The English Department of the University of Bucharest invites proposals for the Literature and Cultural Studies section of its 21st Annual International Conference:


Trauma, Narrative, Responsibility


Dates: 6–8 June, 2019

Venue: The Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,

         Str. Pitar Mos 7–13, Bucharest, Romania


Confirmed keynote speakers:

Prof. Sean Cotter (University of Texas at Dallas)

Dr. Marie-Luise Kohlke (Swansea University)

Prof. Noemi Marin (Florida Atlantic University)

Prof. Susana Onega (University of Zaragoza)

Prof. Nicolas Tredell (University of Sussex)


        In recent years, since Cathy Caruth’s Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History (1996) and Dominick LaCapra’s Writing History, Writing Trauma (2001), trauma studies has developed continuously as a field of research. This follows primarily the increasing recognition of the Holocaust and its intergenerational aftermath, as well as of the victims of genocide, mass persecution, war and terror (see especially Marianne Hirsch, The Generation of Postmemory, 2012 and Astrid Erll, “Generation in Literary History,” 2014). In Eastern Europe after 1989, the need to rewrite history in a “truthful” way, free from the ideological contamination of left-wing dictatorships, has foregrounded the importance of remembering, unveiling, narrating and repairing the collective and individual traumas embedded in the memory of the contemporary world (see Uilleam Blacker, Alexander Etkind and Julie Fedor’s Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe, 2013; Georges Mink and Laure Neumayer’s Memory Games, 2013).

        Narratives of and discourses on trauma – as a result of, for example, abuse, accident, illness, oppression, war – have become pervasive in global culture and they circulate in a wide variety of forms including blogs, films, videos, social media postings, legal testimonies, print articles and books. They often evoke strong emotions and provoke action, as perhaps best reflected in Nancy K. Miller and Jason Tougaw’s edited collection Extremities. Trauma, Testimony and Community (2002). Many scholars have especially developed these directions of research by conducting analyses of the representations of trauma in literary and media culture (see especially Ann Kaplan’s Trauma Culture, 2005 and Anne Rothe’s Popular Trauma Culture, 2011). Furthermore, Leigh Gilmore (“‘What Was I?’ Literary Witness and the Testimonial Archive,” 2011; Tainted Witness, 2017) has focused on how literary narratives of trauma contribute to legal and human rights discourses of trauma with genre-specific and gender-specific alternative forms of witnessing and agency. Such scholarly concerns give rise to significant questions that AICED 2019 will address: how should those involved in the analysis of both past and present factual and fictional narrative and discourse, as cultural and literary critics, historians and scholars, understand and analyze them in ways that are both sensitive to the experiences narrated and discussed, and intellectually and ethically responsible?


        Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

– narrating collective trauma, mass repression and genocide

– parallel histories of collective trauma: the Holocaust, African American slavery, communist repression

– responsible responses to trauma and forms of exclusion (race, gender, ethnicity, religion)

– personal trauma as reflected on the human psyche

– the impact of individual trauma upon family and community

– repressed trauma – a generator of inadequacy and suffering

– trauma, memory and recovery

– narrative as reparation of trauma

– genres of narrative and trauma (specifics of literary, visual, legal, oral, human rights narratives)

– reflections of trauma in the visual and performing arts

– physical, emotional and spiritual reverberations of trauma

– individual, collective and institutionalized accounts of trauma

– the ethics of representing personal and collective trauma

– the affective dimension of trauma representation and reception 

– the transcultural, transnational and transgenerational transmission of trauma narratives and discourses

– the representation of perpetrators and perpetrator trauma

– the politics of trauma, narrative and responsibility in a globalized world

– the trauma of exile and its impact over generations


Conference presentations should be in English, and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 200 words. Proposals should be in .doc or .docx format, and should also include (within the same document) name and institutional affiliation, a short bio (no more than 100 words), and e-mail address. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organized by the participant) will also be considered.

We look forward in particular to hosting a panel organized by the Romanian Studies Association of America, applying a Romanian Studies perspective to aspects of the conference theme.

A selection of papers from the conference will be published in University of Bucharest Review (ISSN 2069–8658; listed on Scopus, EBSCO (Literary Reference Centre Plus), CEEOL, and Ulrichsweb; CNCS category B). See the guidelines for contributors at .

Deadline for proposals: 30 March 2019

Please send proposals (and enquiries) to

The conference fee of 50 euro (or 200 lei if paid in Romanian currency) is payable in cash on registration, and covers lunches and refreshments during the conference, but not evening meals.

For further details and updates, see: .

(Enquiries regarding the Theoretical and Applied Linguistics section of the conference, which will be running at the same time, should be sent to


We look forward to welcoming you in Bucharest,

The Organizing Committee:

Dr Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru

Alexandra Bacalu

Dr Alina Bottez

Dr James Brown

Antonia Gîrmacea

Dr Eliana Ionoaia

Dr Dragoș Manea

Prof. Mădălina Nicolaescu

Dr Cristian Vîjea

Dr Ioana Zirra


Advisory Board:

Dr Nazmi Ağıl (Koç University, Istanbul)

Prof. Bart Eeckhout (University of Antwerp)

Prof. José Manuel Estévez-Saá  (University of A Coruña)

Dr Felicity Hand (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Prof. Michael Hattaway (New York University, London)

Prof. Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow)

Prof. Thomas Leitch (University of Delaware)

Dr Chris Louttit (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

Prof. Domnica Rădulescu (Washington and Lee University, Lexington)

Prof. Kerstin Shands (Södertörn University)

Prof. Nicolas Tredell (University of Sussex)