OCCT MT 2019 Week 0 Updates

OCCT’s Michaelmas 2019 programme is terrific! At our welcome event in Week 1, you’ll get the opportunity to meet our organising committee and hear about OCCT’s programme. In Week 3, the Slovenian novelists Dušan Šarotar and Dino Bauk will discuss their novels with Patrick McGuiness. In Week 5 of term, we are pleased that Peter Cole will give a translation workshop (13 Nov), followed by a talk the next day (14 Nov). In Week 6, Guillaume Dumas (Institut Pasteur) will speak at the Fiction and Other Minds seminar. As usual, the Discussion Group runs its fortnightly meetings, and is thrilled to host high-profile translators over the course of the term: Jeremy Tiang (21 Oct); Erin Mouré (4 Nov), and Kyoko Yoshida (18 Nov). In the last week of term, the Discussion Group will welcome Julia Caterina Hartley and Xiaofan Amy Lin to talk about their newly-published Transcript monographs. Check our website for further details!

The website Prismatic Jane Eyre: An Experiment in the Study of Translations is now live at prismaticjaneeyre.org. Charlotte Brontë’s novel has been translated more than 500 times into more than 50 languages: the website offers interactive maps and visualisations of this phenomenon, together with some new ways of thinking about translation and world literature. Do please visit, share, subscribe to the blog and (if you wish) join in the project via the 'contribute' and 'feedback' buttons. Prismatic Jane Eyre is the latest phase of OCCT’s Prismatic Translation project, led by Matthew Reynolds and funded by the AHRC under the OWRI research programme in Creative Multilingualism.




1.BCLA Triennial International Conference 2020


The British Comparative Literature Association organises a triennial international conference series.  The next conference will be held at Queen’s University, Belfast, 15 – 17 September 2020, and the theme is Randomness.
Full details, including for registration, travel and accommodation are available on the conference website.
The full call for papers and further details on the conference theme can be downloaded here:
BCLA Triennial Conference Randomness CfP.
Please submit  proposals for panels by 15 November 2019 and proposals for papers by 15 December 2019.


2.Annual BCLA Postgraduate Conference 2019


Annual British Comparative Literature Association Postgraduate Conference 2019
Call for Papers: ‘Radical Retellings: Fairy Tale, Myth, and Beyond’
Friday 29th November 2019
St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

We invite postgraduate researchers working in the field of comparative literature, defined in its broadest sense, to submit abstracts for 15-minute papers. Papers may be presented on literature from any cultural context, although the lingua franca of the conference will be English. We welcome broad and creative interpretations of the conference title, including, but by no means limited to:

– Revised and reworked fairy tales and myth
– Modern myths / New myths of our time
– Aesthetics and forms in myths and fairy tales
– The politics of myths and fairy tales
– Non-Western myths and fairy tales
– Postcolonial readings of fairy tales
– Feminist and queer re-imaginings of myths and fairy tales
– Fairy tales and children’s literature
– Fairy tales and myths in other media (film, TV, comic books, music, and video games, etc)

Please send paper proposals of up to 300 words and a short bio to bclapgrepresentative@gmail.com by Friday 25th October 2019.

Full details including for registration, conference support and bursaries are available here


3. Call for proposals


International Multidisciplinary Symposium “Utopia and Migration. Renewing the Imagination of Borders in the 21st century”

the 23, 24 and 25 April 2020

at the University of Oxford

Closing date for submissions: 15 November 2019


Confirmed keynote speakers :

Prof. Achille Mbembe, University of Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Prof. Richard Scholar, Durham University (United Kingdom)


Description :

Since the beginning of humanity, migrations have been a major factor in the biological, cognitive and social evolution of human beings, the geographical distribution of the species and the demographic and economic development of populations. Yet, national States tend not to consider migrations as a revivifying force any longer, but as an anarchic movement disrupting public order. With today’s mass exodus (an unprecedented 70.8 million people were uprooted at the end of 2018, according to un Refugee Agency), borders – even walls (Brown 2010) – are raised as imperatives of strategic security (Foucher 2007), resulting in an illegal immigration that costs thousands of human lives. The fundamental role that migration flows have played over the millennia is now jeopardized by border regulation left to the sovereignty of States. From “societies of control” (Deleuze 1990), States become “societies of security” (Mbembe 2016a): they invest massively in new infrastructures, practices and technologies to identify, control, classify, regulate and redistribute the human movements reaching their doors. To this end, containment and isolation areas are specifically equipped (reception centres, exiles corridors, camps, retention islands). However, the border is not always where we believe, it is not always in the same spot, it is not natural but labelled as such. It is constantly removed (the most emblematic case being the boat-camp), invested and remodeled by multiple (public, private, humanitarian) actors, national or international, who contribute to an economy of security. The contemporary border is therefore a process (Ritaine 2015): ubiquitous, it is finally embarked on everyone’s status (Guénif 2010), made of dematerialized technologies of control, and applied from distance, no longer linear but pixelated and algorithmic (Bigo 2005).


