CfP: “Boundaries”, UNISA, South Africa (Abstract deadline: 15th April)

We are delighted to announce the 4th International Interdisciplinary Biennial Conference at the University of South Africa (UNISA), Department of English Studies. The conference will take place in September, 2nd-6th, at Valley Lodge (South Africa).


This is a call for papers on the theme of the conference: “Boundaries”.

Boundaries can literally be defined as limits, limiting factors, borders or barriers. The term connotes the idea of restriction in both a physical and ideological sense. In social and cultural discourses, the idea of boundaries can be understood as a metaphysical notion to describe various ideas which are the foundations of all forms of discrimination and prejudice based on issues such as patriarchy, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religious affiliation and other forms of classification. Examples of such conceptions of boundaries in colonial, postcolonial, poststructuralist and postmodern discourses include the practices of stereotyping or othering.

In literary, cultural and other disciplines located in the humanities, the task of scholars is usually to deconstruct such boundaries. Hence, we engage in scholarly projects which engender notions of rising above boundaries, breaking boundaries, transgressing boundaries and transcending boundaries. In this case, we challenge fixed ideas of cultural, ethnic and national limits, whereby ideas of transnationality and globalisation become prominent. The conference will take to task socially constructed boundaries around gender, race and sexuality, unravelling the manifold ways in which entrenched behaviour both influences our perceptions of difference and constructs new barriers to difference.


Knowledge production in these fields continues to challenge our critical consciousness as we move deeper into the 21st century.  At the same time, it is important that we also consider engaging in discussions around the idea of boundaries as symptomatic of containment, stability and order. In English language studies, one can talk of boundaries in relation to language learning. Rules of grammar continue to inform how we teach language, especially in a multilingual context such as South Africa. Effective teaching and learning often involve identifying barriers to achieving proficiency in English or any other second language. Similarly, different approaches to teaching or learning English can expose particular types of boundaries in methodologies. In disciplines such as political science and law, the idea of boundaries is not antithetical to notions of stability and order.

The concept of boundaries presents limitless possibilities for scholarly engagement.

Following its previous successful conferences on “Time” (2016), “Home” (2014) and “Memory” (2012),the Department of English Studies at UNISA now presents “Boundaries” as the theme of the 2018 International Interdisciplinary Biennial Conference. The conference will investigate this dynamic subject from the perspectives of literature and language, as well as related disciplines in the humanities and beyond. The theme of “Boundaries” is taken broadly to include as many perspectives as possible, whilst providing a focused environment for discussion. Also of interest is the exploration of the ‘middle ground’ between diametrically opposed concepts, places, ideas, arguments, people or peoples, time periods, and institutions, as well as the circumstances in which these dichotomies should be challenged. To this end, we hereby invite submissions related, but not limited, to the following sub-themes:

-Geographies, Localities and Borders

-Metaphysical and Ideological Boundaries

-Crossing Borders in Gender and Sexuality

-Space, Liminality and Transgression

-Scientific Breakthroughs

-Time, Memory and Home

-Migration and Diaspora

-Transnationality and Globalisation


-Genocide, War and Ethnic Conflicts

-Voice and Agency

-Human/Nature Binary and the Ecocritical Project

-Otherness, Othering and Postcolonial Criticism

-Social Media and Alternative Facts

-Rules in English Language Teaching and Learning

-Translanguaging, Code-switching and Code-mixing

-Multilingualism/Super Diversity

-Human and Animal Rights

-Private and Intellectual Property Legislature

-Diaspora(s)/Historical Movements


Submission of abstracts and deadline:

Individual abstracts addressing any topic relevant to the conference theme are welcome. There is also the invitation to propose panels from a diversity of relevant fields such as anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, classics, criminology, cultural studies, education, economy and management studies, environmental sciences, film studies, gender studies, geography, history and historiography, law, language, literature, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, psychology, theology, and visual arts.

All paper and panel presentations will be in English.

Please submit an abstract of 200 to 250 words, with your name and affiliation, to the conference organisers at

The deadline for abstract submission has been extended, the new deadline is 15th April 2018.

The Organising Committee

Categories: And Other Words..., Calls for & opportunities, Research, Studies, Teaching

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3 replies

  1. The Deardline for submission of Abstract for the above conference has been extended further to 12th of June 2018


  1. “Boundaries”: Call for abstracts - African Politics and Policy

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