Conference Seminars

Academics and graduate (PhD, MA) students are invited to submit paper proposals of 300 words maximum and a bio-note of 100 words to the leaders of the seminars listed below. The submission deadline is 15 October 2009. Those who have submitted their proposals will be notified of their acceptance or refusal by 15 November 2009.


S1 Information Structure of Discourse

Seminar Leaders:
Libuše Dušková (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Jana Chamonikolasová (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The seminar presents different approaches to and different applications of the theory of information structure. The topics of the papers should cover the dynamics of discourse especially from the viewpoints of the structure of context, the theme-rheme or topic-focus structure of sentences, the structure of paragraphs and texts, and the role of intonation in spoken discourse. The analyses are based on the material of written and spoken texts, as well as on parallel bi-lingual or multi-lingual materials.

S2 English in Academic Contexts

Seminar Leaders:
Markéta Malá (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Renata Povolná (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
While academic English has become a well established field of study within English Studies it is also one of its most dynamic areas, being open to new methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches. The seminar aims to bring together researchers involved in linguistic exploration of the field and lecturers and teachers researching in education. We hope the seminar will thus make it possible to view English used in academic contexts (whether written or spoken, monological or dialogical, formal and informal) from various perspectives involving corpus linguistics, conversation analysis, pragmatics, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics.

S3 Communication Strategies in English/Czech Discourse

Seminar Leaders:
Christopher Hopkinson (University of Ostrava, Czech Republic)
Renáta Tomášková (University of Ostrava, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The seminar will focus on the concept of ‘communication and textual strategies’, which currently forms the subject of grant-funded (GAČR) research by a team at the University of Ostrava, including both co-chairs. The broad concept of communication strategies is grounded in the functional ‘means-ends’ model of language; such strategies are ways of achieving a communicative goal – whether on the level of discourse, text, or lower linguistic levels – and involve the speaker’s goal-oriented choices within available decision-making parameters.
The seminar will address questions including the following:

  • How is the choice of communication strategies in various types of discourse conditioned by a range of variables (including social context, power relationships, identity, overtness or covertness of communicative goals, etc.)?
  • How can communication strategies be viewed in terms of the dichotomy ‘centre/periphery’?
  • How have communication strategies changed in recent years, and under what influences?
  • What are the interdisciplinary implications of research into communication strategies?

Contributions providing an insight into contrastive differences will also be welcome.

S4 Understanding Patterns of Meaning in Language

Seminar Leaders:
Naděžda Kudrnáčová (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Radek Vogel (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
In this seminar we hope to offer an overview of recent developments in the field and to provide a forum for addressing the treatment of meaning at different levels of language. By taking a broader view of language interpretation, the discussion is, among other things, expected to draw a picture of semantics as a synthetic discipline, exploring the interaction of different patterns of meaning at different levels of language. One of the objectives of the seminar is also to foster new collaborative research initiatives, with a view to extending and refining our understanding of the structuration of meaning.
The seminar will focus on the traditional conception of semantics as the study of the meaning of linguistic signs, as well as on the plurality of approaches through which meaning can be accessed and communicated. We would thus like to attract papers from a wide variety of disciplines, such as lexicology and lexical semantics, construction grammar, cognitive semantics, prototype semantics, frame semantics, etc. Papers may range from, e.g., dynamicity of lexical meaning to lexis-grammar interface, lexemes in syntactic configurations, semantics-pragmatics distinction as a continuum, semantics and context (both linguistic and cultural), construction of meaning as a cognitive process, interlanguage and intercultural differences in meaning, etc.
Given the plurality of current thinking about semantics, papers will naturally represent different approaches and diverse theoretical persuasions. Both empirical and theory-based papers are welcome.

S5 Didactics of Diachrony

Seminar Leaders:
Jan Čermák (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Ondřej Tichý (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
In response to the overarching theme of the conference, this seminar proposes to create a forum that would bring together teachers of historical linguistics/history of English working in diverse linguistic traditions, methodological frameworks and curricula to discuss the present-day topicality and desirable formats of their discipline.
In particular, the forum should discuss this central issue in relation to some of the important sub-themes of the conference, such as recent diversification in linguistic and literary disciplines and reflection of interdisciplinary approaches in the teaching process.
Specifically, the forum should address the important concerns voiced by a number of linguists, e.g. Steen Schousboe (University of Copenhagen) of a few years back (

  • Does the growth in less traditional linguistic fields represent an onus, or rather a bonus, for our discipline?
  • How much room for the History of English/historical linguistics in the curricula should be devoted to general linguistic and sociolinguistic issues?
  • Should the effort to provide the students with an ability to read historical (i. e. medieval) texts be abandoned altogether? If not, how should the effort be best embedded in the format of the subject?

