[Event] Multilingual Literatures: Interdisciplinary Conference, 17-19 July 2019, Wales


CFP Deadline: 31st December 2018
Conference: 17th-19th July 2019, Gregynog Hall, Wales.

Keynote Speakers
Professor Doris Sommer (Harvard)
Adhaf Soueif (Cairo/London)
Professor Carl Tighe (Derby)
Professor Daniel Williams (Swansea)

Knowledge of multiple languages was once common for most writers who chose their idiom according to the purpose of their text and its intended readership. It has been argued that it was only with the rise of the nation state in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its dependence on a unique Sprachgeist (Herder) that literary production came to be coupled to a national tongue (Anderson). In the current age of globalisation, knowledge of another language is increasingly rare among Anglophone writers, while in other parts of the world an ability to use English as a second language is a basic skill. In literary expression translated English genres and styles threaten to crowd out native or mother-tongue traditions (Mizumura), while English simultaneously absorbs outside influences and Anglophone readers shun translations.

This conference sets out to explore diverging trends across minor and major languages, especially those with an established presence in Europe with respect to individual authors or literary periods, extending from the Medieval to the contemporary.

It addresses the following questions:

How may we define such terms as ‘multilingual fiction’ or ‘multilingual poetry’ with respect to theory and / or practice?
In the modern era, how far do multilingual writers function as cultural intermediaries between states or language communities?
What roles can such writers play in periods of upheaval or conflict which involve their two language communities and threaten to call into question their dual affiliations?
Is their bilingualism a factor in their reception, as evidenced in reviews and other public discussions of their work, or do they try to conceal it?
To what extent does language knowledge affect choices of subject-matter, perspective, genre, and styles?
We invite proposals for papers on any topic related to multilingual literatures from across the literary and linguistic disciplines.

Themes may include:

Language choice and power
The translingual and ‘born translated’ (Walkowitz)
Language switching, borrowing and mixing
Invented languages
Intercultural / lingual mediation and cultural appropriation
The ‘Modern Languages’ novel
Literary calques
Depictions of the foreign, including other languages
Creative approaches to representing multilingualism in poetry and fiction
Language games
Multilingual writing

Proposals for papers or panels in languages other than English are welcome. We are planning to publish a selection of the papers.

Please send the following details by 31 December 2018 to the conference organisers: Title; 200-word abstract; Affiliation or Professional Background; Languages Known.

Conference Organisers:

Professor Julian Preece: j.e.preece@swansea.ac.uk
Dr. Aled Rees: aled.d.rees@swansea.ac.uk
Bursaries will be available for some postgraduate students.

Conference Advisory Board:
Dr Thomas Bak (Edinburgh / Bilingualism Matters)
Professor Patrick McGuiness (Oxford)
Dr Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (Cardiff)
Dr Anna Metcalfe (Birmingham)
Dr Zoe Skoulding (Bangor)
Professor Antonella Sorace (Edinburgh / Bilingualism Matters)

Multilingual Literatures is part of the Cross-Language Dymanics: Reshaping Communities Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Open World Research Initiative.