The Faculty of Philology at the University of Białystok, together with the Institute of Applied Linguistics at Warsaw University and the Borderland Foundation are happy to announce the international conference Representing, (De)Constructing and Translating Borderlands, which will take place at the International Centre of Dialogue at Krasnogruda, Poland, located close to the Polish-Lithuanian border.

Main Idea

The conference aspires to provide a forum for the discussion and analysis of issues connected with ethnic, geographical and political borderlands, and their representations in literature and film. We welcome papers which will attempt to explore the ways in which borderlands have been represented, constructed, explained and translated.

The range of approaches to issues connected with textual/film representations of borderlands includes, but is not limited to, the following

  • post-colonial studies
  • gender studies
  • travel writing studies
  • eco-criticism
  • narratology
  • genre theories

The conference topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ethnic identity as a borderland situation
  • “Double people” – misplacement and assimilation
  • “Mending Walls” – the neighbour as a cursed blessing
  • The dynamics of the centre and the peripheral in culture – dominant cultural patterns and cultural ghettos
  • Representations of borderland customs and traditions
  • Verbal and non-verbal humour in the context of borderlands
  • Non-verbal communication in the context of borderlands
  • Iconoclasm: transgressions of taboos in the context of borderland situations and literary/cultural representations of the process
  • Encountering, confronting and domesticating the Other
  • Devouring the Other – ethnic and cultural hegemony
  • Constructions of narrative personae in borderland narratives
  • Ghettoes, walls, and barbed wires – subduing, controlling and eliminating the Other
  • “Us” and “Them” – eugenics in twentieth-century culture
  • Limit experience and “limit” literary forms of representation
  • Translation as crossing cultural borders
  • Translating multicultural literature – elements of ‘third cultures’ in translation
  • Polyphony in translation – different voices, different dialects, different worldviews
  • Translating writers from borderlands
  • Intertextuality as a translation problem

As our conference will be held in the Czesław Miłosz International Centre for Dialogue (in a Manor House in Krasnogruda) located very close to the Polish-Lithuanian border, a venue associated with and devoted to Czesław Miłosz, we hope to organize a special conference session dedicated to texts dealing with the Polish-Lithuanian borderland, and even more specifically to texts by and about Czesław Miłosz.

Keynote speakers

Zbigniew Białas is Professor of English and Head of the Postcolonial Studies Department at the University of Silesia, Katowice (Poland). He was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Germany (Essen, Tübingen), and a Fullbright Senior Fellow in the USA. His books include Post-Tribal Ethos in African Literature (1993), Mapping Wild Gardens (1997) and The Body Wall (2006). He is also the author of two novels: Korzeniec (2011) and Puder i Pył (2013). Korzeniec won the title Best Polish Prose of 2011 and was awarded the Silesian Literary Laurel 2012. The novel’s stage adaptation has received seven prizes at major theatre festivals in Poland. In addition, Zbigniew Białas has edited/co-edited twelve academic volumes, written over sixty academic essays, and translated English, American and Nigerian literature into Polish.

Krzysztof Czyżewski is cultural animator, and co-founder and President of the Borderland Foundation and Borderland Centre in Poland. His early experience as an alternative theatre artist led him to the concept of cultural animation, which would promote and develop the unique experience of multicultural borderland regions. The Borderland Foundation and the associated Borderland Centre, both based in northeast Poland, a region with strong multicultural traditions, have been implementing this concept of broad and multi-disciplinary cross-cultural work since the early 1990s. For their activities, focused on promoting dialogue between cultures and nations, Czyżewski and the Borderland Foundation have been awarded many prizes by institutions and organizations from Poland and abroad. He is also a poet and essayist, and the author of numerous articles devoted to the heritage and socio-cultural, bridge-building potential of the borderlands.

Special Guest

Dr Eva Hoffman is a renowned writer and academic. She received the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1990 and the Guggenheim Fellowship for General Nonfiction in 1992. Awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Warwick in 2008, Ms Hoffman now teaches on the MA course at Kingston University, London. Her most important publications include: Lost in Translation: Life in a New Language (1989), Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews (1997), After Such Knowledge: Memory, History and the Legacy of the Holocaust (2004), Illuminations (2008), and Time: Big Ideas, Small Books (2009).

The Organising Committee


  • Chairman:
    • Prof. UW dr. hab Krzysztof Hejwowski
  • Members:
    • Dr Karolina Dębska
    • Mgr Joanna Frol
    • Dr Grzegorz Moroz
    • Dr Jacek Partyka