CFP: Under Western Eyes. Central and Eastern Europe(ans) in North American Literature, Culture, and History – May 15-16, 2025 – University of Wrocław, Poland

On behalf of the organizers, we would like to invite you to the conference co-organized by members of our association. Read the CFP below.

Lisa Grekul, a Ukrainian Canadian scholar and writer, concludes her interesting and personal Introduction to Leaving Shadows with a famous statement: “Write your stories down, make your voices heard” (2005: xxiii, emphasis in the original). In this way, she calls for a systematic reflection on ethnic and diasporic writing by Central and Eastern Europeans in North American literary, cultural, and historical contexts. The importance of writing one’s own story – expressed by Grekul and many other North American authors of Central and Eastern European descent – is also a response to the long history of stereotypical and highly problematic depictions of the region in North American literature and (popular) culture. The conference will focus on studying the various depictions of broadly-understood Central and Eastern Europe in works produced by émigré and diasporic authors and creators, as well as its mainstream representations. We are also interested in the changing historical and socio-political discourses regarding the place of Central and Eastern Europeans in North America. We seek submissions which would address the representations of migration to North America and contextualize the diasporic experience of various groups through the lens of literature, variegated texts of culture, as well as from historical perspectives. Through the interrogation of the suggested themes as well as the ones listed below, the conference aims at bringing together scholars from different disciplines as well as working in two languages: Polish and English.

We would like to invite discussions on the following and related issues:

  • Central and Eastern Europe in American and Canadian literature, including commercial fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s and young adult literature, and comics;
  • Anglophone and non-anglophone writing by émigré and diasporic authors;
  • Central and Eastern Europe in (popular) culture (press, film, TV, internet, video games);
  • History of immigration, including the relations of Central and Eastern Europeans with Indigenous Peoples, and its representations in literature and culture;
  • Representations of memory, identity, otherness, home, religion, war, and liminality;
  • Whiteness and race in the context of Central and Eastern Europeans;
  • Central and Eastern European Jewishness in North American literature and culture;
  • Ethnic and gender stereotypes associated with Central and Eastern Europeans;
  • Translations and reception of Central and Eastern European literature in North America.

Please send an abstract of 300 words maximum and a short biography of 100 words as a single Word document to: apply this subject line: Under Western Eyes 2025

Deadline for abstract submission:  October 31, 2024. Notification of acceptance:  December 15, 2024. Registration: January 7- February 28, 2025

All submissions are reviewed by the members of the Organizing Committee. All abstracts and papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English or Polish. Papers will be 20 minutes maximum, followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Conference fee:

450 PLN/100 €

300 PLN/70  €  – reduced fee for graduate students and early career scholars

Confirmed plenary speakers:

Prof. Anastasia Ulanowicz (University of Florida)

Prof. dr hab. Janusz Pasterski (University of Rzeszów)

Organizing Committee:

Dr. habil. Mateusz Świetlicki (lead convenor) – Institute of English Studies (University of Wrocław)

Dr. habil. Dagmara Drewniak –  Faculty of English (Adam Mickiewicz University)

Dr. Sylwia Kamińska-Maciąg –  Institute of Slavic Studies (University of Wrocław)

Dr. Izabella Kimak – Institute of Linguistics and Literature (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University)

Anna Bartnicka, MA (secretary) – Institute of English Studies (University of Wrocław)


Fulbright Poland