Call for Papers:

Modernity & the European Mind: Writing the Past, Constructing Identities.

A two-day international symposium hosted by the Centre for Studies in Literature at the University of Portsmouth.

Thursday, 16th June & Friday, 17th June 2016


In 1953, L.P. Hartley famously opened his novel The Go Between with the line « The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there ». Yet, despite this alleged ‘difference’ and metaphorical ‘foreignness’ of the past, contemporary Culture and Literature puts great emphasis on (re)presentations of it. This conference aims to investigate and debate the various representations and rewritings of the modern European past and, in particular, to assess their link to the construction of identities – personal, local, regional, national. Bringing together academics from a variety of disciplines, creative practitioners, storytellers and representatives of various local communities, the conference wants to create a sense of (his)stories of the past and their importance in and for the present.


Topics may include:


–        Uses of the past / memory in modern European culture

–        National, local and regional identities

–        Stories of minority communities in Europe, past and present

–        Minority Literatures (and their translations)

–        The importance of the ‘past’ for the creation of local, regional and national identities

–        The representation of local communities in literature

–     second-generation memory and identity

–     personal memories and their importance for identity


Keynote speakers: Catherine Bernard (Paris) and tbc


There will be a public evening event on Thursday, June 16th including performances by singer-songwriter Paul Armfield; poet / singer-songwriter and academic Jules Wolfreys; and Drut’syla Shonaleigh, as well as an exhibition by artist Josie Beszant.


Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words and a brief bio sketch to Dr Christine Berberich, by 14th February 2016.