Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia
College of Arts and Sciences, Salem State University
are happy to announce
Ties and Knots. Bridges between Lands and Cultures
Ustroń, Poland
September, 18th – 20th , 2014
The conference has been conceptualized as a forum of interdisciplinary academic debate which aims to investigate the dialogic (perhaps dialectical as well) relationships between socially dissimilar and topographically distant cultures. The metaphor of “bridges” becomes a scholarly construct gesturing towards globalization processes which – as the cultural understanding of the term wishes to indicate – pave the way for the intensification of cross-cultural and cross-ethic interactions taking place within global socio-political systems whose scope goes well beyond the well-entrenched boundaries of local traditions or regional political structures chief among which is the national state.
The idea of bridges is also an invitation to theorize on the processes of individual and collective identity formation with respect to contemporary multicultural societies (Great Britain, the USA, Canada). The processes, philologically speaking, are necessitated by the willingness to understand and accept the language/languages of the Other, to bridge the chasm of mutual misunderstanding, distrust or suspicion. In this way, approaching the Other cannot be conceived as a purely linguistic challenge. Its cultural and moral (ethical) dimensions are also manifested by the critical imperative to overcome cultural differences by means of postulating a shared sphere of symbolic resources whose norms and values may pave the way for the emergence of multilateral relations, generalized trust expectations and communicative rationalities.
            Additionally, the conference is an attempt to delineate a methodological framework for discourses and theories that purport to conceptualize cultural spaces which – as opposed to objective, geographical areas – are characterized by the propensity to bind topographical distances by means of symbolic ties which foster and facilitate the familiarization of geographical places and subsume them within the perimeter of shared discourses of culture. The metaphor of knots, however, is also inviting a discussion of bonds that are so tightly entangled (for better or for worse, and in Darwinian discourse it defines his theory of evolution) as to become problematic and, perhaps, unresolvable. Needless to say, the conference becomes an opportunity to discuss the idea of space (but also what transcends “space and time” as in metaphorical bridges) which is conceived as a cultural construct in statu nascendi, a distinct product of signifying practices, rather than an objective dimension of human practice.
            When approached from a different perspective, ties, knots and bridges may function as metaphors illustrating methodological challenges and opportunities associated with cross-disciplinary discourses, projects or disciplines in the humanities, arts or social sciences. The conference, consequently, aims to explore processes by which supposedly dissimilar theories, concepts or notions are yoked by scholarly ingenuity to create the discordia concors of contemporary academic practices.   
More specifically, the papers are expected to address possible juxtapositions and intersections of the following in socio-cultural, literary and other discourses:
·        spatial and temporal dimensions of cultural practice;
·        religious and ethical “ties and knots” between lands and cultures;
·        inter-connections between historical/literary/cultural epochs;
·        cross-cultural relations that are problematically entangled together (“cultural knots” or “Gordian knots” across cultures);
·        discourses of cultural entanglement and cultural ensnarement, both on individual and social levels;
·        cutting through cultural ties and attempts at disentangling relations in space, time and culture.
·        theories of trust, social capital and intercultural competence;
·        discourses of globalization, hybridization and cultural assimilation;
·        mediascapes: digital networks and virtual realties as distinct forms of cultural spaces;
·        transport and communication: technology vs. humanities;
·        spaces and places as phenomenological categories;
·        the social construction of urban and rural spaces;
·        aesthetic bridges (accolades) between various cultures (in music, poetry and visual arts);
·        methodological problems connected  with contemporary cross-disciplinary initiatives;
·        critiques of relationships between disciplines, arts, genres and discourses;
·        bridging the impossible: utopianism in sciences, political discourses and the history of ideas; 
·        new spaces to occupy; new ideological spectacles in the age of Facebook and digital media.
Abstracts of papers within the range of 200-250 words should be submitted by e-mail to by February 20th, 2014. The proposals should include the participant’s name, academic title, affiliation, e-mail address as well as a short biographical note (100 words, approx.).
The notifications of acceptance will be sent via e-mail by March 5th, 2014. CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS WILL BE PUBLISHED.
Queries regarding the conference can be sent to:
Please note that the relevant details concerning accommodation and conference fees will be provided in the subsequent CFP.  
  • Prof. Jude Nixon, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Salem State University, MA, USA.
  • Prof. Ewa Borkowska, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.
  • Dr. Agnieszka Adamowicz-Pośpiech, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.
  • Dr. Rafał Borysławski, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.
  • Dr. Tomasz Burzyński, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.
  • Dr. Tomasz Kalaga, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.
  • Dr. Maciej Nowak, Institute of English and American Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland.