Call for Papers. “Engaging with Audiences and the Dissemination of Knowledge” (PAMLA 2019 Conference in San Diego, California, November 14-17).

deadline for submissions: 
June 10, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Javier Patino Loira
contact email: 

Call for Papers. Panel “Engaging with Audiences and the Dissemination of Knowledge”.

PAMLA Conference (San Diego, California, November 14-17, 2019).

 Javier Patiño Loira (UCLA), Presiding Officer.


This panel looks for papers dealing with ways in which authors from different periods have sought to engage with audiences and readers—as a way to disseminate knowledge and ideas, to persuade others to action, or to elicit an emotional or aesthetic response. The interest in developing techniques aimed at getting hold of someone else’s attention and connecting with his or her feelings is as ancient as language. Throughout the centuries, debates regarding the most expedient way to obtain such goals have yielded theories that account in different manners for the interaction that takes place between a speaker or a writer and the group s/he addresses. The notion that language is a powerful and even, to some extent, hypnotic tool to capture the minds of others pervades different geographies, time periods, and cultures. It informs Plato’s mistrust towards the sweet words of the sophists (no less than his depiction of Socrates’ hypnotic way of interrogating others), but also medieval and early modern notions about the virtues and dangers of magic, or seventeenth-century rhetorical theories that imagined that audiences felt pleasure at an orator’s words because, for them, being able to decipher his long and convoluted clauses implied some form of co-creation. Although connecting with audiences has almost invariably been perceived as a challenge, different periods understood differently the nature of the difficulties involved: the circumscribed community of churchgoers faced by a parish priest in a medieval town is essentially different in nature from the public sphere, made up of anonymous readers, of a nineteenth-century national newspaper. In turn, the two of them have little to do with the conditions that one has to meet to gain followers on Twitter or YouTube. What is it that has changed and what is it that remains in such different modalities of addressing an audience and getting hold of someone’s attention and heart? Contributions from all periods and disciplines are welcome.


The deadline for submitting a paper proposal is June 10, 2019. You need to send:

  • a title,
  • a summary of circa50 words.
  • an abstract of 200-250 words.
  • a short bio.

To submit a proposal, please use the following link