HT 2017 Week 4 Updates

On Wednesday of Week 5, we are in the fortunate position of having Nicky Harman, the esteemed translator, give a Masterclass in Chinese to English Literary Translation. No knowledge of Chinese is necessary. A few short preparatory readings will be circulated in advance to facilitate audience participation. Details regarding registration can be found here.

In Week 4 the Discussion Group convened at St Anne’s to explore the question “What is Good Literature?”. On the 9th of February, the “Forgotten Europe” event interrogated what it means to assert and champion the forgotten voices of minor and marginalised European languages. If you missed out in person, fear not: the discussion was recorded and will be available online soon!

We’re keen to have DPhil students convene and host the Discussion Group in Trinity term. Look at our Call for Proposals here for further details. The deadline for proposals is 17 February 2017. Successful applicants will be informed in Week 7 of Hilary term. 


Events and CFPs

1. The 2016-17 Humanitas Weidenfeld Visiting Professorship will be held by Sean O'Brien. Sean O’Brien is a poet, novelist, playwright, critic, broadcaster, anthologist and editor. His lectures begin next week.


2. OWRI Fellowship in Languages and Communities

Applications are invited from postdoctoral scholars wishing to undertake a period of research based at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, in the area of languages and communities (past or present). Preference will be given to Western European languages (mainstream or minority) in their global contexts, and/or translingual practices.

An award of £3,000 for three months is available, or pro rata for a shorter period of time, extendable to one year without further funding. The award is a contribution to temporary living expenses in London. The Fellowship is open to applicants from the UK or overseas. One Fellowship will be awarded each year, up to and including 1919-20.

The research will feed into the OWRI (Open World Research Initiative) AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ hosted at the Institute of Modern Languages


The closing date for applications is 31 March 2017. Full details and procedures of how to apply are online:


3. Digital Publishing and the Humanities: Perspectives and Questions

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 14:00 – 18:00

Venue: Room 246, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Organizer: Massimo Riva (IMLR Visiting Fellow/Brown University/)

In the age of data mining, distant reading, and cultural analytics, scholars increasingly rely upon automated, algorithm-based procedures in order to parse the exponentially growing databases of digitized textual and visual resources. While these new trends are dramatically shifting the scale of our objects of study, from one book to millions of books, from one painting to millions of images, the most traditional output of humanistic scholarship—the single author monograph—has maintained its institutional pre-eminence in the academic world, while showing the limitations of its printed format. Recent initiatives, such as the AHRC-funded Academic Book of the Future  in the UK and the Andrew W. Mellon-funded digital publishing initiative in the USA, have answered the need to envision new forms of scholarly publication on the digital platform, and in particular the need to design and produce a digital equivalent to, or substitute for, the printed monograph. Libraries, academic presses and a number of scholars across a variety of disciplines are participating in this endeavour, debating key questions in the process, such as: What is an academic book?  Who are its readers? What can technology do to help make academic books more accessible and sharable without compromising their integrity and durability? Yet, a more fundamental question remains to be answered, as our own idea of what a ‘book’ is (or was) and does (or did) evolves: how can a digital, ‘single-author’ monograph effectively draw from the growing field of digital culture, without losing those characteristics that made it perhaps the most stable form of humanistic culture since the Gutenberg revolution? Our speakers will debate some of these questions and provide their points of view on some of the specific issues involved. After their short presentations, all participants are invited to bring their own ideas about, and experience with, digital publishing to the table.  

Participants (in order of presentation):

Guyda Armstrong (Manchester): ‘Digital Special Collections and the Future of the Historic Book’

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the first seminal online digital library of premodern print culture, the Early English Books Online (EEBO), this paper will reflect on digital image collections of historic books and their forms and functions. Bringing to bear book-historical and material-textual approaches to these familiar digital objects, we will explore some practical and conceptual considerations around the production and continued preservation of these resources in what is now a vastly changed digital scholarly ecosystem. What are the advantages and ongoing challenges of creating and maintaining these kinds of digital image resources? Can we outline an optimized set of criteria in terms of user design and researcher requirements? And how can we reconcile the needs of the various agents involved in the production and use of these electronic historical books of the future, including institutional and commercial stakeholders?

Martin Eve (Birkbeck, University of London): ‘Open Access, Books, and the Tricky Transition’

The Third Research Excellence Framework, scheduled for the mid-2020s, now has a mandate for open access books. Despite calls from the digitally enlightened, however, most humanities long-form writing remains very much ensconced within the traditions and economics (both symbolic and financial) of the printed book. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges of a migration from conventional books to an open access model and the range of approaches that are currently being taken.

Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, University of London): ‘Open Access, Books and the (re)Flourishing of the University Press?’

In anticipation of the extension of open access mandates from scholarly articles to books, a number of UK universities have begun to experiment with open access monograph publishing. In some instances, this has meant reviving a once dormant university press or brand, in others establishing completely new partnerships and infrastructures. This presentation will discuss some of the approaches that have been taken to date, highlighting the potential for transformation and innovation as well as some of the challenges for both authors and publishers.

Massimo Riva (IMLR/Brown University): ‘Design-by-Doing: the Accidental, Organic Growth of a Digital Monograph’

Leveraging the power of the digital infrastructure while, at the same time, developing one’s own authorial ‘style’, can be a mind-bending challenge. In this paper, I will present my work-in-progress: a digital monograph, selected for the Brown/Mellon digital publishing initiative. In presenting this project, born as an idea for a ‘book’ but still evolving into a difficult-to-define hybrid, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by an experiment with the scholarly long-form, in digital format.


4. Symposium: Multilingualism as Migration

University of Luxembourg, Campus Belval

3 and 4 July 2017

Call for papers

The fourth symposium organised by the Key Area for Migration and Intercultural Studies (MIS) at the University of Luxembourg attempts to describe multilingualism as migration. It tackles multilingualism as cross-border movement, with borders in this context not restricted to the solely territorial. Describing multilingualism as migration enables the ‘idioms’ (in the broadest sense of the word) involved not to be viewed as fixed, well-defined units but rather to be understood and described as entities in motion. Texts and the historical and cultural contexts to which they refer can thus be interpreted as the setting for interaction between various linguistic processes. If the linguistic production and allocation of significance – and thus of communicative relevance – is ultimately considered, in its contingency, as a moment of culture, then it is perhaps possible to achieve even more: for in such an instance, texts which establish a relationship between different idioms and thus different ways of generating significance are a key space for political discourse on how society should handle culture and cultural differences.

A corresponding description of texts (in the broadest sense) as a space for political discourse on cultural difference could be particularly fruitful if multilingualism is ‘nailed down’ via its bearers, i. e., both individual texts or artefacts/performances and historical semantics or discourses.

The symposium views multilingualism itself as the variety of methods used to generate significance, with multilingualism thus existing, e. g., under the following circumstances:

Where the social practices of code switching are in use or contact languages are formed

Where words from various dialects or standardised national languages are used in (literary) texts

Where different visual languages or other forms of symbolic understanding are combined in a single performance

Where historical semantics build on structures and elements of different linguistic and cultural origins

In the context of the symposium, migration will be defined as the cross-border movement of linguistically or culturally marked structures and elements. This movement is often linked to the movement of people, but it can also be medially conveyed. For example, literary texts can engage in forms of language mixing which indicate their authors’ migration from one language area to another. Linguistically hybrid texts such as these generally defy fixed cultural or linguistic attributions, and thus demonstrate the redundancy of traditional integrations based on taxonomic linguistics. However, it is also conceivable that interaction with another linguistic tradition could result in comprehensive quotations or acquisitions which could then be described as variations of aesthetic migration. In view of this, migration can shape different forms of movement and demonstrate different directions and degrees of fixedness, which can be traced using the empirical material as a route of reinterpretation and transformation.

The examination of language movement in and via texts/artefacts/performances and historical semantics can also be related to different forms of human migration and to the resulting cultural and political configurations. Multilingualism is thus examined as a dynamic process relying on very divergent relationships to the sociocultural context.

The symposium is, firstly, seeking contributions which attempt to use this description of multilingualism as migration to reap philological benefit and to assess the processes and effects of artistic multilingualism (in the broadest sense). Secondly, it is looking for the inclusion of sociolinguistic and cultural sciences approaches in the broader sense, enabling language movement to be described on the level of historical semantics and discourses, society (or societies) and culture(s). Finally, the symposium is intended to encourage attempts to seek links between these two levels of examination.

Interested participants are asked to submit a short abstract of max. 3,000 characters (incl. space characters) to Till Dembeck (

The Key Area for Migration and Intercultural Studies (MIS) ( of the University of Luxembourg is happy to cover the accommodation costs (hotel) for the selected speakers.

Closing date for the paper proposals: 31/3/2017

Feedback for submitters: mid-April 2017

For further information:

Details for writing the proposal:

Title of the paper

Max. 3,000 characters (incl. space characters)

Contact address (institution, e-mail, phone and postal address)

4-5 keywords

Papers should be in German, French or English.


