CFP: Read, (Re)Write & Share: Old & New Practices of Signification

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
University of Bologna


Read, (Re)Write & Share: Old & New Practices of Signification
Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Università di Bologna – Graduate Conference
Bologna, February 10-11, 2021

Keynote speaker: Prof. Paolo Costa (University of Pavia)

This conference aims to reflect on the modes of writing, reading, and sharing in contemporary history, encouraging new interdisciplinary, intermodal, and transmedial perspectives.

Meme, twitterature, social microfiction, fanfictions and web comics are just some of the new forms of writing that have emerged in the new post-media environment. New technologies and the digital era have triggered new forms of reading, (re)writing, and sharing, that are progressively shaping the literary environment, creating opportunities for collective production, and promoting an intense work of re-signification. In particular, the web and the social media provide these new literary experiences a fertile ecosystem where proliferate, often enabling the formation of a global audience. Therefore, one can observe the exponential growth of derivative cultural products, whose matrix is often ignored by the final consumer.
It is important to remind that practices of literary (re)signification and transcodification of texts and images are not exclusive to contemporary history. On the contrary, even if using different modes, they have always been an essential trait of cultural production since ancient times, when these practices were stimulated by the absence of the contemporary notions of authorship and copyright. The use of myth and epos in Attic tragedy, the ‘viral’ diffusion of classic and folkloric features in medieval works (according to the circular dynamics that characterized European medieval culture, where orality and literacy performed osmotic relations), and the propagation of hagiographic legends in time and space (as they had been rewritten from late antiquity to late medieval period throughout Europe) can all be considered cases in point. Even though the context mutated in modern and contemporary periods (as the notion of authorship acquired a new prominence) these rewriting practice have not disappeared. One can mention, as examples, the “mythical method” elaborated by T.S. Eliot and the use of pastiche in contemporary period. This technique was already used by modernist authors but acquired a central role in postmodern works. From the 20th century to the present, processes of manipulation of contents and traditional forms have been used by very different literary movements and disciplinary approaches. This process led literature to be contaminated by other codes and languages, such as visual and performative arts.

Today, as in the past, the modes of transmission and the material support of a text and/or image influence its production and reception. Is the textual conciseness of many online productions synonym with the simplification of the message? Does the copresence of different codes trigger new reflections on the concept of authorship and the scope of such resemantisation? Does the communicative immediacy of these new forms of writing pave the way to didactic approaches? Is it legitimate to see in these practices a didactic potential? Can a meme appropriating a Da Vinci painting, or a representation of Dante’s infernal circles be a starting point for a rediscovery of said works, triggering students’ curiosity?
Using these reflections as a starting point, the conference aims to think about the modes of cultural diffusion and resemantisation from ancient times to the present, and the contribution of new media to these processes. The conference welcomes different disciplinary approaches: literary, cultural, historical, artistic, theatrical, performative, pedagogic, didactic, semiotic, and cognitive. Proposals can include (but are not limited to) the following themes:
• Resemantisation of cultural products
• Hiding of the source text
• Reading and rewriting of classics through social media
• Language of/in the new media
• Authorship and media adaptation
• Promotion of original works through the new media
• Subjectivity of the new adaptations
• Rhetorical function of cliché and antonomasia
• Iconicity
• Meme and propaganda
• Remix, manipulation, and postproduction
• Recontextualization and rewriting
• Short form compositions
• Didactic strategies and new media


This graduate conference is open to Phd students and young scholars who achieved their PhD degree within the last three years. The conference accepts contribution in Italian, English, French and Spanish. We welcome proposals for 20-minute paper presentations. Participation is free. A selection of contributions will be published.
Those interested are invited to submit:
1. An abstract (max. 400 words);
2. A short biography (max. 150 words);
3. 4 keywords.
Please send your proposal at by November 30, 2020. Acceptance will be communicated within December 10, 2020.


The graduate conference will take place at LILEC – Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Bologna (Italy) – Via Cartoleria 5, Bologna (BO), 40124.
We hope to be able to host this conference as an in-person event. However, given the global pandemic situation we will also evaluate the possibility of online presentations.
Further information will be available on the conference website: