International Conference




‘Europe and its Others’ is an international conference in the area of literary and film studies, covering the main European languages (English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). It sets decipherers of Europe’s cultural traditions in interdisciplinary dialogue with historians, political scientists, social anthropologists, culture theorists, and international relationists. Through the mirroring representations of Europe’s cultural production, we aim to explore a nexus of particularly rich and complex self-and-other relationships: diverse in space, multiple in its scenes, actors, dimensions; and evolving in time. We wish to understand something about how the Other-encounters, perceptions and relationships of Europe function - a ‘poetics’ of collective, culturally formed and informed ‘identities’.

We welcome proposals for papers (a 300-word abstract) to be submitted to the Convenors of the 10 symposia that are being organised by 29 September 2006. We hope to have a definitive programme in place by November.

It is the intention of the organisers to edit a series of books, either region or discipline-based, using as a basis a selection of papers given at the conference. Each is intended to profit from, and to exploit diversely, the overarching perspectives explored.

The Conference Registration (Full Board) 6-8 July 2007 will probably be in the range of £200.00.

Please address general queries to: Conference Organiser: Dr Will Fowler, Dept. of Spanish, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL. E-mail address: or Professor Paul Gifford, Director, Institute of European Cultural Identity Studies, School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL. E-mail address:


Defining perceptions: getting a hold on ‘Europe’ Convenor: Prof. Paul Gifford, This session retraces the movement of the entire conference, but here in the concerted search for an overview. It seeks to explore the diverse and evolving sense of 'Selfhood' implied by Europe's richly diverse gaze upon, and dealings with, its 'Others', and to question the images inscribed in their perceptions-in-return of Europe. Attending to how we see others and how they see us often throws up onto screen of awareness those implicit and invisible factors by which collective cultural personae are most profoundly formed, remembered and projected; the silent and all-conditioning realities which, in identity terms, are also the most organically constituting. Such defining perceptions may be sought and found in a broad range imaginative writing, film and cultural theory; and at all moments and phases of European culture history. The only qualifying condition of pertinence for this session is that these perceptions will lead us towards an enlarged understanding of the cultural bond that is Europe. What is 'Europeanness', 'Europeanicity'? What does it owe to objective solidarities (like those of geography, history, economic and political systems or life-style). How far is it a matter of common history and experience? How does it reflect the more elusive awareness of bonding attitudes (values, ideologies, sacralities)? What versions of are there or have their been of 'Europe'? And, as it becomes more 'creolised', is 'Europe' still a recognisable concept in the order of cultural identity?

Agonistic encounters: war, civil war, and terrorism Convenor Dr Michael Gratzke: Focussing on interperceptions, this panel will explore representations of politically motivated violence within Europe and between Europeans and Non-Europeans. War, civil war and terrorism will be the cornerstones but contributions dealing with deportation, ethnic cleansing, revolutions, revolts and similar actions involving violence are equally welcome. It is the expressed aim of this panel to instigate discussion about the interconnections between aesthetic and historical/political/social issues. Papers dealing with the full range of artistic expression and aesthetic representation will be considered.

Translating Cultures: Europe and Latin America: Convenor: Dr Eleni Kefala, According to Homi K. Bhabha’s theory of cultural translation, cultures, when taken out of their “original” context, are transformed and misinterpreted by the Other. This panel looks at cultural encounters and interperceptions, focusing on the dislocations, displacements and appropriation of European cultures in Latin America as well as on European perceptions of Latin America.

Where the borders lay - Europe through its neighbours’ eyes. Convenor: Dr Tanya Filosofova, This interdisciplinary panel will focus on examining various aspects of cultural connections and political relations between European countries and their closest East Slavonic neighbours: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus from medieval times up to modern times. The panel will examine their perception of Europe and Europeans, for example, in folklore, literature, art, films, media and popular culture as well as complex political historical contexts.