Further, the participants will be invited to discuss, along with their own professional concerns and pursuits, topics such as the following:

  • diachronic-synchronic analysis in class and in textbooks
  • reconciling the external and the internal factors of linguistic change in teaching
  • differences between the teaching of the History of English/historical linguistics to native and non-native speakers of English
  • digital applications in diachrony; use of electronic textbooks, texts and corpora
  • the role of philology (and what it has to offer to the students)
S6 Analysing Verbal Interaction in the Media

Seminar Leaders:
Jan Chovanec (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Marta Dynel (University of Łódź, Poland)
Seminar Description:
This seminar aims to bring together researchers who apply linguistically-oriented approaches to the study of discourse and verbal interaction in the media. The contributions can address a wide range of topics from both written and spoken media (including modern electronic media), such as political rhetoric and bias, representation of social actors and stereotyping, discourse structures and patterns, etc. We are looking for individual case studies based on specific data as well as for broader generalizations about current trends in the area of verbal communication in the media. The contributions are expected to come primarily from the fields of discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and genre analysis, though other approaches and inter-disciplinary applications are also welcome.

S7 Stereotyping in Media in English

Seminar Leaders:
Slávka Tomaščíková (P. J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia)
Božena Velebná (P. J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia)
Seminar Description:
Stereotypes are part of our shared cultures. They act like codes; they enable people to understand information quickly. At the same time, they reduce differences, simplify categories, and perpetuate social prejudice, inequality and inevitable misrepresentation of groups. Media does not escape the influence of stereotypes, both as a producer and as a subject. On the one hand, media has made stereotypical portrayals and reflected lack of diversity regarding aspects such as class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, politics and ideology, religion or occupation. On the other hand, media has also been the subject of stereotypes regarding issues such as quality, reliability, audiences, etc.
The seminar hopes to provide a forum for open discussion of the different kinds of stereotyping that can be found in both traditional print and broadcast media, and the new media in the UK, USA and other English speaking countries.

S8 Constructing Cultural Identity: Discourse, Performance, Fiction

Seminar Leaders:
Martin Procházka (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Blanka Maderová (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The seminar will explore diverse ways of constructing cultural identity in twentieth-century British and Irish, U.S. and Canadian literature, theatre and film. We welcome contributions discussing the performative and discursive, factual, historical and fictional aspects of cultural identities in relation to authenticity, subjectivity, temporality and otherness, and in view of recent and contemporary interdisciplinary developments in critical theory and cultural history, especially theories of performativity and narration, postcolonialism, performance studies and theatre anthropology.

S9 Canada and Canadian Studies – 1985–2010

Seminar Leader:
Don Sparling (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The beginnings of Canadian Studies in Czechoslovakia / the Czech Republic date back to the 1985/1986 academic year, when a course on Canadian Poetry was offered at the Department of English and American Studies of Masaryk (then J.E. Purkyně) University. In the twenty-five years since then, and particularly after 1989, Canadian Studies has expanded dramatically into further disciplines and spread to many other institutions.
At the same time, Canadian Studies itself has undergone many changes, reflecting the emergence of new areas of concern, the growth of innovative critical perspectives and, most importantly, a changing Canada. The aim of this seminar is to present papers that will in some way reflect this past quarter of a century of change in Canada and Canadian Studies. These may deal with such topics as changes on the literary scene, the emergence of new genres in Canadian literature, the development of a distinctive Canadian drama; multiculturalism twenty-five years ago and the phenomenon today; the re-emergence of the First Nations as a key element of the national discourse; changing cultural models and the role of pop culture; the Canadian feature film; reinterpretations of the historical past; the impact of the Constitution Act (1982) and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; changes brought by the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (1988) and NAFTA (1984), the shift in Canada’s international role. It is hoped that a wide range of disciplines will be represented.

S10 There and Back Again: The Return of the Middle Ages

Seminar Leaders:
Carlos A. Sanz Mingo (Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK)
María C. Sanz Casares (University of Valladolid, Spain)
Seminar Description:
We cannot deny that in modern Literature, in particular, and culture, in general, there is a rebirth of the Middle Ages. Umberto Eco was the first one to propose the term “Neomedievalism” in his article “Dreaming in the Middle Ages” (1973). Although some political ideas have been associated with the term, the most important ones are the cultural and, specifically, literary interpretations of the word, ranging from a post-modern study of Medievalism to the combination of popular fantasy and medieval history.
In the course of the discussion which tries to find an answer to the fascination that the Medieval has nowadays, thousands of literary works are published every year in different cultures: from local legends and history to more widespread cultural manifestations, such as, for instance, Arthuriana, people nowadays still enjoy the medieval culture.
We propose a seminar to discuss different medieval manifestations and to also try and find why medievalism still enjoys such popularity in today’s world.

