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Call for proposals: "Root Cause: Comparative Studies in Literature and Translation"

Unsplash | Mike van den Bos, 2021

International scientific conference

Root Cause: Comparative Studies in Literature and Translation

14 November, 2024

Vilnius UNESCO City of Literature, Vilnius, Lithuania

Deadline for submission of applications: 15 July, 2024

Contact email:

Conference languages: Lithuanian, Estonian, English.

The conference will take place at the Vilnius UNESCO City of Literature (šv. Jono g. 11, LT– 01123 Vilnius, Lithuania).

Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators and Lithuanian Comparative Literature Association, along with Vilnius UNESCO City of Literature invite you to participate in their joint international scientific conference Root Cause: Comparative Studies in Literature and Translation.

Both comparative literary research and literary translation are slow, diligent processes that require skill, patience, as well as determination to look at the very core of the object in question, and often yield unexpected findings. Since the year 2024 has been declared the Year of Estonian literature in Lithuania, a great opportunity arises for a closer inspection of our literary fields, for comparison, and exchange of ideas to plant.

Root cause is here seen as a metaphor of underlying mechanism determining and directing the growth as well as an indication of certain literary aesthetics, movements, and even obstacles encountered. How do we approach the underlying rocks of our literary history? What has been uncovered during the memory excavation? What key personalities, literary movements or written works appear to be surprisingly entangled? How the pests and infestation are approached? What environment encounters our literature in translation: is the new soil fertile or welcoming at least? What conclusions are offered by the research of 20th century Baltic literatures in exile? Human or non-human, roots are of vital importance: what insights could be shared on multispecies urban realm? Oftentimes comparative and interdisciplinary approach may offer valuable insights, as with a change in perspective possibly comes a new set of tools for inspection, and, if needed, detanglement, pruning or conservation.

The following thematic guidelines are proposed:

  • Inspecting the (neighbouring) seedlings: Comparative research on the history of Baltic literatures (both original and in translation)

  • Locating the wounds and potential: Landscape memory, literature and trauma, and new growth

  • Excavating the hidden: Literary discoveries, unexpected influences, ties, and similarities

  • Wasteland: Literature in the period(s) of imperial / totalitarian censorship and stagnation

  • Underground resurfaces: Research on long lost and / or hidden memory in fiction and testimonial literature studies

  • Pruning: Curating the canon, rethinking the past, re-introducing names, or natural selection? – Translation as gatekeeping, as composing and influencing agent to local literature

  • Uprooted: Research of Baltic literature in exile

  • Propagation / Transplant: Reception of Baltic literatures in translation (of both contemporary and classic works)

  • Roots and seeds, birds and bees: Multispecies city in urban literature

The organisers invite Lithuanian and foreign literary scholars, as well as critics, translation and environmental humanities researchers, young researchers, and translators to participate in the conference.

We welcome abstracts of 150–200 words for twenty-minute presentations and short biographies to titled ʻConference Entryʼ by 15 July, 2024. The conference will take place on-site 14 November, 2024 in Vilnius, Lithuania, the UNESCO City of Literature.

Scientific Committee

Dr. Karolina Bagdonė

Agnė Bernotaitė

Daiva Daugirdienė

Tiina Kattel

Dr. Laura Laurušaitė

Dr. Elle-Mari Tallivee



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