Between Clarity and Confusion: Delusions of Academic Objectivity

Department of English Philology

at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn


Between Clarity and Confusion:

Delusions of Academic Objectivity

26-27 October 2015, Olsztyn

First Circular

Dear Colleagues,

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of our Department, but mostly because we love research and teaching, and discussions about both, we are happy to announce the “Between Clarity and Confusion: Delusions of Academic Objectivity” conference, which will take place on 26-27 October 2015, at the Faculty of Humanities of our university. Our event will be accompanied by a parallel culture/literature oriented conference “Old Masters in New Interpretations” for doctoral candidates and students.

The goal of the conference is to discuss issues pertaining to the current state and prospects of English philology and to promote theoretical and applied research in the field. We hope to bring together scholars representing various disciplines encompassed by English philology curricula, e.g., language teaching, linguistics, literary studies, translation studies, cultural studies, film and media studies, art, history, politics and international affairs, etc. The somewhat provocative title of our conference is meant to address the scholarly and pedagogical paradoxes involved in the functioning of these different domains of knowledge vis-à-vis the interdisciplinary ideal and the more mundane demands of everyday academic and non-academic life.

While our interest is predominantly in philological dilemmas, we nevertheless encourage broader reflections on the pathways of critical thinking about cultures and society we advocate and perpetuate in our research and teaching practices. Also, taking into account the current socio-cultural moment, we feel the following questions are pertinent: can/should the underfunded, underappreciated, politically divided academia offer a space where new, genuinely radical ideas and knowledges are produced and disseminated? Will its increased vulnerability to profit-driven agendas limit academic freedom? Can it remain smart, engaged, relevant?

We have gathered a few topic suggestions and/or deliberately vague ideas already, hoping to inspire you. The potential is definitely there.

  • Language in academic research and communication
  • Language structure vs structure of knowledge
  • Meaning construction in academic and popular discourse


  • Reality v fiction, or how much life there is in lifeless (?) literary texts
  • How to teach literature and not go insane
  • Let’s can the canon… or maybe not?

Film, (social) media

  • So many data, not enough time
  • The faux democratization of opinion, expertise
  • The still ephemeral nature of the “new” media


  • Taxonomic overlaps
  • Can teaching/ evaluating translation be objective?
  • Translation theory or practice: theoretical delusions, practical madness


  • The burden of personal loyalties
  • The centre, the periphery, the “nowhere”
  • Left or right? Getting the balance right or leaving nothing to the disenfranchised


You are very welcome to add more.

Confirmed plenary speakers:
prof. dr hab. Henryk Kardela
prof. dr hab. David Malcolm
The languages of the conference will be English and Polish. Papers are scheduled to take 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion. Presenters are asked to submit abstracts of proposed papers, not exceeding 150 words, by 15 June 2015, using the following e-mail address:
You will be notified of the acceptance/rejection of your submission by 30 June 2015.
The Conference fee is 350 PLN, and it covers conference materials, coffee breaks, lunches and banquet as well as the publication of the post-conference volume; it does not cover accommodation costs. The fee should be paid by 15 September 2015. Details concerning the bank account of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn will be provided in our next circular.

With best regards,

Conference organizers
Ewa Kujawska-Lis, Ph.D. hab.
Anna Drogosz, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Kodeniec, Ph.D.
Anna Krawczyk-Łaskarzewska, Ph.D.
Anna Kwiatkowska, Ph.D.
Conference Secretary
Aleksandra Górska, Ph.D.