S11 Fantasy, Fairy-tales and Young-adult Fiction in Contemporary Literary Studies

Seminar Leaders:
Kamila Vránková (South Bohemia University, České Budějovice, Czech Republic)
Šárka Bubíková, Ph.D. (Pardubice University, Pardubice, Czech Republic)
Marko Jandrić (South Bohemia University, České Budějovice, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
Though within literary studies children’s literature and young adult fiction have only been given a marginal attention, these works provide us with some remarkable material for a broad comparative analysis concerning different historical periods, genres, forms, themes and attitudes. Deeply rooted in an old European epic tradition, children’s fantasy and adventure narratives develop the same themes and patterns that can be observed in traditional epics, ballads, romances and novels.
The seminar aims at the search of the issues that can allow us to discuss particular examples of children’s fantasy in wider historical and theoretical contexts. Traditional approaches to literary texts can be employed as well as the ideas of contemporary philosophy and postmodern thought. Selected texts can be analysed individually or in their links to related literary, historical, social, philosophical or religious traditions.
Mutual, dialogic relations between the discussed texts and traditions will be treated with a specific regard to the questions and problems that transcend both literary and national boundaries, pointing towards the cultural, spiritual as well as ethical sources and challenges of our civilisation.
The contributors are invited to deal with particular authors and their works, fantasy films, translations, the significance of fantasy for both adult and young-adult audiences, spiritual and moral dimensions of fantasy, the new heroic and mythopoetic patterns, the questions of time, space and identity, the individual will and determinism, power relations, the themes of death and violence, the notions of alternative reality, the enticement of magic and the other. However, various other ideas and proposals concerning the subject are very much welcome.

S12 Women and the Grotesque

Seminar Leaders:
Soňa Šnircová (P. J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia)
Silvia Pokrivčáková (Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovakia; Catholic University, Ružomberok, Slovakia)
Seminar Description:
Paraphrasing Angela Carter one could say that we live in grotesque times. The permanent carnival of excessive consumption and endless entertainment produced by mass media has become part of our everyday lives. This carnivalization of postmodern society is paralleled by a more sophisticated carnivalization of postmodern literature. The grotesque that lies at the centre of these processes is a complex phenomenon whose definition remains open and unfinished, just like the grotesque body Bakhtin draws attention to in his study of Rabelais. Besides, as Mary Russo suggests, there is at least one important question that has not been raised either by Bakhtin or other writers of the grotesque (Kayser, McElroy, Barasch, Harpham) and that is the question of the specific nature of the female grotesque. The seminar will focus on this neglected problem bringing to discussion various aspects of the female grotesque, such as grotesque images of women in the literary texts by male and female authors and grotesque themes and motifs in women’s literature. Although it is expected that seminar discussion will be concerned primarily with literary texts, papers on the representations of the female grotesque in the media are also welcome.

S13 Translating Shakespeare

Seminar Leaders:
Anna Cetera (University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland)
Pavel Drábek (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The centrality of translations in the dissemination of Shakespeare's works has often privileged the stability of the canon over the intricacies of the process of translating. It is only recently that worldwide critical interest has – though somewhat leniently – shifted from a literary analytical approach to a translation-oriented one. Every nation has not only had key figures who mediated Shakespeare's works to their culture in terms of the overall intellectual scope, but also those who have elaborated specifically on the theory of translating Shakespeare – be it as literature or stage practice. The proposed seminar calls for papers addressing the history, theory, and practice of translating Shakespeare.

S14 Old and Middle English Literature between Genres

Seminar Leader:
Helena Znojemská (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
The seminar will address issues of genre delimitation and intergeneric communication in Old and Middle English literature, especially as regards the “utilitarian/factual” and “literary/fictional” categories. Suggested topics include: poetic entries in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; history as romance and romance as history in Middle English literature; social structures in law and literature.

S15 Integrating Research in Translation Studies

Seminar Leaders:
Renata Kamenická (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Jiří Rambousek (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
Based on the observation that despite calls for harmonization of research, unification of methodologies and replication of results for different language pairs, Translation Studies tend to underuse its potential for collaborative research efforts, the seminar is intended to provide speakers with an opportunity to present papers explicitly responding to existing research in Translation Studies and thus contribute to an integration of research results.

S16 Translation Studies – More than Recycling?

Seminar Leaders:
Renata Kamenická (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Jiří Rambousek (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)
Seminar Description:
Following the turns such as the cultural turn in Translation Studies or the Translation Studies Turn in Cultural Studies and given opinions that in the long run, concepts and ideas tend to be recycled in TS, it seems useful to ask the question whether the TS discourse has been “the old same old song” repeated all over again or whether the field indeed shows significant development and is alive with new melodies – new approaches bringing new, relevant results. The seminar is intended to provide ground for critical reviews of thinking and research in specific areas of TS in this respect while specific evidence for the latter is hoped for.

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