RESHAPING THE MOULD:

AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LITERATURE & LANGUAGE STUDIES

(19-21 January, 2009)

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Call FOR PAPERS

This is a call for abstracts for an international conference on literature and language studies that the GC University, Lahore, Pakistan, is planning to organize (pending approval of funding) in January 2009 in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.  The conference proceedings will span three days, namely, 19-21 January, 2009.

 

The overarching theme of the conference is the triple nexus between the study of English literature, of the English language, and the scientific study of language known as linguistics, a nexus that exists as it does today in many parts of the world in large measure due to historical convenience.  The situation in general seems to be riddled with a number of paradoxes: for instance, often the distinctions between (i) English literature and the literature of non-English origins, i.e., literature in English and literature accessed through translation into English, (ii) the study of English for the purposes of attaining functional proficiency in the language, and (iii) the scientific investigation of language as a universal human cognitive system, get blurred in pursuit of what has been administratively the parent discipline in a large number of postcolonial contexts, i.e., English literature or, more generally speaking, English studies.  Not infrequently the ambiguity of this situation makes people consider these other more or less related disciplines as mere extensions of the study of English language and literature within which the disciplines in question are perceived to coexist as a result of an unwritten uneasy truce between them.

 

This conference aims to bring together researchers and writers who are keen to discuss this state of affairs, not necessarily in a confrontational manner.  In addition, those who do not intend to directly challenge the status quo, or present alternatives to it, will also have an opportunity to present their research on a substantial aspect of any of these three areas of investigation, as one of the major aims of the conference is to enhance an understanding of some significant academic issues regardless of the boundary disputes implied earlier, thus accepting their overlapping coexistence as an unavoidable practical reality which should not prevent people from moving on within the peculiar situation they find themselves in respectively, a strategy which might result in some of the demarcational faculty disputes simply being left behind, or in their disappearance from the academic scene altogether without any definitive resolution.  Thus, the conference is likely to envisage, indeed encourage, a revisionist agenda, but not at the expense of the inherent value of the research accomplished within the prevalent framework (such as it is!).

 

We invite abstracts (from literary scholars, linguists, language teachers, area study specialists, etc., including graduate students) on the specific theme(s) described above, but also on many other relevant themes, some of which are listed below.  It goes without saying that the abstracts submitted need not to be confined to the following list, which is not intended to be exhaustive.  The conference presentations are likely to consist of sessions organized around specific themes, and will in addition be interspersed with discussion sessions. Each individual presentation will be expected to last 20 minutes (leaving aside the keynote speakers), to be followed by a question-answer session of 10-minutes’ duration.



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