Call for Papers

The phrase 'Debatable Lands' has been used in reference to disputed parts of the Anglo-Scottish Border since at least the sixteenth century. Popularised by Walter Scott, the term was extended to other geographical areas and into metaphorical use in the nineteenth century. Macaulay in 1828 described history as the 'debatable land' between Reason and Imagination. The BARS conference of 2005 invites an assessment of Romanticism's Debatable Lands in the fullest and broadest senses of the phrase.

Although this list is not intended to preclude other interpretations of the conference theme, we welcome offers of papers on such topics as:

  • The literature of the Anglo-Scottish border in the Romantic period, for instance Hogg, Scott, Wordsworth, ballad collecting and editing
  • English Romantic writers and Scotland
  • Overseas visitors to northern England and the Scottish borders
  • Debatable lands, borders and marches elsewhere in Britain
  • Debatable lands abroad revealed or created in the course of war, empire, trade or travel
  • Lands and societies rendered debatable by race, class, nationality or political allegiance
  • Territories debated by gender
  • The debate between historical fiction and history, reason and imagination, religion and scepticism
  • Debated territories in literary and textual theory


Proposals for 20-minute papers are invited on any aspect of the conference theme. Proposals should be not more than 300 words and submitted by 15 October 2004.

Special Sessions

We are also interested in proposals for Special Sessions. Convenors of Special Sessions are asked to submit a title and details of the three 20-minute papers proposed for the Session by the deadline.

How to submit your proposal

The deadline (15/10/04) has passed for online submission of proposals.

Alternatively you are welcome to submit your proposal by email ( or by post to:

Dr Michael Rossington, BARS2005,
School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics
Percy Building
University of Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

  • Word limit for proposals: 300 words.
  • Deadline: 15 October, 2004.

Conference e-mail address: