Textu(r)alities: Semiotics, Bodies, Texts
Rodrigo Borba (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
Crispin Thurlow (University of Bern)
Both the terms ‘text’ and ‘texture’ derive from the Latin stem texere (for ‘to weave’), suggesting the idea of weaving together individual threads to form larger units that take the form of a network, a patchwork, a structure. According to M. A. K. Halliday and Ruqaiya Hasan, the concept of texture expresses precisely the property of ‘being a text’: “A text has texture, and this is what distinguishes it from something that is not a text. It derives this texture from the fact that it functions as a unity with respect to its environment” (1976: 2). Texture is what makes a text a semantic unit, through linguistic features that give it cohesion and coherence, and it is also what structures discourse in its different forms: narratives, prayers, sonnets, operating instructions, news, formal correspondence, conversation, films, and so on (Halliday and Hasan 1976: 326).
Discourses originate from contextualized and embodied experiences, even when they end up becoming naturalized and widespread in society. This recalls another type of texture, that is the one that is experienced through the phenomenological interaction with one’s surroundings, through the body’s interaction with other bodies, or in general with other objects. This experience is emblematically reflected in Sara Ahmed’s discussion on the relational form of reorientation characteristic of emotions and the way certain bodies (e.g., the queer body, the black body, the non-conforming body) are made to feel out of place in certain hegemonic contexts: an out-of-place-ness and estrangement that involves “an acute awareness of the surface of one’s body, which appears as surface, when we cannot inhabit the social skin, which is shaped by some bodies, and not others” (Ahmed 2014: 148). If on the one hand being comfortable means being able to fit in the environment so much that it becomes hard to distinguish where one’s body ends and the world begins, Ahmed suggests that pain and discomfort on the other hand return one’s attention to the surface of the body, which appears as surface, its texture made ever so present through instances of material and discursive violence alike.
Starting from these premises around the relationship between bodies and texts, on the way bodies and discourses are mutually capable of doing and undoing one another, this conference seeks to open a reflection around the concept of texture and its many reverberations across discourses and disciplines: linguistics (including CDA, MCDA, Ecolinguistics, Corpus Linguistics, translation, AVT, multimodality), literature, anthropology, performance studies, history, philosophy, cultural studies, and so on.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- Linguistic texture
- Narration and texture
- Corporeality and texture
- Texture in multimodal discourse
- Food narratives and texture
- Intersectionality and texture
- Texture and emotions
- Texture and new materialism
- Textures of sound
- Texture in translation
- Translating bodies
- Texture in environmental discourse
- Texture in quantitative analysis
We invite contributors to send their proposals (a 250-word abstract, title, author’s name, a 150- word bio, and contact) to email@example.com by 24 March 2021. Each presentation will be 20 minutes (followed by discussion time). Notification of acceptance will be sent by 31 March 2021. A selection of papers will be published in an edited volume or in a special issue of a scientific journal.
Venue: University of Naples “L’Orientale”, to be held online via Microsoft Teams
Date: 28 May 2021
Deadline for submitting proposals: 24 March 2021
Notification of acceptance: 31 March 2021
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Convener: Emilio Amideo
Scientific committee: Giuseppe Balirano and Emilio Amideo
Organizing committee: Roberta La Peruta and Luisa Marino