Dis/Orientations and Dis/Entanglements in Contemporary Literature and Culture: An International Conference

deadline for submissions: 
April 22, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Málaga (Spain)
contact email: 

Under the auspices of the project ‘Orientation’: A Dynamic Perspective of Contemporary Fiction and Culture (1990-onwards) (Ref. FFI2017-86417-P), this Conference explores how the concept of ‘orientation’ can offer a renewed perspective on literary texts and cultural products alike. By positioning ‘orientation’ in close relation to (multiple) temporalities (or “polytemporality”, following Victoria Browne), space, and recognition of the ‘other’, this Conference (and the project) addresses the dynamic and fluid nature of today’s fiction and culture in English. As Sara Ahmed points out, “[o]rientations are about the direction we take that puts some things and not others in our reach” (56). In this sense, we pose the following: what directions do contemporary texts tend towards? How are these directions configured? How do we make sense of the “things” that are within our reach? And, interestingly, in what ways do we unlock an “affective orientation” (Felski 18) in the act of reading?


To answer these questions, we actively engage with different critical perspectives that intersect with various fields such as phenomenology, affect studies, illness and ageing studies, or gender studies. Both ‘orientation’ and ‘recognition’ prove to be useful lenses to explore narratives of illness, for example. Also, ‘orientation’ is mobilised in the interlocked relationships between past and present (and future), since we argue that temporal ‘orientation’ in contemporary fiction and culture is multidirectional, encompassing past, present, and even future: the past is understood as “a call to action in the present, and the present is envisaged as the history of the future” (Mitchell and Parsons 14-15). In addition, ‘orientation’ can be employed to address questions of mobility and movement in spatial studies, bearing in mind that, in phenomenological terms, the individuals experience the world through mutuality and interaction, an interweaving of self and the world through the senses. In so doing, we propose movement, relationality, and fluidity as ways of understanding our current entangled world. Lastly, we claim that, as a mode of thinking, this dynamic relationality brings about timely questions about “the interpersonal and social dimensions of disorientation” (Ratcliffe 463) in the face of the sanitary crisis caused by covid-19 and its variants.


We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that address the following topics (but not limited to):


- Theoretical approaches and conceptualisations of ‘orientation’, ‘recognition’, and ‘entanglement’

- Dis/re/orientations towards the past, present and future in literature and culture; (multiple) temporality; polytemporality

- Embodied situatedness, phenomenology and the senses

- Dynamic orientation and recognition of the ‘Other’

- Spatial orientations: spatial conceptions, dynamic spaces, geographical fluid orientations and routes

- Object-relations ontology, things, new materialisms, the material turn

- Queer and gender orientations

- Orientation and recognition as useful lenses in health humanities, ageing and illness narratives

- Global orientations and entanglements in the Anthropocene

- Dis/orientation in the face of the sanitary crisis

- Dis/entanglements and human vs. nonhuman relationships

- New orientations and entanglements between the humanities and other disciplines


Works Cited

Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Duke UP, 2006.

Browne, Victoria. Feminism, Time, and Nonlinear History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Felski, Rita. Uses of Literature. Blackwell, 2008.

Mitchell, Kate and Nicola Parsons. “Reading the Represented Past: History and Fiction from 1700 to the Present”. Reading Historical Fiction: The Revenant and Remembered Past. Ed. Kate Mitchell and Nicola Parsons. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 1-18.

Ratcliffe, Matthew. “Disorientation, Distrust and the Pandemic”. Global Discourse 11.3 (2021): 463-66.



We are very happy to confirm the following keynote speakers:


Professor Alberto Lázaro Lafuente (Universidad de Alcalá)

Professor Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey)

Professor Jean-Michel Ganteau (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)

Dr. Victoria Browne (Oxford Brookes University)


Please send a 250-word abstract to orientationliterature@gmail.com by April, 22nd 2022 (extended deadline). Abstracts should include a short biographical note. All submissions will be peer-reviewed.


Main organisers: Professor Rosario Arias (University of Málaga), Dr. Marta Cerezo-Moreno (UNED), Dr. Laura Monrós-Gaspar (Universitat de València)


Email: orientationliterature@gmail.com

Twitter handle: @orientationlit

Web: https://orionfiction.org/