Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Amazon Meme

A couple of blogs I read have had posts up about their writers' first Amazon purchases, so I thought I'd check out my own for a minute. Actually it took more than a minute, and in the process I found out that somehow I've got two Amazon accounts. Anyway, I tracked down my first purchase. It's a bit weird:

My first purchase, which was shipped on August 19, 1996, was Wade Davis's Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie I think I'd just seen Wes Craven's awful movie, The Serpent and the Rainbow, on cable. The book is pretty interesting, though!

My second purchase, shipped August 17, 1996 (probably the same purchase) was Sven Birkerts's The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Together with the Davis book, that's a weird combination. I vaguely remember reading that book. Anyone still read it?

The summer of 1996 was the first time I stayed in Taiwan for the whole summer. That summer, I studied Chinese at the Chinese Language Center at Feng Chia U. I also bought a car, a 1990 Ford Laser--it only cost NT$70,000. I guess I needed some reading materials for all the time I ended up spending at the auto mechanic.

It looks like I haven't bought anything for myself from Amazon in years. Their shipping to Taiwan is too expensive, for one thing. I prefer BetterWorldBooks now... (little plug--if you're interested in those 2 books, check out BWB first.)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

CFP: Travelling Languages

Travelling Languages:
Culture, Communication and Translation in a Mobile World

10th Annual Conference of the International Association of Languages and Intercultural Communication

In association with the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University

03-05 December 2010, Leeds, United Kingdom

The world is ever 'on the move'. The opportunities and challenges of both real and virtual travel are very much at the heart of the emergent interdisciplinary field of 'mobilities', which deals with the movement of peoples, objects, capital, information and cultures across an increasingly globalised and apparently borderless world. In the practices, processes and performances of moving – whether for voluntary leisure, forced migration or economic pragmatism – we are faced with the negotiation and re-negotiation of identities and meaning relating to places and pasts.

Within the increasing complexities of global flows and encounters, intercultural skills and competencies are being challenged and re-imagined. The vital role of languages and the intricacies of intercultural dialogue have largely remained implicit in the discourses surrounding mobilities. This Conference seeks to interrogate the role of intercultural communication and of languages in the inevitable moments of encounter which arise from all forms of 'motion'.

This international and interdisciplinary event is the 10th anniversary conference of the International Association of Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC) and is being organised in association with the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. Through this event we aim to bring together many of the sub-themes of previous IALIC conferences and focus upon the issues of culture, communication and translation in a mobile world, including: languages and intercultural communication in local and global education, tourism, hospitality, migration, translation, real and virtual border-crossings.


We are pleased to receive 20–minute research papers or descriptions of pedagogical practice which address or go beyond the following themes:

• Moving languages - continuities and change;

• Real and virtual border crossings;

• Tourist encounters and communicating with the 'other';

• Tourism's role in inter-cultural dialogue;

• The languages of diasporas and diasporic languages;

• Dealing with dialects and the evolution/dissolution of communities;

• Hospitality and languages of welcome;

• Learning the languages of migration;

• Linguistic boundaries and socio-cultural inclusions and exclusions;

• 'Located' and 'dislocated' languages and identities;

• Practices and performances of translation.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words including title and full contact details as an electronic file to Jane Wilkinson at IALIC2010[at] You may submit your abstract as soon as possible but no later than 1st June 2010.

Please send any queries to us at IALIC2010[at]

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

CFP: The 4th Conference on College English, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Call for Abstracts
The 4th Conference on College English
College English Programs: Design and implementation
National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

The 4th Conference on College English will be held by the Foreign Language Center of National Chengchi University (NCCU) on Saturday 16th October 2010. Teachers and researchers in ELT/TESOL are invited to offer scholarly papers on teaching and learning English at college or university level. The theme for this year’s conference is College English Programs: Design and implementation.

Undergraduate English programs are an important part of General Education, with an additional mission of cultivating abilities necessary for students’ future academic and career development. Freed from restrictions of college entrance examinations, educators have considerable choice and autonomy. Universities, with their various objectives and student populations, have different needs, in terms of materials and methods, curriculum guidelines, instructor deployment, number of credit hours, ability grouping, course content, and exit benchmarks. Therefore, English education policies at the university level vary from institution to institution. These valuable experiences could profitably be shared and discussed in a forum among scholars from different university contexts. The 4th Conference on College English will provide a forum for all those involved with College English/Freshman English program design and implementation, whether policy makers, course planners, research personnel or teachers at the chalkface, to present their work.

We welcome individual paper presentation and panel discussion proposals which are related to the above issues, as well as papers on any other aspect of English taught as a foreign language at tertiary institutions. Please send your 250-500 word abstract, as an email attachment (Word or PDF document), to flcenter [at] Also please download and complete this biodata form, and attach it to the email.

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: 11th July 2010

Abstract acceptance notification: 11th August 2010

The 4th College English Conference: 16th October 2010

Full paper submission deadline (for post-conference Proceedings): 16th December 2010

Enquiries: Ms Derya Liu, (02) 2939-3091 ext. 62396