American Studies Specialists in Opole
From 23 to 25 October 2019 the Faculty of Philology of the OU hosted the participants of the thirty-first annual conference of the Polish Association for American Studies (PAAS).
The Conference, which takes place at a different academic centre every year, was organised this time by the English academics from the Institute of Literature Studies, with the support of researchers from the Institute of Linguistics.
The main theme for the researchers' deliberations was the slogan "Sound of Silence in Literature, Culture and Politics", which referred to the motives of silence, but also to the types and strategies of verbal and non-verbal expression, suppression of the voice and reclaiming of the voice, or the issue of censorship. Since silence is never neutral in its message (according to Susan Sontag), it can be perceived as a symptom of what in culture is unspeakable, passed over in silence or assumed, and thus usually not articulated, but rather left in speculation.
The session was opened by Professor Ryszard Wolny, the Director of the Institute of Literary Studies, and Amy Steinmann, U.S. Consul, who stressed the importance of a close alliance and cooperation between Poland and the USA in terms of security, deepening economic relations and research exchange, as well as Professor Tomasz Basiuk, President of PAAS from Warsaw.
Plenary lectures at the conference were delivered by: Prof. King-Kok Cheung - a well-known Asian-American literary researcher from the University of California, Los Angeles; the founder of PAAS and an outstanding translator and anthropologist of American literature Prof. Agnieszka Salska; Prof. Dominika Ferens from the University of Wrocław and Prof. Jadwiga Maszewska from the University of Łódź.
The conference was attended by over fifty speakers from Poland and abroad, including the USA, Israel, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Greece and Italy. Part of the costs of the conference was covered by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, thanks to a grant obtained by the main organizer and originator of the conference Prof. Klara Szmańko from the ILS.
Text: Prof. Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska