Round Tables

RT1 Literary Journalism and R/Evolution

John S. Bak, Université de Lorraine, France,
David Abrahamson, Northwestern University, USA,
Julie Wheelwright, University of London, England,
Talal Hawshar, Masaryk University, Czech Republic,

Literary journalism – a genre of nonfiction prose that lies at the conceptual intersection of literature and journalism – can be the best vehicle to tell certain kinds of stories, ones that foreground the processes of individual, sociocultural and/or political transformation. These are the narratives that call for in-depth reporting, the use of literary techniques and a clear authorial point of view. And since one of the markers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is the accelerating pace of geopolitical change, literary journalism is well positioned to provide the necessary insight and political commentary to explain and comprehend these changes. Inspired by political events at the upcoming venue – with the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, the namesake of the ESSE host university, Tomas Masaryk, became the founding father of Czechoslovakia, and the host city Brno later became an important focus for the Velvet Revolution – the proposed roundtable session will focus on the nature of social change in all its forms.

RT2 Unpacking Anti-Gender Campaigns in the Context of Rising Populism in Europe

Erzsébet Barát, University of Szeged, Hungary,
Pilar Cuder-Domínguez, University of Huelva, Spain,
Zuzanna Sanches, University of Lisbon, Portugal,
Katharina Wiedlack, University of Vienna, Austria

In the wake of the end of the cold war Europe has experienced several waves of backlash against feminist scholarship. The strategic opposition in the current “war on gender” calls for solidarity and networking amongst us, scholars doing gender/sexuality studies in English Studies programs. How can we contest the hostile accusation of so-called “gender-ideology”, the rhetoric of reframing (some) loss of privilege as a loss of "rights"? What are the modes of action and strategies we can share in the face of such hostile dispositions? How to expose the populist implications of such attacks articulated in neoconservative appeals to ‘family values’, ‘pro-life’ choices and in the systemic attacks on critical research and thinking that is the backbone of humanities degrees? What are the promising achievements of feminist/queer knowledge production countering the appropriation of “gender” as the symbolic weapon by (far-)right populism.

RT3 Cross-Border Dynamics: Mediation and Hybridity across the British Isles, Italy and France

Roundtable jointly chaired by:
Antonella Braida, Université de Lorraine, France.
Céline Sabiron, Université de Lorraine, France; and Oxford University (Wolfson College).

Alberto Gabriele,
Ph.D., Habil. Prof., Italy. “Cross-Border Dynamics: Mediation and Hybridity in the Nineteenth Century Culture Industry”.
Paola Gaudio, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Italy. “The Translator’s Poetics in the Italian Translations of Jane Eyre”.
Matthew Reynolds, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. “Prismatic Jane Eyre: Close-Reading a Global Novel across Languages”.

This roundtable will focus on the articulation between geopolitical, linguistic and cultural borders to question the stability of so-called “national” literatures and cultural products, and to study their crossborder and crosscultural dynamics. After exploring two case studies on the Italian translations of Jane Eyre (by Paola Gaudio) and the Nineteenth Century Culture Industry (by Alberto Gabriele), RT3 will hear Matthew Reynolds present the methodology and first results of the collaborative research project “Prismatic Jane Eyre: Close-Reading a Global Novel across Languages”. This project, which involves about 30 researchers with as many languages, explores how to analyse, theorise and visualise the co-existence of a global text in many hundreds of translations. It is funded by the AHRC as part of its Open World Research Initiative programme in Creative Multilingualism.  

Antonella Braida and Céline Sabiron will eventually raise questions linked to their research project on cross-cultural and cross border dynamics, France, Great Britain and Italy, at the Université de Lorraine. These questions will pertain to the role of intermediaries in general, and of the translator in particular, as being part of a complex network of mediators whose linguistic and cognitive choices have a crucial impact on the reception of a text.

RT4 Meeting of the Gender Studies Network

Işil Baş, Bogaziçi University, Turkey,
Florence Binard, University of Paris Diderot, France,
Renate Haas, University of Kiel, Germany,
María Socorro Suárez Lafuente, University of Oviedo, Spain,

The GSN meeting is meant as a get-together of all ESSE members interested in extending a gender perspective within and from our association. Professor Haas and panellists will give an account of what has been done since Galway-16 and summarize the next actions to be taken. Then the floor will be open to all present in order to articulate and discuss proposals for the near future, such as access to the social media, the organizing of seminars and summer courses and the participation in the Doctoral Symposium, and with the ESSE Conference 2020 on the horizon. New ideas welcome.

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