BL Conference, Rome 2020

1st International Conference
for Young Researchers

Beyond Language 2020

Conference is the action of bringing together; it involves contribution and comparison of ideas; understood as a rendezvous, it was once accurately defined by Samuel Johnson as “‘the act of conversing on serious subjects, formal discourse; oral discussion of any question.”

(“The Conference of the Birds”, Folio 11r from a Mantiq al-tair (Language of the Birds), [CC Metropolitan Museum of Art])

CONFERENCE: a scholarly rendezvous

In the true spirit of the very word conference, Beyond Language once again brings together young researchers to confer about their projects, this time providing them with their own space, at the 1st International Conference for Young Researchers, planned as an annual event to be held in Rome, Italy.

Due to the global quarantine, this year’s gathering moved to the virtual world; June 23, 2020 saw online participants from among independent scholars and researchers affiliated with the University of Wrocław, Poland (College for Interdisciplinary Studies, Department of French Linguistics); the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland; the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy (Departments of Germanic and Slavic Studies; European, American and Intercultural Studies); and the Polish Academy of Sciences (Committee for Philology, Wrocław Branch; Scientific Center in Rome, Italy).

The conference convened under the honorary auspices of Rector of the University of Wrocław, Poland, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and Æ Academic, San Diego, CA.

REPORTS from academic frontiers

The BL researchers met on a virtual bridgeway between Poland, Italy, and California, to discuss research on a variety of topics under the guidance of their mentors: Prof. Piotr Chruszczewski of University of Wrocław, Prof. Piotr Salwa of PAN Scientific Center in Rome, Prof. Annalisa Cosentino, of Germanic and Slavic Studies at Sapienza, and Prof. Luigi Marinelli of the Department of European, American and Intercultural Studies, at Sapienza. The speakers briefly introduced current trends in their scholarly endeavors and divulged the directions their future contributions to the field, covering language, literature, and interdisciplinary studies.


Research on language currently performed by BL scholars covers an impressive span, from the origins of language as such to the languages of nations and minorities, cf.:

  • Monika Weinert (independent researcher)
    “On the contemporary theories of development of language”;
  • Aleksandra R. Knapik (Committee for Philology, PAN/ Wrocław, Poland)
    “Maltese and other languages of Malta”;
  • Natalia Chrzanowska (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “Bilingualism in Malta: Preferences and attitudes of Maltese university students.”


The on-going literary research projects cover the 14th century Grettis Saga, one of the Íslendingasögur – Islanders’ sagas recording the history of prior centuries; 19th c. travelogues by Joseph Roth, a cosmopolitan subject of the Austro-Hungarian empire travelling in France; as well as 20th c. poetry by Ilse Aichinger, an Austrian poetess and member of Group 47, and Tadeusz Różewicz, one of the Polish “1920 generation,” cf.:

  • Gaia D’elia (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
    “Itineraries through space and landscapes in Joseph Roth’s travel reportages from Southern France”;
  • Matteo Iacovella (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
    “The ‘po-ethical’ turn in post-war Austrian literature through Ilse Aichinger’s works”;


At the junction of literature, language, and socio-political studies, Patrycja analyzes oriental connotations evoked by the term Pologne and the western feel for the term Russie, while Isabella tackles the question of whether “English” always has to mean “British,” among others; cf.:

  • Patrycja Chruściel (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “Between Russie and Pologne: On the difference of construction of social meaning in press discourse”;


Given the present situation all over the world, political and social matters are hotly debated in many circles, and academia does not shy from them either. BL researchers analyze language in the social context, the way politicians formulate their public speeches, and the tendencies of public media to portray others:

  • Giuliana D’oro (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
    “The role of Russian language in the Muslim question of the 19th–20th centuries”;
  • Gaia Seminara (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
    “Young people and youth organizations between Czechoslovakia and Italy in the second postwar period”;
  • Anna Skibińska (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “The image of Ukrainians in regional media in Lower Silesia: headline analysis”;
  • Leszek Wojteczek (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “Language and power in Jarosław Kaczyński’s parliamentary pre-election speech of September 7, 2019”;
  • Aleksandra Misior-Mroczkowska (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “On the rise of contemporary Polish nationalism”;
  • Paweł Giwojno (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “Slavery, emancipation, and the struggle for dignity: Selected linguistic labels used to describe American descendants of African slaves; change and evolution in a linguistic, social, and cultural context.”


A healthy dose of humor can rescue anybody from the worst of dooms, or so they say. Agata and Anna work on the intricacies of the Polish sense of humor as (mis)understood by contemporary Poles, Italians, and Taiwanese:

  • Agata Figiel (independent researcher, Poland)
    “Don’t mention communism! – communicational grammar of Polish verbal humor in the years 1972–1980 as the art of Homo Sovieticus on the basis of chosen film scripts”;


Language, literature, fine arts and architecture all intertwine in studies by three BL researchers from Wrocław, each working on a different aspect of the rich multicultural Vroclaviensis heritage:

  • Aneta Daniel (independent scholar, Poland)
    “Wrocław as the cradle of neurolinguistics: A study of the history of linguistics”;
  • Alicja Cimała (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    “The multicultural collage of artistic expression in Wrocław”;
  • Monika Piechota (University of Wrocław, Poland)
    Shalom bayit: Home as memory in Willy Cohn’s Breslau diary and memoirs.”


Well-thought anthological connections may undoubtedly serve as convergence points that bring together scholars from different home countries but of similar academic experience. We want to give them space to share their expertise and debate over their research, thus expanding their horizons and helping advance their respective studies. Such is also the prevalent vision behind the Beyond Language series, a true florilegium of the academic thought on concepts extending well beyond language studies, from which the series originated and from where it grew out to encapsulate modern interdisciplinary approaches.


Language is a fascinating phenomenon which notoriously escapes investigators and their analyses. The more challenging and complex the issue is, the more interesting knowledge there is to gain and the more intricate mechanisms there are to be discovered. The Beyond Language series aims at a fresh perspective on “language-and-beyond”-oriented research. We strongly believe that in order to describe language, one has to think outside the box and virtually go beyond it. It is our hope that our readers can also be joining us in that endeavor. The forward searching nature of the series sends the masters and commanders of knowledge to seek out new frontiers.


Piotr Chruszczewski, Aleksandra Knapik (eds) (2018) Między tekstem a kulturą: z zagadnień przekładoznawstwa [Between text and culture: on translation issues]. San Diego, CA: Æ Academic Publishing.
Joanna Stolarek, Jarosław Wiliński (eds) (2017) Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Literature and Language. San Diego, CA: Æ Academic Publishing.