The mechanisms adopted by States to deal with this new migration regime find their legitimacy in a narrative of a “migratory crisis.” Illustrating and sustaining the fear of an “invasion,” this rhetoric encourages States to fortify their borders, with political debates addressing the migration issue mainly with emotions, whether fear or empathy. “Plus qu’une crise, il y a perception d’une crise” (Gemenne 2018, [“More than a crisis, there is perception of a crisis”, our translation]). On a large scale, no substantial increase in international migration has been noticed: around 3% of the world’s population since the end of the Second World War. There is thus neither explosion nor invasion. However, there is indeed a reception crisis. Under international law, States can decide how many immigrants will be issued a residence permit, not how many asylum applications will be accepted. Insofar as an immigration policy has not been rethought by the European Union, for example, in the light of recent events (e.g. the Syrian refugee crisis), hundreds of thousands of people now risk their lives in the Mediterranean to reach Europe – because of climate breakdown, socioeconomic conditions or political oppression –, and seek asylum. This leads to an unnecessary overburdening of the asylum-determination-procedures, a semantic confusion about what is meant by “migrant” (Nouss 2015) that contributes to the criminalization of certain categories of candidates to migration (Calabrese 2018, Canut 2017), and finally a growing climate of fear. A chain reaction, which then urges States to “protect” their borders.


Patrick Chamoiseau, Édouard Glissant, Laurent Gaudé, J.M.G. Le Clézio, Leonora Miano, Jean-Christophe Rufin, Felwine Sarr, Abdourahman A. Waberi... many writers are committed, through literature, to condemn these abusive representations of migrants and  renew the collective imagination of geopolitical boundaries in order to transform our relationship with hospitality (about Le Clézio: Feyereisen 2019). This Symposium aims to contribute to the analysis of the borders imagination in the context of migrations in the 21st century. It will raise the more specific question of how contemporary literature deals with the current issues related to borders from the perspective of utopia.

The context of the migration crisis, which is itself symptomatic of a generalized, deep and systemic crisis (climate and environmental breakdown, demographic challenge, representative democracy reconsidered, return of extreme rights, etc.), calls more than ever for a renewed utopia, – a concept forged at the Renaissance period from the ancient Greek ou-topos, “no place.” This relationship between the meaning crisis (both individual and specific to a “living together”) and the need for a future likely to reopen the field of possibilities –for the exile and the native – is precisely what the concept of utopia once wanted to problematize (Dumont 2019). What are these other ways that utopia traces to denounce and overcome discursive, media and state strategies aimed at making invisible, spoiling or stigmatising migrants, and thus strengthening borders? What alternatives to current border experiences can be explored through fiction? In what forms do they take place in the literary text? Which borders are targeted, those of the dream continent or the left one? How do these imaginative practices shed light on, or challenge, the relationship of contemporary societies to human mobility, to hospitality?

Influenced by philosophers (Abensour 2000, Bloch 1976, Ricœur 1986), many researchers in Social Sciences have recently taken on the concept of utopia about emancipation of societies (Sargent 2010) from capitalism (Bregman 2017), globalisation (Tally 2013), decolonisation (Sarr 2016) to the role of borders in these processes (Mbembe 2016b). To highlight these transnational issues, they use a renewed definition of utopia, which they associate with a “cosmopolitical” perspective (Beck 2006): this cosmopolitical utopia is a methodological concept consisting in transforming, in a concrete way, the already initiated process of migration flows, which the nation-state model can no longer manage, to achieve global citizenship and solidarity. The intellectual approach they encourage resides in an empirical observation of society coupled with an unbridled literary imagination (Wright 2010). Yet literature specialists have not considered so far the notions of utopia and borders simultaneously, when both coexist in literary works (novels, essays, poetry, etc.) where the experience of migration is mixed with the power of imagination of utopia. This Symposium plans to address them jointly, inviting the literary scientific field to a discussion held to date mainly by the Social Sciences. Dialogue between literary studies and other disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences is therefore strongly encouraged in order to adequately address an issue whose study can contribute to rethinking the definitions of utopia, and in particular utopia as a literary genre, and to enriching migration studies.

In view of this problem, several (not exhaustive) lines of thought can be considered:


Utopia, regimes of historicity, revolution, post-national futures

Utopia, migration and critique

Literary, ethical and political utopia

Utopia, body, biopolitics and decolonisation

Utopia, principle of hope, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction

Migration and the “crisis” narrative

Cosmopolitanism, new citizenship, post-globalisation

Cosmopolitanism and archipelagic thinking

Neoliberalism, the common, the era of networks

Digital era, surveillance, security and freedom

Sovereignty, human rights, right to mobility, refugee rights

Civil disobedience, resistance, violence and non-violence

Borders, capitalocene and environmental migration

Mediterranean, European Union borders, African borders

Mediterranean and post-colonial futures


These reflections are only indicative. Each of them requires a specific contemporary literary corpus (2000 to present), and invites speakers to develop an empirical and/or theoretical perspective that does not simply advance knowledge on an isolated aspect. For a better understanding of border utopias, any communication on migration experiences other than those in the Mediterranean are encouraged and will lead to comparative discussions.

