“The Agency of Language in Contemporary Global Discourse"

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
SAMLA 91- South Atlantic Modern Language Conference
contact email: 

Special Session Proposal: “The Agency of Language in Contemporary Global Discourse”



Dr. Petra M. Schweitzer

Dr. Casey R. Eriksen 



Language appears in various aspects and many facets of communication. However, the growing concern of encountering a language characterized by and constructed around an inherent ferocity highlights the strong interface between language and cultural, political, and sociological objectives and ideologies. The linguistic

compositions that produce strategically vicious discourses communicated via digital media emphasize the heterogeneity within this conceptual framework. Apart from the consequences of what such strong rhetoric can invoke, such as crimes or suicides, the questions arise: To what extent is it possible to counteract such violent rhetoric in the articulation of humanitarian voices? How can language be used to advance new collaborative discourses?


In an interview with Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), Julia Kristeva questions him on the notion of ‘meaning.’ Derrida responds:  “It is true that at first the phenemonological extension of the concept of ‘meaning,’ appears much wider, much less determined. All experience is experience of meaning. Everything that appears to consciousness, everything that is for consciousness in general is meaning. Meaning is the phenomenality of the phenomenon.”. Ednie Kaeh Garrison likewise notes: “[L]anguage has the power to shape consciousness.” Therefore, metaphors provide a conceptual frame that embed underlying power structures and ideologies.


This session is dedicated to exploring language that counteracts the linguistic construction of a violent rhetoric in all of its iterations. We invite papers that look at the agency of language in a humanitarian sense as it emerges in diverse cultural, political, or linguistic forms.  What role does consciousness take in the structure of language?


Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

-Gender, identity, and Intersectionality

-Contemporary political dialogues and debates

-Language theory

-Responses to acts of violence

-Psychology and psychoanalysis 


Please send abstracts (250 words) and a short biography to Dr. Petra M. Schweitzer (pschweit@su.edu) and Dr. Casey R. Eriksen (ceriksen@su.edu) by July 15, 2019.