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Gdańsk Scottish Studies Research Group

CFP: International ASLS conference: EMPIRES AND REVOLUTIONS

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International ASLS conference
Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling, 3–5 July 2015


The Association for Scottish Literary Studies Annual Conferences, alternating one-day and longer conferences annually, have always had an international outlook, reflecting the international role of the ASLS in leading the celebration and promotion of Scottish literature. Now the triennial World Congress of Scottish Literature has been launched with the full support of the ASLS, the Association in its worldwide role has resolved to complement the Congresses by ensuring that in the intervening years at least one of its Annual Conference will be the longer format and supported by an international Call for Papers. In Congress years, the annual conference will continue to follow the one-day format. In the light of this and given the welcome success of the World Congress in which the ASLS takes great pride, we are pleased to invite submission of abstracts for papers to be presented at the 2015 ASLS Conference, to be held in Stirling on the weekend of 3-5 July 2015. Non-ASLS members are also welcome to attend and participate.

The European age of empires is marked by encounter, exchange, conflict and mobility on an unprecedented global scale. ‘Networks of people, goods and capital’ (Magee / Thompson, Empire and Globalisation, 2010) mobilised by empires in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries enforce a process of globalisation that continues to the present day. However, the expansion of authoritarian empires and capitalist systems across the world is also inextricably linked with the birth and diffusion of revolutionary discourses (in terms of race, nation or social class): the quest for emancipation; political independence; economic equality.

R.B Cunninghame Graham (1852–1936), in both his life and his oeuvre, most effectively represents the complex interaction between imperial and revolutionary discourses in this dramatic period. Writer, journalist, international traveller, adventurer, champion of democratic liberties, left-wing radical and Scottish nationalist (successively president of the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP), Cunninghame Graham was a key literary and political figure during this eventful period in Scottish and global history. His cosmopolitan biography aligns him with contemporary interest in migration, transculturalism and the rise of global citizenship. Of mixed Scottish and Spanish family background, he was bilingual in English and Spanish, lived in Britain, Belgium and Argentina, and travelled in South and North America, Spain and North Africa. His travels and migrations correspond with current interest in Scottish involvements with European imperialisms. At the same time, Cunninghame Graham’s involvement in the Scottish Home Rule movement and the nationalist parties can be seen as part of an ‘anticolonial’ initiative which sets these Scottish political trends in relation to international anticolonial movements in Ireland, India and Africa. His combination of nationalist and socialist sympathies also set an interesting precedent for present-day Scottish politics, where nationalist and left-wing agendas (of varying degrees of radicalism) are likewise often intertwined. As a writer, he is not only interesting for his own work (which includes short stories, travel writing, histories and biographies), but also for his dynamic relationship with (and influence on) other key authors, such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Bernard Shaw or Joseph Conrad.

The highly international dimension of Cunnighame Graham’s life and work makes him an ideal focal point to inaugurate a new initiative within the established series of ASLS conferences, one which is particularly geared to furthering the international dimension of Scottish literary studies.

This 2015 conference aims to promote inter-disciplinary scholarly engagement with Cunnighame Graham and his time, with particular emphasis on issues of globalisation, empire, colonialism and postcolonialism, democracy, civil rights and social justice. We also invite papers on other Scottish writers and intellectuals who engaged with these themes between 1850 and 1950.

As always, the ASLS Annual Conference invites papers from scholars, whether university-based or not, and will be of interest to knowledgeable members of the public as well as academic scholars. The 2015 conference will be co-ordinated by the convenors, Professor Carla Sassi, Chair of the ASLS International Committee, and Dr Silke Stroh, with the support of an organising committee including Professor Alan Riach, Jim Alison, Alan McGillivray, Ronnie Renton, Lorna Smith and Professor Ian Brown.


We warmly welcome contributions from scholars and PhD students in the fields of Scottish Studies, English Literary Studies, Irish Studies or Postcolonial Studies. We also invite proposals from any other disciplinary backgrounds in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Abstracts (not longer than 300 words) for 20-minute papers should be submitted by Friday 30 January 2015 by email. Please submit a short biographical note (c. 100 words) along with your abstract. Submissions should be made directly to both conference convenors who will consult with the organising committee before inviting participation.

Prof. Carla Sassi (University of Verona, Italy)
Dr. Silke Stroh (Universities of Muenster and Mainz/Germersheim, Germany)

For more information, see:


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