Spaces of Comparison: Welsh Writing in English in Comparative Contexts (AWWE Annual Conference)

United Kingdom
Association of Welsh Writing in English (AWWE)
Closing date for submissions: 
14 January, 2009
Event dates: 
27.03.2009 - 29.03.2009

Association for Welsh Writing in English Annual Conference 2009

Spaces of Comparison: Welsh Writing in Comparative Contexts

March 27 - 29, 2009


The focus of the twenty-first annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English at Gregynog Hall in Powys, Wales, UK from March 27 – 29th, 2009 will be ‘Spaces of Comparison: Welsh Writing in English in Comparative Contexts’. In recent years ‘postnationalism’, ‘transnationalism’ and the ‘transatlantic’ have become influential paradigms in a variety of academic fields. This conference aims to explore the applicability of these concepts to Welsh writing in English. Is it time that we moved beyond the ideological and political requirements of the nation state? Or does ‘Wales’ remain a politically fragile entity that needs to be continually reimagined and reinforced by literary texts? What other peoples, nations and literatures may shed light on the histories and literatures of the Welsh people? Panel papers of a broadly theoretical nature are welcome, as well as papers that compare the literatures of Wales, that place Welsh writing within European and Transatlantic contexts, and that relate comparative approaches to colonial, postcolonial and global contexts.

Keynote Speakers:

Our three keynote speakers are pre-eminent figures in the field of comparative cultural studies. Peter Lord's work will address Wales directly, while Professors Susan Manning and Marc Shell are leading figures in the fields of transatlantic and comparative literatures respectively.


Professor Marc Shell is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English. He works in three general areas.

First is aesthetics and economics. In this area his publications include a two-part theoretical study of the internalization of monetary form in literature and philosophy: The Economy of Literature (Johns Hopkins, 1993) pays special attention to ancient Greek, Roman, French, and English works and Money, Language, and Thought (Johns Hopkins, 1993) focuses on medieval Europe, the United States, and twentieth-century Germany. In this same area belongs a two-part study of the visual arts: Art & Money (Chicago, 1995) and OVERDUE (Chicago, forthcoming). Professor Shell's second area is Renaissance studies. Here his work includes Elizabeth's Glass (Nebraska, 1993), an extended essay about sixteenth-century European politics and kinship with editions of works by Princess Elizabeth (afterwards Queen Elizabeth I) and John Bale, and The End of Kinship (Johns Hopkins), a wide-ranging anthropological study of incest, retaliation, and language that provides an expansive commentary of Shakespeare's play Measure for Measure.

The third area is language and nationhood. Here Professor Shell's writings include Children of the Earth: Literature, Politics, and Nationhood (Oxford, 1993) as well as several studies of bilingualism and language rights in Quebec.

His recent book STUTTER is a broadly humanistic and interdisciplinary study of speech dysfluency, neurology, and comparative arts (Harvard University Press, 2006). POLIO AND ITS AFTERMATH focuses on related issues of intermittent bodily paralysis (HUP, 2005)

Marc Shell is co-director of The Longfellow Institute for the comparative study of the non-English languages and literatures of what is now the United States. This research center offers annual seminars, provides grants and subventions, and publishes bilingual books in the languages and literatures of America. A product of the Institute, Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, eds. Marc Shell and Werner Sollors, was released by New York University Press in 1998 and AMERICAN BABEL (HUP 2002) considers problems of multilingualism and interlinguistic negotiation.

Susan Manning

Professor Susan Manning, is Grierson Professor of English Literature and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh University. She works on British and American Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century literature, in particular on Scottish and American literary, religious and philosophical relationships, and she has a special interest in the writing of the Scottish Enlightenment and its influence in Europe and America.

She is the author of The Puritan-Provincial Vision: Scottish and American Literature in the Nineteenth Century (1990), and Fragments of Union: Making Connections in Scottish and American Writing (2002), and editions of Walter Scott’s Quentin Durward (1992), Washington Irving’s The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1996), Crèvecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer (1997) and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Marble Faun (2002).

Her editions of Scottish Enlightenment texts include The Works of Henry Mackenzie (1996), Mackenzie’s Life of John Home (1997) and Julia de Roubigné (1999); she is currently completing (with Li Ping Geng) the first modern edition of Mackenzie’s three novels. Susan is a co-editor of the new three-volume Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature and, with Andrew Taylor, she is general editor of the Edinburgh Series in Transatlantic Literatures. She is working on a book on Becoming a Character, and another provisionally entitled Lateral Literary History.

She convenes the Carnegie Trust funded STAR (Scotland's Transatlantic Relations) Project, a collaborative initiative between Scottish and North American universities, libraries and museums. For further information please see the STAR website:

Peter Lord

Peter Lord is a Research fellow at CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales), Swansea University. He is an art historian, who specialises in the study of the visual culture of Wales. He has particular interests in the artisan painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in the imaging of industrial Wales in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the theoretical questions which arise from the study of visual culture in a nation regarded as marginal to the mainstream of western art history. He has recently been engaged in a comparative study of art in Wales and the United States.

Peter Lord took a degree in Fine Art at the University of Reading in 1970. Until 1986 he worked primarily as a sculptor, latterly working on large-scale public commissions. Since 1986 he has worked as a writer. In 1994 he was Visiting Fellow at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. From 1997 until 2003 he was a research fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth.

In 2002 the CDROM version of The Visual Culture of Wales: Imaging the Nation, was awarded the Besterman/McColvin Gold Medal of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for an outstanding work of reference.



Papers are invited on any aspect of the theme ‘Spaces of Comparison: Welsh Writing in English in Comparative Contexts.’ Both short papers (c. 20 minutes) or longer ones (c. 50 minutes) will be considered; a brief abstract should be submitted to the organizer for consideration by the deadline of January 14th, 2009. Organizer: Dr. Daniel Williams, CREW, Department of English, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP.

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

  • Celtic comparisons: Ireland, Scotland, Brittany.
  • Welsh Writing in English in relation to English literature in England
  • Welsh writing in English and Breton writing in French and other cases of a ‘minority’ literature in a ‘majority’ language.
  • Wales and India – from William Jones through Alun Lewis to Desmond Barry
  • Wales and the United States.
  • Ethnic Modernisms in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Harlem, Scandinavia etc.
  • Comparative approaches to Gender, Ethnicity or Nationalism
  • The making of Black Welsh, or Afro-Welsh, identities.
  • The concept of diaspora.
  • Marxisms / Nationalisms / Feminisms / Religious Traditions.
  • Translation.
  • Comparisons across genres: literature in relation to music, art, architecture.
  • Theoretical papers exploring the validity of comparative and transatlantic models in relation to minority literary studies.


CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales) , Swansea University

Dr. Daniel Williams, CREW, Department of English, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP.

Sarah Morse, c/o Dr. Daniel Williams, CREW, Department of English, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP.

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