The BACLS Biennial Conference

The inaugural British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies – What Happens Now Conference (BACLS-WHN) is on 10th-12th July 2018 at Loughborough University, UK.

We invite contributions to the first official BACLS ‘What Happens Now’ conference.
Understanding the contemporary as a fluid and hybrid ‘moment’, contemporary literary studies explores works of culture and their relation to the emerging political and social formations of the present.

We welcome contributions on topics from across the field of contemporary literary studies, including modern languages, comparative and world literatures, eco-criticism, postcolonial studies, translation studies, linguistics, performance studies, media theory, comics studies, video games studies, adaptation studies, the study of popular music, cultural studies, critical theory, and digital humanities.

BACLS-WHN will include readings and performances, as well as three themed conference strands (below). If you are submitting to one of these strands please make it clear in your proposal.

  1. Gendered Lives In honour of our host institution’s work with the Gendered Lives Research Group we welcome panel proposals that bring together those researching gender, how it is experienced, and how it is represented in personal documents and cultural objects in contemporary culture.
  2. Pedagogy Because of the challenges of teaching the contemporary, BACLS-WHN will have sessions devoted to pedagogy and issues of teaching. If you would like to propose to run a workshop on pedagogy or linked issues, or if you have any suggestions of workshops you would like to attend, please email
  3. Professional Development BACLS-WHN will have sessions devoted to PGR and ECR perspectives on the field and the academic profession more broadly. If you would like to propose to run a workshop on professional development, or if you have any suggestions of workshops you would like to attend as a PGR/ECR academic, please email

BACLS is especially concerned to encourage and enhance representation and participation from minorities, and is proactively working to reduce physical, social, and economic barriers to participation and to develop an environment rooted in a belief of equal respect for all. We strongly encourage and will give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and institutional affiliation. All-male panel proposals will not be accepted.

Loughborough accessibility statement:
All scheduled events will take place in Martin Hall, which is full accessible. For evening meals, all venues will be chosen with accessibility in mind. Please let the organisers know in advance if you need help with any travel arrangements between the main campus and where the evening events will take place in town. Loughborough is a big campus. If you are staying in campus accommodation, please let the organisers know if you need travel arrangements between the accommodation and Martin Hall.

Please send panel proposals of no more than 600 words, and paper abstracts of no more than 250 words, with brief biographical notes (about 50 words) in word format to the conference email address, by 31st January 2018.

To attend BACLS-WHN you will need to register as a member of BACLS. You do not need to be a member to submit a panel, paper, or workshop proposal.

Conference Organisers: Jennifer Cooke (Loughborough University), Zara Dinnen (University of Birmingham).