Europe and its Others: Mediterranean Interperceptions Convenor: Dr Lorna Milne, This strand of the conference invites analyses of national and cultural interperceptions across and around the Mediterranean Sea, from the Middle Ages to the present day. How is the Mediterranean itself represented in the imaginaries of the littoral cultures? What effects do such representations have on perceptions of Self and Other, seen from any given point around it? Does a degree of shared Mediterranean history and culture in any way transcend or mitigate perceptions of national Otherness, for example as between Spain and Morocco, or France and Algeria? Within the littoral nations themselves, to what extent does the possession of a Mediterranean coastline inflect the sense of national cultural identity? And do interperceptions between Mediterraneans and northern Europeans have a distinctive shape of their own? From accounts of the Crusades to the debate about Turkish membership of the EU; from archeologists' and adventure narratives to portrayals of contemporary migrations; from the imagery of 'orientalism' to the denunciation of colonial oppression, this panel will study cultural representations of Self and Other, as shaped by Mediterranean-ness, in art, text, film or other forms of discourse. Pairs or groups of papers addressing the same topic from different perspectives will be considered for inclusion: please give full details if your contribution is proposed as part of a panel.

Gender and the Other Convenor: Prof. Helen Chambers, Gender is widely seen as a paradigmatic signifier of Otherness: in the context of the conference theme of Interperceptions between Europe and its Others this panel will focus on the role of gender in relation to constructions of identity. Investigations of gendered discourses, whether of masculinity or femininity, will illuminate the ways in which writers and artists in other media have, consciously or otherwise, used notions of gender to represent perceptions of the relationship between themselves and Europe, or vice versa, from the Early Modern period to the present. Contributions on literary texts, film, historiography, cultural journals in any of French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish - and including comparative discussions - are invited. These will enhance our understanding of the part gender has played in cultural responses to the awareness of difference. A range of theoretical and empirical approaches is welcome.

Europe: The Alienated Self Convenor: Dr Claire Whitehead, This panel will focus upon literary portrayals of madness from the eighteenth century to the present day. In post-Enlightenment Europe and beyond, depictions of alienation played a crucial role in charting reactions to the rise of rationalising civilisation. Concomitantly, developments in medical science retrieved madness from its categorisation as a purely spiritual ailment. This panel will welcome all critical approaches to alienation: historical, sociological, psychological, narratological, etc. It will also particularly encourage comparative approaches in which literary accounts of madness from one or more countries (European and non-European) are discussed.

Narratives of History and Memory: Remembering and Re-imagining the European Past(s) Across Media Convenor: Dr Belen Vidal, This session seeks papers on issues of history and memory with especial reference to the diverse modes of re-imagining the past in written and visual media. In which ways has the European past been structured as a collage of fragments, and a source of dialectic tensions between Self and Other? Where can we locate the points of transnational dialogue and exchange that would allow for the construction of a shared European past? . This CFP should be of interest for researchers in the fields of literary studies, cultural studies, film and media studies, as well as to those working on approaches to history and historiography across media. Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

• The past as Other: nearness versus distance • Affective discourses around the European past • Highbrow, lowbrow, or middlebrow? The impact of popular culture versus/ in dialogue with European heritages. • Alternative histories re-written from the present • Constructing spatial and/or temporal displacement through narrative • The Other’s claims on European history • Remembering/Forgetting: Trauma and displacement • The private and the public: intimate spaces as memory spaces • National histories versus transnational memories

Europe and Its Others: Political and Cultural Influence and Interference Convenor: Dr Will Fowler, This panel is concerned with the manner in which European ideas, trends and customs, as expressed in political and cultural terms, have influenced and interfered with those of other regions. It is also interested in the way that the ideas, trends and customs of Europe's ‘others’ have been equally influential in challenging and changing Eurocentric traditions. The focus of the symposium will be inter-disciplinary and open to studies concerned with regions from across the world. Papers will typically be expected to tackle issues such as the impact of European constitutionalist thought in its former colonies, the influence of ‘peripheral’ literary movements on European fiction, or expressions of syncretism and hybridity that have surfaced both in and outside Europe.

The Macro and the Micro: Europe and the Province Convenor: Dr Rossella Riccobono, This panel will look at writers and film directors of the last thirty years who perceive themselves and their social, geographical, cultural and literary reality as regional, and therefore as marginal. Nevertheless in their work the province is often turned into a micro symbol of the larger culturally overpowering European tradition. How do these artists express their marginal self in terms of centrality? How is the representation of the micro narrated as significant in relation to the macro? Issues of identity, nomadism, voluntary exile (both linguistic, cultural, and geographical), and travel will be explored.