Ambiguities: destabilising preconceptions (Ambi2009)

Venue: University of Kent, Canterbury Campus, UK

Location: Canterbury, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: May 23, 2009
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 15, 2009
Paper Submission Date: May 23, 2009
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Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference and Visual Exhibition

University of Kent, Saturday 23rd May 2009


Destabilising Preconceptions

The University of Kent, School of European Culture and Languages and Skepsi editorial board are pleased to invite contributions for an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference and a visual exhibition to be held on Saturday 23rd of May 2009.

Every day we encounter ambiguous situations; unclear signals; indecipherable messages. Some of them pass unnoticed, other produce mere misunderstandings, whereas many deeply disturb us. The act of interpreting polysemous signs results in a proliferation and a diffusion of meaning. What is the effect of such a process on human beings? How is the process of subjectification affected by this constitutional interpretative ambiguity?

Arguably, language is the privileged space in which ambiguities playfully and successfully disturb our desire to decipher something we assume to be consistent in meaning. But the uncanniness and the anguish of the ambiguities which arise may also destabilise our preconceived conceptions. This destabilisation could result in questioning ones own perception. To which extent do we need to disambiguate reality in order to protect our sanity? Does an ambiguous message lure the receiver into a maze in which the promeneur gets lost? Is reality tout court an ambiguous message?

Ambiguous artworks and their attributes such as undecidability, textual plurisignation, word plays, disruptive dynamics between connotation and denotation, are only some of the themes we wish to explore during our conference.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers (in English) which interpret the conference theme as widely as possible. Given the interdisciplinary character of the conference we invite proposals from the following areas:

—Comparative Literary Studies

—Modern Languages and Linguistics

—Philosophy of Language

—Continental and analytical philosophy

—Aesthetics and visual arts

—Gender Studies

The list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive.

Abstract proposals (approximately 300 words) should be sent to the conference organising committee at as a Microsoft Word attachment. The email should include the name of the author, institution and a short bio. You should also indicate on your proposal any audiovisual requirements you may have.

Selected speakers will be invited to publish their papers in the Third Issue of Skepsi, the Interdisciplinary Online Journal of the University of Kent (

On the occasion of the conference a Visual Exhibition on the same theme (‘Ambiguities’) will be organised at the University of Kent. Both photos and paintings are welcome. In order to participate to the selection please follow these guidelines:

- if you are a Flickr user, or if you want to become one, please join the group ‘Ambiguities 2009’ at this address: and upload your contributions in the group’s pool. Please read the rules carefully.

- if you are NOT a Flickr user and do not plan to become one, please send your contribution in JPG format with a short caption explaining how the image fits the conference theme, at the address


Additional Information

The deadline for abstract submission is 15th January 2009. The deadline for visual material submission is 15th March 2009. Further details regarding the conference, the publication of papers and the visual exposition will be circulated at a later date.