Proposals for 20-minute long presentation (in English or French) should contain:

the title of the conference,

a description of 300 words maximum that specifies the corpus studied and the theoretical approach chosen,

5 keywords

an indicative bibliography,

a 5-line bio-bibliographic description including the name of the speaker, her/his institutional affiliation and status, discipline(s), a complete postal and email address.

Proposals will be delivered in electronic format (Word) by 15 November 2019 at the latest to Justine Feyereisen:


The committee’s decisions will be sent from 15 December 2019. Speakers will have to bear the costs of travel and accommodation. Following the conference, a publication is planned.




4. Greek Island Life: Behind the scenes of an anthropologist's fieldwork

Presented by The Society for Modern Greek Studies and the Bodleian/Taylorian Libraries

Date: Friday 18th October

Time: 17.15

Venue: Room 2, Taylor Institution, Oxford



A brief introduction by Sarah Ekdawi

A talk by Professor Margaret Kenna about her fieldwork on a remote Greek island

Questions from the audience

Wine, books and pamphlets


"This is the story of an anthropologist whose life has been marked by and forever entangled with a tiny island at the extreme frontiers of what was Greece in the 1960s. Kenna continued to work later on the community of political exiled that lived on the island in the 40s, notably by collecting an impressive photographic archive of the life of these people. In fact, the narrative unfolds as photographs do, snippets of history frozen in time, a past that is ‘a foreign country’ even for someone who has lived through it all. Kenna, however, does extraordinary work in compiling her journal entries, fieldwork notes, and census data while trying to provide a critical and self-reflexive look on some of the gender bias in the anthropological writing of the time [...]". (Myriam Lamrani, Review for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, [forthcoming]).


5. Research in the Arts, the Arts in Research




Thursday 14 – Friday 15 May 2020 at the University of Łódź, Poland


Artists study the reality they are surrounded by, people they live among, themselves, their instruments of work and how these areas are interconnected. Their work addresses complex issues, establishing dynamic relationships to a whole variety of other disciplines, from philosophy to new technologies. Their creative activity generates knowledge that could not be gained otherwise. Artistic knowledge is acquired through sensory and emotional perception and is practice-based, practice-driven, ‘felt’, ‘embodied’. It crosses the borders of different countries, languages, cultures, disciplines. Many artistic research projects are genuinely multicultural and interdisciplinary. Yet artists still often have to justify the idea that their practice is research.


Academic research too has become increasingly inter- and multidisciplinary. Cultural Literacy [CL] is the ability to think in literary ways about any topic or question, using the key concepts of textuality, fictionality, rhetoricity and historicity (see http://cleurope.eu/about/key-concepts/). How can the creative arts and CL come together to think about the contemporary world?


This Symposium is designed to generate active discussion, focusing on thinking and talking rather than formal presentations. If your proposal is accepted, it will be included in a ‘book of presentations’ that all participants will be asked to read in advance of the Symposium. The contributions will be grouped together into parallel break-out sessions of 90 minutes during which each presenter will briefly summarise their points and the subsequent discussion will aim to explore the key theme of the panel.




v  Creative work as a source of cultural, social, psychological and political information;

v  Interpreting art works as cultural, political or pedagogical products;

v  Rethinking the role of art and the artist in society;

v  Art in multicultural and multilingual contexts (the questions of translation, cross-cultural understanding, multicultural conviviality, etc.);

v  The subjectivity and reliability of claims in artistic research;

v  The relevance of artistic research for developing skills for cultural literacy and the potential of cultural literacy to inform artistic research;

v  The relationship between the artistic work, the critical text and the viewer/ reader/experiencer;

v  Objects of high culture and popular culture (for example, novels, poetry books, graphic novels, performances, events, films, memes, tweets, blogs, comic strips, tabloids, computer games, advertisements among others) as learning material about reality in which we live.



Researchers & artists who are either more senior or in early-career are welcome to submit a proposal, though preference may be given to the latter. ’Early-career’ includes postgraduates & academics up to 10 years after completion of the PhD, and artists in the first 10 years of their creative activity.


You are invited to submit a proposal in English for a 5-minute presentation. It should consist of your name, affiliation, email address, title, a 300-word statement on any area of the symposium topic and a mini-biography (max. 300 words). Please send this to Naomi Segal (n.segal@bbk.ac.uk) and Joanna Kosmalska (joanna.kosmalska@uni.lodz.pl) by the deadline of Friday 29 November 2019. Proposals that arrive after this date will not be considered.


A number of bursaries for Early-career researchers & postgraduates will be available to support attendance at the 2020 symposium. The competition for these bursaries will be announced in mid-December 2019.


Prior membership of CLE is required; see http://cleurope.eu/membership/




Standard                             €150 / PLN 650

Students (+ ID)/ Unwaged  €75 / PLN 330


The registration fee includes coffee breaks, lunch, and all conference documentation.


Booking will open on 16 December 2019 & close on 27 March 2020


Photo credit: Oliver Rockwell


welcome 1 1