Language, Literature, Intersectionality 2024, 27th April 2024 at the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš (Serbia)

Contemporaneity promises policies and programs, action plans and legislation that ensure equal opportunities and address circumstances leading us towards equity. In theory, the Western world has reached an unprecedented consensus on issues such as gender equality, race, social policies against poverty, children’s rights, etc. Yet, the crises marking the beginning of the twenty-first century testify to the institutional failure to ensure the enforcement of such laws and policies, but also uncover voices of dissent. Moreover, legacies of the past find innumerable ways of remaining in the present, either as forces countering progress, or preventing it from going into new extreme practices in less extreme examples of the clash between values, but maintaining status quo. Discourse on these sensitive issues has become a matter of political positioning and a space where visions of the future are juxtaposed – a battlefield of ideologies, old and new. Caught between the fire of progressive and conservative currents are individuals whose circumstances combine to create grounds for different modes of discrimination and privilege based on class, race, gender and sex, sexuality, religion, disability, ethnicity, etc.

Language, Literature, Intersectionality 2024 deals with the concept of intersectionality as manifested in literature, language, culture and the discourse. The conference will host panels exploring the discourses on intersectional identities, gender and gender equality (and equity), gender sensitive language, oppression and privilege, disability and language, disability and class, language and class, dialect, regional literatures and class, nationality, race, as well other theoretical discussions pertaining to intersectionality.

Around 115 participants presented papers in 16 panels encompassing topics such as Oppression and Intersectionality in Literature and Culture, Literature across Boundaries, Road Movies as Nodes of Intersectionality, Disability, Verbal Aggression in Contemporary Public Discourse, Dialects in Contemporary Linguistics, Multilingualism through an Intersectional Lens, Equality and Discrimination in Language, Discourse Analysis and Intersectionality and Intersectionality in Social Sciences. 

We thank you all for your participation and continued support for the LLC.

The two thematic volumes of LLC 2023 proceedings, in Teme (ranking M23) and Philologia Mediana (ranking M51), will be published between April and June 2024. In 2024 and 2025, LLC will be supported by these high-ranking national journals, as well as Facta Universitatis Series: Linguistics and Literature (M51 ranking). We are grateful for their support and the recognition of the quality of the research output of the conference. The Call for Papers for these journals will be sent to LLC participants by the end of May 2024. We also invite you all to contribute to the overall quality of future publications as reviewers of these journals. 

We are pleased to announce that the topic of our next year’s LLC will be Future. The first Call for Submissions will be announced on our website by the beginning of September 2024. 

We thank the members of our Program Committee for their dedication in formulating panel topics and their participation in the selection of papers that will be presented here today. 

Likewise, we thank the members of our Academic Committee and the Faculty of Philosophy for their support of LLC - our colleagues from the Department of English and the Department of Serbian, as well as our English Department students, the Volunteer Team whose help has always been vital for the smooth functioning of LLC. 

We thank our plenary speakers - Professor Ana Kocić Stanković (Faculty of Philosophy), Professor Tanja Petrović (Institute of Culture and Memory Studies in Slovenia) and Professor Martina Topić (College of Communication and Information Sciences, Department of Advertising and PR, University of Alabama) who is joining us online from the US. We invite you all to attend the plenary sessions.


LIT 1: ANA KOCIĆ STANKOVIĆ, Oppression and Intersectionality in Literature and Culture

The panel aims to consider various forms of oppression based on race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, etc. as represented in Anglo-American literature and culture. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.) 


LIT 2: ARIJANA LUBURIĆ-CVIJANOVIĆ, Literature across Boundaries

To articulate and examine experiences of disadvantage at various intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, class, and other culture-specific categories of identity, literature commonly employs forms and styles which are themselves characterised by plurality, boundary crossing and fragmentation. The panel explores how literature that crosses the boundaries of genre, form, media, and/or language reflects intersectional concerns, including but not restricted to writing that relies on fragmented/dispersed/hybrid forms, plays with genre, blends poetry and prose, or combines different media of expression. The literary corpus may include writing outside Anglophone literatures. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.)


LIT 3: SERGEJ MACURA, Road Movies as Nodes of Intersectionality

Apart from its perennial topos of journey, which it inherits from the major narrative works in all of literature, the road movie as a genre has also often served as a vehicle for discussion and commentary on pressing, troubling, even provocative contemporary issues. Although films like Easy Rider (1969) and Vanishing Point (1971), together with the “enclosedˮ road movies similar to Taxi Driver (1976), opened a lot of room for social debate, this genre is at present much more diversified than ever before. Lives of underprivileged members of society have been poignantly presented in Five Easy Pieces (1970) or Scarecrow (1973), but Nomadland (2020) is another testimony to the depth and breadth of the unemployment issue, rather global than strictly American. In addition, the road movie plot does not only show a physical journey, since such works as Rain Man (1988), The Straight Story (1999) About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013) result in previously unexpected self-awareness, and also a deeper understanding of the ageing process, mental disorders, the meaning of life and the sense of otherness. Even racial roles can be reversed, as seen on the examples of Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Green Book (2018), which can prompt a question about the cinematic industry's response to the major social changes worldwide and their application to the art of film. If we include Ray (2004) and Intouchables (2011), the field of intersectionality further opens onto the issue of disability, and with the inclusion of Captain Fantastic (2016), one can ponder on the necessary loss of log cabin innocence in face of economically ordered society. Just as a final suggestion, road films like Little Miss Sunshine (2006) bring up topics of dysfunctional families, generation gap and parental mismanagement of their children's future. All of these works demonstrate some facets of the broad spectrum of intersectional relations, many even featuring multiple viewpoints, and we hope the road movie genre can spark a dynamic academic exchange.


The panel aims to explore fictional and nonfictional depictions of disability, with a special focus on how disability intersects with gender, age, race, and class, among other factors, to produce social marginalization for the disabled (and, in some instances, their caretakers). Any discussion of the representation of disability, moreover, is bound to consider the culture-specific anxieties about the vulnerability of the body and mind; the general precarity of life; the distribution of power and oppression in specific socioeconomic arrangements; the ethics and the gendered nature of care; the (in)stability of gender identity; abjection and endurance, etc. Potential topics include: Disability in (Contemporary) Fiction; Disability in Life Writing; Disability on Film; Disability in Comics/Graphic Novels (Disability and Superheroes); Disability as Subjugated Knowledge. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.)


LANG 1: NADEŽDA SILAŠKI, The Dark Side of Words: Analyzing Verbal Aggression in Contemporary Public Discourse

The panel seeks articles from diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches delving into the discourses that intentionally insult, belittle, label, defame, manipulate, or overtly or covertly discriminate on various grounds. Particularly welcome are topics dealing with the verbal aggression in parliamentary debates, political talk shows, newscast and infotainment programs, but also in a range of print and digital media genres. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.)


LANG 2: TATJANA TRAJKOVIĆ, Dialects in Contemporary Linguistics

Serbian dialects and Standard Serbian – their functions and significance, place in public and internal communication, mutual influences; development of substandard varieties; dialects, substandard varieties and contemporary society; dialects and substandard varieties on social networks, etc.

Serbian dialects and language standard in the light of “gender-sensitive language”: expressing occupations, professions, titles; expressing gender and number; gender and number congruence, etc. The position of Serbian vernaculars and standards in distant or sensitive areas (diaspora, AP Kosovo and Metohija, etc.): sustainability, tendencies, the degree of research, etc. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.) 


LANG 3: ALEKSANDRA SALAMUROVIĆ, Multilingualism through an Intersectional Lens

The panel aims to approach multilingualism, defined as the usage of more than one language, through an intersectional lens. Specifically, we investigate the interplay between language practices and social categories such as citizenship, ethnicity, gender, education, religion, and region, to name but a few, to understand their influence on the 'boundaries and hierarchies of social life' (Anthias 2013: 4) for individuals and/or different social groups. We particularly welcome papers from socio-, pragma-, gender-, and psycholinguistics, and from the field of language teaching. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.)


LANG 4: MARINA NIKOLIĆ, Equality and Discrimination in Language

The panel covers different examples of discriminatory linguistic practice, which appears in public discourse: in the media, politics, on the internet, etc. One of the topics will be judicial practice that deals with linguistic offenses: insults expressed in public discourse, at the workplace, in the social and living environment, due to belonging to a minority group, either on the basis of religious orientation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or due to physical or mental disability, etc., and which lead to the violation of human or civil dignity, as well as to causing immaterial or material damage through various apparent forms. Likewise, the panel explores linguistic means and examples of good practice that achieve or encourage equality between different social groups, both in Serbia and in other countries. (Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.)


