s’était emparée du Turc. Georges de Scudéry relate l’histoire du célèbre Ibrahim, vizir du sultan Soliman le magnifique dans Ibrahim ou l’illustre Bassa. Le grand Racine, si respectueux des règles classiques, ose contourner la tradition des sujets antiques en prétendant que “l’éloignement des pays répare en quelque sorte la trop grande proximité des temps” et crée sa tragédie intitulée Bajazet d’après le prince ottoman du même nom. A ne pas confondre avec le héros de l’opéra de Vivaldi, un autre Bajazet, le sultan vaincu par Tamerlan. Bien avant Molière, Rotrou fait parler ses personnages en turc dans sa pièce intitulée La Sœur. Molière reprendra ce procédé avec le succès que l’on connaît dans Le Bourgeois gentilhomme qui est la turquerie par excellence du 17ème siècle et qui combine non seulement des personnages turcs mais aussi la musique de Lully directement inspirée des sonorités turques, sans parler des costumes et des pas de danse à la turque. Ainsi, la mode est lancée par Molière pour se moquer des Turcs. D’autre part, grâce à la Bibliothèque orientale d’Herbelot l’érudition passe également par les Turqueries. Au 18ème siècle le thème turc se mêle de critique et de philosophie. Voltaire rapporte les paroles du vieux Turc d’Istanbul, il faut cultiver son jardin, sans cesser de condamner le fanatisme musulman. Les Turqueries se mêlent également de littérature licencieuse voire érotique. Au 19ème siècle les Turqueries se fondent dans l’Orientalisme et prennent des accents politiques. Peut-on dire que de nos jours la tradition des Turqueries continue, après avoir subi certes une certaine transformation ? Peut-on considérer La Pasión turca d’Antonio Gala ou Le Turquetto de Metin Arditi comme des turqueries contemporaines ?
Le but de ce colloque est de discuter les Turqueries dans tous ses états et de faire le bilan de la mode turque dans la littérature et les arts en France. Les Turqueries ouvriront également la voie à d’autres axes de réflexion :
-La relation entre le thème turc, l’imaginaire sur les Turcs et le voyage en Orient.
-La mode turque dans la littérature et les arts en Europe.
-L’apport des témoignages des envoyés officiels du gouvernement français en Turquie à la formation de l’image du Turc et de la mode turque dans la société française et le témoignage sur l’Europe des premiers voyageurs et officiers Turcs ottomans.
-Le thème français dans la littérature et les arts en Turquie (ottomane et républicaine).

Conférences plénières :
Metin Arditi, écrivain
Christine Peltre, professeur d’histoire de l’art à l’Université de Strasbourg

Langue de travail : français
Durée des interventions : 20 minutes
Les actes de ce colloque seront publiés par l’Université d’Ankara
Le voyage et le séjour sont à la charge des participants
Une excursion en Cappadoce sera organisée à la demande des participants le 14 mai 2016

Les intitulés des propositions accompagnés d’un résumé de 300 mots au maximum et d’une notice bio-bibliographique de l’intervenant doivent être envoyés avant le 15 janvier 2016 à  l’adresse suivante:


Call for papers: ‘Language Learning and Ethnographic Fieldwork’

Call for Papers

Two-day Workshop: Language Learning and Ethnographic Fieldwork

 University of Glasgow, Scotland

11-12 April 2016

For many researchers, learning a new language or working in a second or additional language is a crucial aspect of carrying out ethnographic fieldwork. Language learning and ‘competence’ affect all aspects of our lives ‘in the field’, as well as the analysis and ‘writing up’ of the fieldwork data, but we often do not document these influences in detail in our fieldnotes or include an analysis of their effects in our published work. Whilst we might have completed some language learning prior to fieldwork, the likelihood is that we were not taught in doctoral or other forms of research training how to reflect on the process of language learning or on issues relate to working in one or more other languages. These matters are also rarely addressed in the scholarly literature on ethnographic research. Similarly, the scholarly literature on ethnographic research contains very few detailed accounts of language learning or reflections on issues relating to ‘competence’ in a second or additional language.

