Third Bremen Conference on Language and Literature in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts

Call for Papers

Third Bremen Conference on Language and Literature in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts (BCLL#3)

In Association with INPUTS, BIKQS, and IACPL

“Postcolonial Knowledges”

March 15-18, 2016

Keynote Speakers:    

  • Jeannette Armstrong (The University of British Columbia)
  • Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)
  • Michel DeGraff (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Gloria Emeagwali (Central Connecticut State University)
  • Lisa Lim (The University of Hong Kong)
  • Sinfree Makoni (The Pennsylvania State University)

This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars of different academic backgrounds to explore how knowledge systems, cultures, languages, and literary traditions have been affected by colonial and postcolonial conditions that are increasingly marked by contradictions, cultural heterogeneity, and transcultural processes. We are interested in the ways in which colonial and postcolonial constellations have been reflected, shaped, and negotiated by communication, symbolic practice, and knowledge practices.


We will look critically at ongoing knowledge production and Eurocentric ‘intellectual dominance’ (Emeagwali 2003) in knowledge centers and discourses around the world. We aim to crystallize decolonial strategies to challenge neocolonial tendencies in institutions of knowledge production and to probe the possibilities of integrating postcolonial knowledges into present knowledge discourses. Many collaborations and attempts to interlink Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric knowledge systems are already taking place, and scholars around the globe are producing alternative postcolonial visions of reality and the world that are embedded in non-European lives, ontologies, and philosophies (e.g. Armstrong 2009; Atleo 2009, 2011; Dogbe 2006; Garcés V 2012; Moctar Ba 2013).


To address these issues, this conference focuses on themes related to the marginalization and displacement of local knowledge systems and the endangerment of languages as well as on epistemological and language ideologies in colonial and postcolonial settings.


We welcome contributions from linguistics, cultural studies, literature and film studies, anthropology, history, political science, sociology, and other disciplines. Papers may address (but are not limited to) the following thematic areas:


Language ideologies in colonial and postcolonial contexts

  • Construction/discourses of languages in colonial and postcolonial contexts (e.g. folk perceptions, history of the invention of languages, linguistic imperialism)
  • Creation and affirmation of power relations, colonial hegemonies, and colonial ideologies through linguistic means and contributions
  • Language inequality and the spread of global and national varieties

Language endangerment and revitalization in postcolonial contexts

  • Empowerment through local language use/research/revitalization
  • The role of different actors (linguists, institutions, communities, speakers) in language maintenance, promotion, and revitalization
  • Changes in language systems brought about by (post)colonial contact


Epistemological hegemonies

  • Revision of the ‘normative’ primacy of Eurocentric knowledges, discourses, and methodologies
  • Critical reconsideration of ‘reason’ and Cartesian logo-centric thought in a postcolonial context
  • Knowledge production about non-European cultures in a critical context (e.g. myths and tropes of colonial ‘others’ and their semantics of exoticism, primitivism, and savagery)


Epistemological shifts and decolonial knowledge production

  • Affirmation of non-Eurocentric knowledges and knowledge practices in current knowledge discourses
    • Collaborations and projects that integrate Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric knowledges
    • Decolonial interventions in established hegemonic knowledge practices and shifts of epistemological norms, categories, and conceptual systems


Please submit your anonymized abstracts by July 10, 2015 by email to – please provide the title of the paper, name(s) of the author(s), academic title, and affiliation in the mail, not in the abstract. The abstracts should not exceed 500 words. Poster presentations will be accepted as well; please indicate in the message if the abstract is for a poster or a presentation. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion time. Notification of acceptance can be expected around August 30, 2015. The conference language will be English.


Conference Organizers:

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Knopf, Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Bremen

Prof. Dr. Eeva Sippola, Postcolonial Language Studies, University of Bremen


Contact and Information

Dr. Marivic Lesho

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