LANG 5: JELENA JAĆOVIĆ, IVAN JOVANOVIĆ, Analyse de discours et intersectionnalité

Vu le fait que l’analyse du discours cherche à explorer les fonctions du langage et les manières de la construction de signification dans des contextes différents, son croisement avec la notion de l’intersectionnalité lui donne d’autres possibilités d’action. Ce panel vise à examiner les perspectives de cette synergie à travers les concepts de l’inégalité de la compétence discursive, la colonialité du discours, l’analyse conversationnelle, l’ethnographie visuelle, l’analyse du discours multimodale etc. L'intersectionnalité peut être étudiée au niveau lexico-sémantique (p.ex. déspécification lexicale et dénotation) et syntaxique (p.ex. discours indirect). (Seules les soumissions en serbe et en français seront considérées.) 


SOC: DRAGAN TODOROVIĆ, Intersectionality in Social Sciences

The unilineal approach to overlapping dimensions in examining the human condition and structural hierarchies has been dominant in social sciences for decades - (biological) sex, gender, race, age, physical appearance, weight, caste and class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, religion, mother tongue, citizenship, and marital, work or material status, as well as parenthood, education, disability, political orientation, etc. Intersectionality as an innovative and interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approach aims at examining and understanding the processual nature of social phenomena, as well as simultaneous points of convergence and interrelatedness of the said biological, cultural and social categories of identity which in mutual interaction produce diverse effects, shape unique individual and collective experiences. These experiences can range from being somewhat beneficial (privilege, access to resources of power, well-being and progress), but most often these are damaging experiences of discrimination, repression, subjection and defamation), and they produce substantial legal and social consequences.

Intersectionality is, therefore, the efficient starting point of contemporary discussion on the position and status of marginalized groups and rights advocacy. Intersectional reading 1. exposes the modes of production that lead to power imbalances and relations of subordination, 2. uncovers the structural causes of repression, as well as empowerment, and 3. identifies institutional and systemic discrimination. Intersectionality explains the complexity of social positioning of social agents, and allows for a critical perspective to consider alternatives in terms of intervention, as well as general changes in the domain of organizations, institutions and the system on the whole. These involve improvements in legislation, its application, developing data gathering strategies that would allow a more detailed research into the quality of individual and collective experiences, awareness-raising campaigns aimed at experts, as well as the public about discrimination, etc. 

At an increased risk of multifold vulnerabilities (which just opens up a whole range of possible topics that this panel would address) are:

1. Uneducated women with disability (intersection of education, sex, and disability)

2. Disabled women in political parties (intersection of sex, disability, and political orientation)

3. Unemployed single mothers and fathers with underage children (in terms of the job market, the right to maternity and childcare leave) (intersection of sex, marital status, employment, and socioeconomic status)

4. Women working in high-risk and underpaid jobs in textile and manufacturing industry, and commerce (intersection of gender, education and socioeconomic status)

5. Roma girls in premature, forced, and underage marriages (intersection of gender, age, ethnicity, education, and socioeconomic status)

6. Roma children from unhygienic town areas due to premature school withdrawals, or overrepresentation in special schools (intersection of ethnicity, age, place of residence, and education)

7. Internally displaced Roma women from Kosovo and Roma women who were returned to Serbia without documents according to readmission agreements (intersection of gender and ethnicity, and employment, socioeconomic and legal status)

8. Older women in single-person households in rural areas (intersection of gender, age, place of residence, and socioeconomic status)

9. Same-sex persons with the possibility of registering an extramarital union (intersection of sex, gender, sexuality, marital and parental status)

10.   Homosexual, bisexual, and transgender women in terms of the right to family planning, child adoption and artificial insemination (intersection of sex, gender, sexuality, marital and parental status)

11. Pregnant women and women undergoing In vitro fertilization, in terms of exercising the right to work (intersection of sex, marital and parental status, and employment)

12. Women in leadership positions in politics and management (intersection of sex, education, employment status, and political orientation)

13. Poor self-funded students from rural areas (intersection of employment status, economic status, and place of residence)

(Submissions in English and Serbian will be considered.) 

Plenary Lectures at Intersectionality 2024

About the Plenary Speaker

Tanja Petrović is a principal research associate at the Institute of Culture and Memory Studies ZRC SAZU and professor of the ZRC SAZU Graduate School

About the Plenary Speaker

Dr Martina Topić is an associate professor in public relations leadership at the University of Alabama, College of Communication and Information Sciences, Department of Advertising and PR

About the Plenary Speaker

Ana Kocić Stanković currently works as an Associate Professor of American and African American Studies and American Literature at the English Department of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Niš, Serbia.