LINGUIST List 29.2976

Fri Jul 20 2018

Calls: Ling & Literature, Linguistic Theories/Italy

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Date: 20-Jul-2018
From: Dario Del Fante <>
Subject: The Scarlet Letters: Taboos of Language and Literature in the Contemporary Age
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Full Title: The Scarlet Letters: Taboos of Language and Literature in the Contemporary Age
Short Title: TabooPadova2019

Date: 09-Apr-2019 - 10-Apr-2019
Location: Padova, Italy
Contact Person: Dario Del Fante
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Ling & Literature; Linguistic Theories

Call Deadline: 30-Sep-2018

Meeting Description:

According to the famous definition of the historian of religions Mircea Eliade, ''what is called taboo [...] is the fact of things', or places', or persons', being cut off, or ''forbidden'', because contact with them is dangerous. Generally speaking, any object, action or person which either has naturally, or acquires by some shift of ontological level, force of a nature more or less uncertain, is, or becomes, taboo.'' (ELIADE 1958: 15-17). The concept of taboo was initially used with reference to socio-cultural realities bounded in space and time, and it was generally perceived through the interpretative filter of Eurocentrism. It has attracted a growing critical attention in the last two centuries, thanks to the increasingly relevant heuristic role assumed by it in disciplinary fields also very distant from those in which he was originally coined and studied. Indeed, soft and hard sciences have opened wide spaces of debate around this notion originated in ethnology and anthropology, adopting specific declinations of the general theme and, with this, demonstrating its flexibility. Pursuing the interdisciplinary orientation that characterizes the research activity of the Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies of the University of Padua, the conference intends to explore the modalities of perception and (re)codification of the taboo in the contemporary age, in reference to the two main scientific areas of address: linguistics and literary studies. By ''contemporary age'' we intend the timeframe that initiates with the end of World War II and extends to the present day. Literary texts from any traditions are welcome. The theme, declined in one or the other sense and immersed in the contradictions that dot the time in which we live, thus assumes a particular political value, leading to ask themselves the following questions: which dialectic the technologically advanced homo politicus of the New Millennium establishes, through language and literary art, with the sphere of the ontologically ''different''? With which ancient challenges is he summed to make further compromises? Has contemporaneity been able to neutralize taboos or, on the contrary, it has created new ones?

Call for Papers:

The scientific committee will consider any contribution inherent to the theme outlined and related to the different fields of study on the language, as well as to the variety of literary forms (prose, poetry, theatre, etc.). With the intention to intersect diversified methodologies and polyhedral approaches, the following research addresses will be privileged:

- Bioethics and linguistic taboos. Man, language and illness in the contemporary world: that which ''must not be said''. Linguistic tabulation of the most divisive bioethical issues (e.g. incurable diseases, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, identity and sexual fluidity);
- The ''politically correct'' as the creation of new linguistic taboos. Relative counter-reaction to this trend. Linguistic taboos and their breakdown as a basis for the construction of individual and/or collective identities;
- Linguistic taboos in translatology: problems of cultural transfer. What must (not) be translated and why;
- Linguistic taboos between formal linguistics and field research. The unknown-taboo in the formulation of theoretical models. Linguistic data and taboos: what must (not) appear in the searches and how to avoid falsifying the results.

Literary Studies:
- Geographical and cultural taboos: the limits of the utterable within national literary traditions. The stigmatization of themes, genres, characters, situations;
- Historical-political taboos: traumatic events and dramas removed from literary imagination;
- Aesthetic-bodily taboos: formulas of excess and scandal in literature. Biological, sexual and food taboos;
- Imaginary taboos: invention and articulation of the forbidden in fiction works;
- Invisible taboos: allusive schemes and escape styles to circumvent the ban;
- Embodied taboos: affirmation or suppression of taboos of the past represented by mythical-archetypal figures of the tradition (Oedipus, Don Giovanni etc.) re-actualized in contemporary literature.

Keynote speakers:
Alison Duguid (University of Siena)
Alan Partington (University of Bologna)
Daniele Giglioli (University of Bergamo)

All interested parties are invited to send their proposals via e-mail, in Italian or in English, to by Sunday, 30 September 2018. A formal request for participation in the conference must be indicated in the text of the message. It must also be specified whether the contribution is meant to be a talk or a poster presentation. Two files must be attached (in .doc or .pdf format), containing respectively the following information:

1. Name and surname, academic affiliation, personal contacts and a brief bio-bibliographic note (maximum 150 words);
2. Abstract with title (maximum of 600 words for the ordinary talks, maximum of 400 words for the poster presentations, spaces and any bibliography excluded). Each abstract must be anonymous and devoid of any information, direct or indirect (e.g. reference to their previous works), which can trace the identity of the author. Each abstract will be subjected to a double-blind peer review by the scientific committee, which will communicate to the people concerned the successful selection by Thursday, November 15, 2018.

The languages of the conference will be Italian and English. The duration of the interventions must not exceed 25 minutes. More specific information on the eventual publication of the documents will be provided later. No registration fee is required for participation in the conference. The costs for travel and accommodation are at the expense of the participants.
For any further information, please contact the address

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