EVENT Dec 06
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Freedom and Limit: Forms of Adaptation and Expression in Linguistics and Literature

Organization: University of Florence
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, French, Lingustics, German, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Literary Theory, Rhetoric & Composition, Women's Studies, World Literatures, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2022-12-06 to 2022-12-07 Abstract Due: 2022-09-30
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The 35th, 36th, and 37th classes of the PhD program in Comparative Languages, Literatures
and Cultures at the University of Florence are glad to announce the International Doctoral
Conference “Freedom and Limit: Forms of Adaptation and Expression in Linguistics and
Literature”, which will take place at the University of Florence on the 6th and 7th of December
2022. The conference will be devoted to the discussion of the concept of freedom according to a
linguistic and literary perspective.
Taking off from the reflection on the nature, applicability, and innumerable aporias that it
entails, the concept of “freedom” has always represented an open ground in which the most
interesting philosophical and political enquiries have converged, often provoking the emerging of a
true symbolic iconology bound to it. “Freedom and Love”, “Freedom and Revolution”; these are
just a few of its possible variants: the liberté has offered ever since the classical antiquity, and
through its numerous allegories spread during the modern Revolutions, an ambivalent, if not
destabilizing, image:

Da die Freiheit eine Frau ist, eine schöne Frau, müßte sie es uns ein Leichtes sein,
sie zu lieben. Vorausgesetzt, es wäre die Freiheit zu lieben wünschen: leidenschaftlich,
grenzenlos und unverbrüchlich. Aber wie verträgt sich unverbrüchliche Liebe für die eine
Frau Freiheit mit unserer Freiheit? Und weshalb sollte sie selbst, die Wunderschöne, nur
uns lieben und niemanden sonst? Falls sie nun aber auch unsere Rivalen liebt und unsere
Feinde, wie können wir glücklich mit ihr sein? Wenn sie jedermann liebt, wie sollten wir
ihrer nicht leid werden? Wie nicht verzweifeln an die Freiheit, wenn sie eine Hure ist?
Wenn sie aber nicht jeden liebt, ist sie dann noch die Freiheit?

Since Freedom is a woman, it should be easy for us to love her. As long as we are
truly willing to love her: that is passionately, boundless and indissolubly. But how can we
balance the boundless love for Lady Freedom with our own freedom? And why should
she, as beautiful as she is, love only us and nobody else? But if she loves our rivals and
enemies, how can we be truly happy with her? If she loves everyone, how to avoid
suffering? How not to suffer for freedom, if she’s a whore? But if she doesn’t love
everyone, is she still freedom?

(Dolf Ohler. Liberté, Liberté Chérie. Männerphantasien über die Freiheit. Zur Problematik
der erotischen Freiheits-Allegorie. 1979).

In the contemporary reflection, the idea of freedom is continually challenged, both
philosophically and politically, as well as mediatically, by being seemingly in contradiction with the
latest technological and interpersonal frontiers. Never before wars, pandemics, and boundaries of
different kind have forced us to rethink the metahistorical value that we attribute to the idea of
Open to the most diverse interpretations, the concept of freedom implies inevitably an ample
variety of approaches, both methodologically and thematically. In everyday use, the concept of
freedom tends to be determined in function of a limit, which would define its meaning and
possibility of existence.
Throughout the history of thought, the paradoxical character of freedom was often analyzed by
putting it from time to time in relationship with the most extreme of limits, as exemplified by
Dante’s verses "libertà va cercando, ch’è sì cara / come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta" (Pur., I, 70-71) or by Montaigne’s lapidary saying "la préméditation de la mort est préméditation de la liberté"
(Essais, I, XX). Even in the translation's activity the notion of freedom emerges in a dimension
whose limits seems unclear, if not indefinable, as suggested by Walter Benjamin: “Just as a tangent touches a circle fleetingly and at only a single point, and just as this contact, not the point, prescribes the law in accord with which the tangent pursues its path into the infinite, in the same way a translation touches the original fleetingly and only at the infinitely small point of meaning, in order to follow its own path in accord with the law of fidelity in the freedom of linguistic development” (The Task of the Translator, 1923).
Starting from this methodological and semantic polarity, the conference aims to explore
the concept of freedom in the boundaries of its linguistic and literary perspective. The discussion
will focus specifically on the following four perspectives: the concept of freedom in the literary
field; freedom and its modality of expression, both stylistically and linguistically; the boundaries of
freedom across the critical reception; finally, freedom as adaptation, both at the level of
translation and intertextuality.

Some of the suggested topics are the following:
1. freedom and literature
Literary space clearly represents one of the principal dimensions in which the discourse on
the concept of freedom can be defined and structured. In particular, this section will be
dedicated to:
o freedom as a literary theme;
o the narration of social, political and gender-based freedom in literature;

2. freedom and expression
Any form of reflection on the notion of freedom has its limits defined by partial expressive
possibilities; however, these limits can be emphasized becoming the core of the discourse
about freedom and, therefore, this section will focus on:
o freedom as a linguistic and expressive style;
o freedom as an expressive form and a representation of linguistic minorities’identity;

3. freedom and criticism
The idea of freedom is modelled on - and collides with - the limits of the historical and
cultural situation where it structures itself. The aim of this section is to illustrate the critical
relationship between freedom and its emergence in a specific context. This issue can be
highlighted by the following and more specific points:
o the relationship with the literary canon;
o the censorship and self-censorship;
o publishing industry and reception of the artistic work;
o philological choices and possibilities in a critical edition;

4. freedom and adaptation
The intrinsic essence of freedom is to adapt itself to the limits established by its referent.
This last section aims at discussing the idea of freedom according to its capacity of
adaptation in the case of:
o plagiarism;
o intertextuality;
o intermediality;
o translation.

The conference is open to all, especially to young researchers. Participants will have about
20 minutes to deliver their speech. Applicants must send their abstracts to
convegnocomparatistica.firenze@gmail.com by 30th September, indicating in the subject of the mail “Freedom Conference Proposal”. The email must include a .pdf file (named according to the following system: surname_name) and the document must contain: the title, a short summary of the proposal (max. 3000 characters including spaces and a bibliography if necessary), an essential presentation of the applicant (max 300 characters including spaces). The languages accepted for the proposal are Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.
By October, the scientific committee will communicate proposal acceptance. The definitive
program will be published on the PhD website
(https://www.dottoratolinletcult.unifi.it/changelang-eng.html) by 14th November 2022.
The conference will take place in presence, however, considering the current pandemic situation,
mixed mode will be guaranteed.
Thank you for your attention.

Organizing and scientific committee:
Arianna Amatruda
Gabriele Camilleri
Valentina Crescenzi
Anastasiia Fedorova
Stefania Mariotti
Elena Merlino
Yasmina Moussaid
Alessio Nistri
Ambra Paparatty
Leonardo Quintavalle
Gianluca Ruggeri Ferraris
Chiara Stornaiuolo
Tianyang Sun



PhD program in Comparative Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Florence