Events supported by The Society for Comparative Cultural Inquiry and related events

Call for Papers:

London French Postgraduate Conference

Mouvement 2014

7 November 2014

Progress, evolution, migration, drifting, friction, unrest; movement has many forms, but is always a marker of change. The London Postgraduate French Conference 2014 invites contributions from those working within any area of French Studies on the theme of movement. We might wish to consider how the movement of people, or peoples, across the globe finds its artistic expression. Similarly, we may think about the interaction between physical circulation of text and the resultant changes in its form and/or content. Beyond these ideas, we might ask how we react to the oral transmission of texts? How do we understand the evolution and migration of medieval manuscripts? Furthermore, what are the ontological and phenomenological considerations vis-à-vis the movement between spaces and across barriers within a text? What changes as a figure or a reader is guided through a literary space? What might interrupt the flow of movement and bring us, as readers, to a halt?

Between cities, across a stage or screen, amongst eras, within one or several languages, forwards in progressive steps or backwards through time, movement is in one way or another vital to our thinking and an everyday part of life. The theme also lends itself to questions that concern how theory and philosophy have used metaphors of movement, such as those used to conceptualise notions of irony and humour. Movement may also be considered a key force in the composition of poetic texts, particularly prominent in recent developments within the field of digital poetry. We may explore the relevance of movement to practices and processes within the visual arts. Beyond this, we might reflect on its place in filmic creation or performance arts.

Possible topics for exploration might include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Migration
  • Circulation and/or evolution of texts
  • Metaphors of movement working within theory
  • Movement across spaces and barriers
  • Notions of stillness, obstacle and resistance
  • Mouvance
  • Movement in the visual arts
  • The flâneur and/or psychogeography
  • Movement and humour
  • Movement in/as performance (theatre, dance)

Abstracts of up to 250 words should be sent to before 1st September 2014. The papers can be given in French or English but must not last longer than twenty minutes.

For further information visit:


Call for papers (CLOSED):

University College London (UCL)

Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies

Humanity and Animality in 20th and 21st Century Culture:

Narratives, Theories, Histories. An Interdisciplinary Conference

15 September, 2014

This interdisciplinary conference takes up an important debate in a field of growing importance in the humanities, where animal studies, post-humanism, and eco-criticism have surged in recent years. The definition of mankind seems necessarily to pass through an understanding of what constitutes the animal. Philosophically, what distinguishes, or indeed brings together humanity and animality has been the subject of debate from Aristotle’s understanding of man as ‘zôon logon echon’and from Kant’s view of man’s treatment of animals as an insight into the true nature of humankind, Derrida’s seminars on ‘the beast and the sovereign’, up to Agamben’s recent theory of ‘bare life’ as the breakdown of the barrier between man and animal.

Artists, authors and filmmakers, such as Kafka, Dalí, Borges, Coetzee, Primo Levi, Margaret Atwood, Karl Appel, Paula Rego, Werner Herzog (‘Grizzly Man’), and Benh Zeitlin (‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’) to name but a few, have also grappled with the significance of the divide or symbiosis of humanity and animality. Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti and Andrew Benjamin are also redefining ways in which humanity and animality can be thought together, or apart. The violent upheavals of the 20th century, with its global wars, unprecedented genocides and totalitarian experiments led to a re-evaluation of notions such as humanism and humanity, which has made way for new hopes and anxieties relating to the subhuman and the post-human.

By hosting a varied programme of papers and debates chaired by high-profile contributors to this emerging field of inquiry, this conference aims to establish a forum for researchers throughout the UK to discuss this important theoretical issue.

Topics of discussion may include but are not limited to the following questions/topics:

  • Is it possible, or even desirable to distinguish between animality and humanity?
  • In which ways does the dialectic of ‘human’ and ‘animal’ shape our identities, culture and morality?
  • Why is the comparison with animal world so important for our culture?
  • Shame, pride, sorrow, fear, anxiety, fascination, awe: how do emotions acknowledge the relation between humanity and animality?
  • How do literature, art, evolutionary theory, philosophy and other disciplines negotiate the changes undergone by the concept of the ‘human’ in the last century?
  • How have our perceptions of ‘humanity’ and ‘animality’ changed in relation to violent and extreme events such as genocide, widespread atrocity, world war etc.?
  • What does the persistence of the fascination with animals suggest about specific cultural and historical moments?
  • Are we really a Darwinian species, or do technology, morality and creativity separate us from the rest of the natural evolution?
  • How can we rethink the binary opposition between humanity and inhumanity?
  • Have we entered into a post-human era?
  • Evolutionary theory and the human condition
  • Human-Animal studies
  • Humanity and Animality in Art, Literature, Science, Philosophy, Cinema, Religion, etc.

Deadline for Abstracts: 

Please send an abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biography (50 words maximum) to by August 1st, 2014.

A selection of the papers will be published.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Martin Crowley (Cambridge; University)
  • Robert S. C. Gordon (Cambridge University)
  • Pierpaolo Antonello (Cambridge University)
  • Florian Mussgnug (UCL)
  • Kevin Inston (UCL)

Other speakers will be announced soon.


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