5. CFP: Herta Müller and the Currents of European History


School of Advanced Study • University of London

Thursday, 21 – Friday, 22 September 2017

Venue: University of London, Senate House, London WC1E 7HE

Herta Müller’s life and works exemplify some of the most fundamental themes and undercurrents of modern European history. From her Romanian-German upbringing, overshadowed by the Second World War and Stalin-era deportations, to her adult negotiation of the oppression of Romanian communism and the shock of arrival in 1980s West Berlin, Müller’s trajectory reflects some of the major themes of the 20th century. Guilt, trauma, alienation, resistance, and flight permeate her work, which positions itself at the conjunction of multiple histories and responds to a tradition of literary representations of totalitarianism. Her novels, essays and collages concern themselves with the experience of common people, often at the margins of society or excluded from the narratives of political history, and promote awareness of the huge cost in terms of suffering and upheaval paid by them for the decisions made by their rulers. Müller’s political activism also has a strong historical inflection: her appeals for greater humanity in addressing contemporary issues such as the refugee crisis reference historical events such as the flight of Jews and socialists from Germany in the 1930s as well as her own experience of exile. She uses her writing and high profile as an author and Nobel Prize winner to transgress against categorical thinking, hegemonic discourses and received wisdom and to agitate for ethical engagement with the experience of the Other.

2017 marks 30 years since Herta Müller fled Romania, yet her work on the damaging effects of exploitative regimes and the dehumanisation of man by man sadly remains as relevant as ever. This conference aims to bring together leading Müller scholars as well as new voices, and to facilitate a collective reassessment of her work and its significance in the light of 20th- and 21st-century history, as well as the now over 40 years of her career.
Confirmed keynotes: Prof. Karin Bauer (McGill University), and Prof. Norbert Otto Eke (Universität Paderborn)

Papers are invited of 20 minutes (in English, French or German) which consider Müller’s life and works in relation to:

Trauma and political suffering
The legacies of totalitarianism
Refugee experience
Intertexts and memory culture
Identity and literature
Ethnicity and Gender
Political debates
Autofiktion and empathy
European history and minor literature
Marginalised experiences
Romanian-German literature
Poetics and Metaphor

Conference languages: English, French, German.

300-word abstracts should be sent to by 15 March 2017. Scholars wishing to submit a panel proposal of three 20-minute or four 15-minute papers are welcome to do so. Please provide full abstracts for each of the papers, along with an introductory explanation of the panel. Alternative formats will be considered and the organisers would like to extend an enthusiastic invitation to PG and ECR participants.

Further information about any aspect of the call for papers should be addressed to the organisers: Dr Brigid Haines (Swansea University), Dr Michel Mallet (Université de Moncton) and Jenny Watson (Sheffield University) at the above email address.

Further information, including the call for papers in French and German, is available at:


6. International Crime Genre Research Group 7th biennial conference:

Networks and Connections in the Crime Genre

Friday 26 - Saturday 27 May, 2017

National University of Ireland, Galway

Under the broad title of ‘Networks and Connections’ we invite proposals related to the following areas:

Networks in crime and in crime detection:

• Criminal gangs, people trafficking, drug cartels
• The movement and influence of global capital
• Cybercrime and hacking
• Collaboration between national police forces in investigating crime
• Political corruption
• Collaboration between repressive state apparatuses
• Terrorism and counter-terrorism
• Transnational links
• Mobility: Ease with which the modern criminal and detective can cross national boundaries
• Diaspora and identity, old and new worlds in contact (e.g. Scandinavians in the USA, Croats in Chile)
• Asylum seekers; refugees; impact of political violence and forced migration; exile
• Economic migration
• Comparative Connections in the ongoing development of the genre
• Comparative approaches to the study of genre production at the level of form and content
• Histories of influence in the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries
• Contemporary productions and their mutual influences.
• Language Communities
• For instance can we speak of Anglophone and Francophone traditions across all the territories where those languages are spoken?
• What of multilingual regions and nations like Spain or India?
• What is the position of minority languages and cultures in the genre?
• Postcolonial legacies and connections
• The modern legacy of colonial ties and cultural connections
• Resistance and Imagined communities
• Shared places and conflicting politics

As always, we welcome submissions from those working on crime fiction and film, wider media production, criminology, anthropology etc. Our founding ambition since our first conference in 2005 is to bring together researchers from a broad range of areas to see what points of commonality emerge when we share our perspectives.

Organising Committee: Dr Kate Quinn (NUIG); Dr Dominique Jeannerod (QUB); Dr Marieke Krajenbrink (UL)

Please send your abstracts to by Friday March 17th, 2017


Dr Eleni Philippou

Comparative Criticism and Translation