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Università degli Studi di Genova

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Representing alterity in society in crisis

The construction and representation of the Other in society and in texts

28/07/2014 - 31/07/2014 -

Despite claims of progress being made in the removal of barriers to equal opportunity, the facts often belie the situation, since the creation and maintenance of Alterity continues to represent a mode of subjugation and/or an instrument employed to keep social groups divided and so create or maintain inequality among them.

Indeed, in the world we live in boundaries are always in a state of flux, "responding" to (reacting to and shaping) socio-economic and historical forces and adapting to meet new "needs". In this light, the Other has been variously identified in terms of class, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, depending on time and place, and Otherness has certainly not been overcome as a means of division. What should not be forgotten is that the opposition to the Other has always represented an efficacious tool to divide and rule, as the racist discourses on class, ethnicity, gender, age or religion bring out forcefully, and Otherness continues to be exploited to political, economic and social ends, a phenomenon whose importance increases in most societies, where the divide between rich and poor is growing continually, where the earth’s resources are continually wasted, and exploited to the benefit of the richer parts of the globe.
The conference thus welcomes papers tackling any issue related to the creation, enforcement and maintenance of Alterity, or examining concrete situations and their representation. Two broad types of contributions are encouraged: a) theoretical approaches, and b) analyses of case studies.
With regard to theoretical approaches, contributions are welcome which investigate and pinpoint the actual means and processes by which Otherness and identity are constructed and maintained, as well as adapted to changing socio-political conditions.

Analyses of texts, including multimodal texts, are also encouraged.
Thus contributions are sought from linguists, discourse analysts, stylisticians, historical linguists, literary critics, film and multimodal theorists, communication theorists, but also from sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, criminologists, political scientists, economists, historians, philosophers, educationalists and others working in domains dealing with texts in which any form of Alterity and/or resistance to inequality is represented, discussed or analysed, and/or in which the underlying ideology and discourse on Alterity is investigated.
Keynote speakers include Prof. Lesley Jeffries (Chair of English, University of Huddersfield), Prof. Zoltan Kovecses (Professor of Linguistics, University of Budapest), Prof. Abioseh Porter (Head of English, Drexel University), Prof. Vincenzo Ruggiero (Professor of Sociology, Middlesex University), Prof. Michael Toolan (Professor of English Language, University of Birmingham).
The conference language is English, as will be the ensuing publication.

Please send abstracts up to 300 words to John Douthwaite (, Daniela Francesca Virdis ( and Elisabetta Zurru ( by April 30th, 2014. Abstracts should be sent as Word attachments. Please include your full name, academic title, affiliation, postal address, email address, the title of your presentation and five keywords. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by May 7th, 2014.

Segnalato da Elisabetta Zurru

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