Norm and Anomaly in Literature, Culture, and Language 19-20 September 2016

Franciszek Karpiński Institute for Regional Culture and Literary Research, Siedlce POLAND
contact email:
normanomaly2016@gmail.com

Norm and anomaly have long constituted a binary opposition whose boundaries are becoming increasingly blurry and open to scrutiny. What precisely does the ‘norm’ mean? Which political, economic, and social forces play a decisive role in producing the ‘norm’? How is the ‘norm’ endorsed through the construction of the ‘anomaly’? And how does the ‘anomaly’ contest the ‘norm’? Can the ‘norm’ be anomalous when viewed as a discursive practice and a form of ideological control? And can the ‘anomaly’ be an integral part of the ‘norm’ without losing its subversive and oppositional character?

This conference invites you to explore norm and anomaly from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives in literary and cultural studies, linguistics and teaching methodology.

As a theme in literary and cultural studies, norm and anomaly pertain to representations of transformed and transformative spaces. These include eerie landscapes, geographies of hope and despair, and sites of post-human activity, all of which have featured prominently in such modes of writing as environmental, risk, and speculative fiction. We also invite papers that address forms of expression and repression in modern and contemporary British and US culture. The problem and problematic of order and chaos, autonomy and oppression, harmony and discord open up further avenues for exploring norm and anomaly through reference to theatre, film, visual arts, television, computer and video games.

The linguistic aspect of norm and anomaly relates to the regularities and/or irregularities of linguistic usage, and to the ways in which norms and anomalies affect linguistic form and meaning or limit language use, its study and understanding. We invite proposals from intra- and interdisciplinary perspectives, such as constitute all areas of theoretical and applied linguistics – from semantics and sociolinguistics through morphology and historical linguistics to pragmatics, translation studies, and lexicography.

As a concern in teaching methodology, norm and anomaly are inseparable from the status of English as a global lingua franca. Across the world, English is part of the school curriculum, which results in the need to test the students’ skills formally. However, the focus on fluency and communicativeness frequently weakens accuracy requirements, and the gravity of errors is assessed against non-native speakers’ subjective judgements. The gap between the ultimate yet not fully attainable goal and the reality of the ELT classroom calls for redefining the parameters of teaching English in response to a number of questions: Is there still one set of norms learners should follow? Or, do norms vary depending on the learner’s progress and learning environment? Which language is the ‘norm’ – the English of the social media or the English of the classroom?

Further possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Conventionality vs. nonconformity, normativity vs. transgression
– Order vs. chaos and anarchy, hegemony vs. opposition, protest and rebellion
– Evolution and continuity vs. revolution and disruption
– Alienation and appropriation vs. inclusion and communality
– Beauty and body cultivation vs. deformity and mutilation
– Language as a rule-governed system vs. language as a usage-based model
– Morphological, lexical, syntactic, and phonological variation
– Sociocultural norms (formality vs. informality/politeness vs. impoliteness)
– Transparency vs. opacity of meaning
– Equivalence vs. non-equivalence in translation
– Standard vs. non-standard varieties of English
– Idiomaticity vs. non-idiomaticity in the language classroom
– Accuracy vs. fluency
– Testing vs. assessment

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Prof. Dr hab. Helga Schwalm, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Dr hab. Liudmila Liashchova, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities
Dr hab. Ireneusz Kida, University of Silesia in Katowice

The conference will take place in Siedlce, Poland, on 19-20 September 2016.

Proposals for individual 20-minute papers should include an abstract of 200-250 words, as well as the name, institutional affiliation, a 100-word biography of the author, and the title of the paper.

Please send proposals by 30 June 2016 to: normanomaly2016@gmail.com. All other enquiries may be addressed to Dr Joanna Stolarek at:stolarekj@uph.edu.pl. We aim to notify all applicants by 31 July 2016.

The conference fee of PLN 350 or € 80 will cover conference materials, coffee breaks, 2 lunches, and a wine reception.

Post-conference articles will be put forward for review. Selected articles will be published in a collective monograph in the ‘Transatlantic Studies in British and American Culture’ series by Peter Lang Verlag, or in Studia Anglica Sedlcensia in 2017.

Conference organizers

Prof. Dr hab. Leszek Kolek
Prof. Dr hab. Liudmila Liashchova
Prof. Dr hab. Roman Mnich
Dr Joanna Stolarek (conference secretary)
Dr Maxim Shadurski
Dr Jarosław Wiliński
Mgr Agnieszka Wróbel
Mgr Jowita Buńko