Taiwan Orwell conference calls for papers

Wednesday 08 December 2010

A call for papers from ‘George Orwell: Asian and Global Perspectives’, a conference to be held at Tunghai University, Taiwan on 21st May 2011. If you’d like any furhter information, please contact Dr Henk Vynckier, chair of the conference.

George Orwell: Asian and Global Perspectives

Conference Location

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature Tunghai University Taichung 40704, Taiwan


May 21, 2011

Conference Theme

George Orwell: Asian and Global Perspectives In his The Public Intellectuals (2001), Richard Posner ranks Orwell 11th in a list of the 100 most-mentioned intellectuals of the 20th century (depending on coverage in the media, internet “hits” and citations in academic journals).  Yet, while Orwell’s status in Britain, the US, and the West generally speaking, is beyond question, his place in Asian and other non-Western cultural discourse seems less certain. Orwell, nevertheless, is profoundly linked to and deserving of consideration in the Asian cultural context.  He was born in Bengal, served five years in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, and returned from the experience a firm anti-colonialist.  Already in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), he reflected on the fate of Indian rickshaw pullers and gharry ponies while discussing his experiences as a dishwasher in a Paris hotel and such texts as “A Hanging”, “Shooting an Elephant” and Burmese Days have become classics of English colonial literature.  From 1941-1943 he was employed by the Indian section of the BBC’s Eastern Service and took a keen interest throughout his life in the question of Indian independence, the future of Palestine, decolonization throughout Asia and around the world, and new English writings from Asia. As 2010 is an Orwell commemorative year, it presents a good opportunity to further Orwell scholarship in an Asian as well as global context.  From raucous democracies to hermit kingdoms, contemporary Asia features varied societal and political models and George Orwell’s writings consequently have been received very differently from country to country.  In Myanmar, the former Burma, Burmese Days (1934) is hailed as a first-class anti-colonial document, but Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the rest of his works are banned.  Yet, elsewhere his work is freely available both in English and in translation (e.g. in Taiwan) and George Orwell, by the Japanese academic Yasuhara Okuyama (Tokyo, 1983), made a significant contribution to Orwell scholarship and included original interviews with Orwell contemporaries. We invite papers exploring the following topics, but also welcome presentations dealing with other aspects of Orwell scholarship:

  • The reception history of Orwell in Asian countries
  • Translation, adaptation, and refraction of Orwell in Asia
  • Orwell’s ‘decency’ and Asian values
  • Orwell’s views of war, colonialism, and totalitarianism
  • Orwell on patriotism vs. nationalism
  • Orwell and India
  • Orwell as Orientalist: Images of Asia (Burma, India, China, Japan, etc) in Orwell
  • Orwell on Language: ‘Politics and the English/Chinese/Japanese/etc. Language’
  • The telescreen and the evolution of the mass media, the Internet and surveillance technology
  • Orwell as public intellectual and Asian public intellectuals
  • The teaching of Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four and other Orwell texts in the English Literature classroom in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, etc.

Conference/Paper Language

All papers are required to be written and presented in English.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission

  • The length of the abstract should be maximum 350 words
  • Abstracts should be typed in fonts of size 12 and spacing of 1.5 and saved in MS Word format
  • Do not include your name or other identifying information in your abstract; there will be a blind review of the submissions
  • Send the abstract by e-mail to hvynck@thu.edu.tw
  • Please use ‘Abstract for George Orwell: Asian and Global Perspectives’ as the subject of your email message
  • Include information regarding academic affiliation of presenter(s) in email.

Important Dates

  • Due date for abstract submission:  Dec. 30, 2010
  • Notification of abstract acceptance:  Jan. 15, 2011
  • Due date for full paper submission: May 9, 2011
  • Deadline for registration: May 16, 2011

Contact Information

Phone Number: 04-2359 0121 Ext. 31200 Sherry Jan (Assistant) Fax: 04-23594002 E-mail: sj1109@thu.edu.tw (Assistant Sherry Jan) or hvynck@thu.edu.tw (Dr. Henk Vynckier, Chair)