This two-day workshop aims to provide an opportunity for researchers at all career stages to discuss a wide range of issues relating to language learning and ethnographic fieldwork. We welcome submissions on any aspect of the topic, but we would be particularly interested in papers addressing one or more of the following questions:

  • How can we reflect in an in-depth, systematic way on issues relating to language learning and ‘competence’ in ethnographic fieldwork?
  • What kinds of issues (epistemological, methodological, conceptual, theoretical) arise when researchers conduct ethnographic research in a language that is not their ‘first’ language, and what are the implications of these at different stages of the research process?
  • What ‘strategies’ have we used at different stages of our language learning? Have these led to different stages of understanding ‘in the field’ that differ from the levels commonly talked about in theories of additional language acquisition?
  • How do our experiences of learning and using additional languages in fieldwork contexts relate to our position as researchers and to wider issues of power, inequality and privilege?

Please email an abstract of no more than 300 words by 30 November 2015 to all three organisers at the addresses below.

There is no fee to participate in the workshop. Financial support is available to cover the travel and accommodation costs of a limited number of ‘early career’ participants or participants without alternative sources of funding. Further information on this and any other aspect of the workshop is available from the organisers on request.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the AHRC Translating Cultures theme and the AHRC-funded project ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State’ for the workshop.

Workshop Organisers:

Dr Julien Danero Iglesias (University of Glasgow):

Dr Robert Gibb (University of Glasgow):

Dr Annabel Tremlett (University of Portsmouth):

Translating the Literature of Small European Nations

Excellent day yesterday in Bristol for the opening of the project conference of Translating the Literature of Small European Nations. The breadth and diversity of the programme, the range of languages addressed and the number of institutions from which speakers were drawn provided clear evidence of the importance of the chosen subject and the genuinely international interest it is attracting. I was particularly pleased to see that translation – as a concept and practice – brought together scholars working on a number of ‘lesser-taught’ languages, ranging from Catalan to Slovene, from Greek to Serbian, demonstrating the ways in which the future health of Modern Languages as a disciplinary field depends on the forging of such creative interactions around shared areas of enquiry and concern. The project to which the conference was linked was one of the ‘translating cultures’ innovation awards granted last summer. The original call invited applicants to reflect on the importance of the spaces, contexts, practices and agents of translation, whilst also exploring the the role of translation in processes of literary creation. These were topics explored by speakers from a variety of perspectives and in a number of different contexts.

An opening panel on theoretical approaches included papers by Marko Juvan on ‘World’ and ‘small’ Literatures, and questions of translation and transnational literary circulation in a Slovenian context; Josianne Mamo, on translation and multilingual writing (with the particularly striking example of Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s Bilingual Blues cited), and Ondřej Vimr, who gave a fascinating overview of questions of non-translation, the political dynamics of inter-war translation and bilateral cultural agreements, and supply-led as well as demand-led strategies of promulgating less translated literatures. A second panel on ‘Reaching the Market’ included: Paulina Drewniak’s analysis of translation, transmediality and the Polish example of Wiedźmin / The Witcher; Olivia Hellewell, on key actors in the Slovene literary translation market; and Richard Mansell, on how a Catalan literary translation gets to the market.

A session after lunch focused on ‘Poetry in Translation’: Ivana Hostová explored English translations of Slovak poetry; the poet and translator Stephen Watts presented his work on an archive of poetry translated into English; underlining the need to go beyond systems, statistics & economics to understand the circulation of poetry in translation, he described the creative collaborations to which poetry translation can lend itself; and Paschalis Nikolaou spoke about translation and re-translation of Cavafy, his ‘globalisation’ as a poet, and the ways in which his poetry has triggered other forms of creative translation. The final panel contained papers on ‘Exporting Literature’, with Şule Demirkol Ertürk analysing the role of publishers in re-contextualizing and legitimating literary translations, through the example of re/translations of Tanpınar’s Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü / The Time Regulation Institute; Gunilla Hermansson and Yvonne Leffler providing historical texture in a reflection on gender, genre and nations drawing on their current project Swedish Women Writers on Export in the Nineteenth Century, including fascinating discussion of the imagined translations of the Romantic poet Julia Nyberg; and Uroš Tomić and Milan Miljković reading Serbian culture in translation.

Delegates celebrated the work of a number of publishers – Francis Boutle Publishers, Istros Books and Shearsman Books – committed to the circulation of the literatures of small European nations in translation, and also addressed a number of factors, ranging from the ideologies of soft power to the commitment of individual translators, determining what gets translated and what does not. The day concluded with a discussion of contemporary translation practices and strategies, with a focus on questions of ‘readability’ and domestication, and an emphasis – echoing Stephen Watts’s earlier comments – on the benefits of collaborative, creative approaches.