Boundaries / Frontières

The English Department at the Institut Supérieur des Langues, GABES,
is pleased to announce its second forthcoming conference on

April 23-24, 2010

"Even the self, that is, has its boundaries fixed or unsettled by
language", Geoffrey H. Hartman

Boundaries, or demarcation lines, are as old as human thought itself.
In the Hellenistic age, distinctions between diegesis and mimesis were
sharply drawn by both Plato (Republic) and Aristotle (Poetics),
generating, thereby, the division between genres and modes of
thinking. Today, with the spirit of globalization prevailing over the
third millennium, the notion of boundaries has acquired an awkward
status that is reflected either in a marked irreducibility to a
determined- and determining- definition, or in significant subversive
procedures. While boundaries entail possibilities of inclusion,
community and togetherness, they also suggest seclusion, individuality
and otherness. As Hillis Miller puts it : "A boundary is a curious
thing."

In a world that praises itself for the promotion of democracy and
freedom on the one hand, and that manifestly calls for
multidisciplinarity and hybrid knowledges on the other, the very
notion of boundaries is, then, problematized. Shifting, crossing,
blurring, dislocation, destabilization, etc ? of boundaries have become
worldwide commonplace expressions. However, where certain walls have
been demolished, others are being constructed with unprecedented vigor.
Various approaches have recognized that un/consciously and
un/intentionally, boundaries may entail wider considerations of
cultural, social, economic, political, religious, linguistic and
psychological factors. Accordingly, the relevance of the notion of
boundaries stems essentially from its openness to a controversial
debate in relation to identity, selfhood and belonging. It is the
purpose of this conference to rethink, re-evaluate, and interrogate
the nature, implications, significance, and signification of
boundaries. The conference invites submissions that tackle this issue
from any pertinent disciplinary perspective. Topics may include, but
are not limited to, the following :

  •  Boundaries and their relevance to feminist criticism.
  •  Boundaries and gender relations.
  •  Boundaries and language acquisition, competence, and learning.
  •  Community and the outlines of social boundaries as far as conformity/ nonconformity/ repulsion/ reward ? are concerned.
  •  Boundaries and telecommunications in a world of information flows.
  •  Boundaries in relation to comparative literature and their impact on the tempting prospects of cosmopolitan literature.
  •  Boundaries and literary genres.
  •  Boundaries and theology.
  •  Boundaries and translation : to what extent is it possible to create fluid zones by means of various sorts of interactions ?
  •  Cultural boundaries : in a multicultural world, how relevant are boundaries to such notions as identity, adaptation, assimilation etc ??
  •  Geographical boundaries and their significance for the preservation
    of sovereignty and autonomy.

    To participate, please submit your abstract (max. 300 words) and a
    brief biographical statement on any related theme to the organizing committee :

  •  Radhia FLAH GAIECH
  •  Mourad TABBOUBI
  •  Abdelhamid RHAIEM

    Key Dates :

  •  Abstract submission due : February 20, 2010.
  •  Notification of participants : February 28, 2010.