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SWPS University - Main page


PASE 2024 Conference

Interspecies Friendships and Non-human Companionships

Call for Papers Register Now

The conference is addressed to:

researchers and students

Second call for panel proposals and call for individual presentations

Friendship and companionship offer complementary relationships with the world as they in various ways undermine the idea of singularity. As Jean-Luc Nancy notes in Being Singular Plural, what makes the idea of the singular pure and simple an uncertain kind of category is “the originary plurality of origins and the creation of the world in each singularity, creation continued in the discontinuity of its discrete occurrences.” This is also the case of species, both human and non-human, whose singular names betray this kind of plurality. Through her concepts of cyborgs and companion species, Donna Haraway offers a framework for bringing together the organic and inorganic, the natural and the technological, as well as the modern and postmodern in unexpected ways. This theoretical foundation has destabilized our imagination of nature and ecology, both fundamental concepts in the history of Western thought and aesthetics. From animals, plants, and fungi to ecosystems, machines, and algorithms, a network of (in)organic and (im)material agencies shapes the world in common. It is through friendship and companionship that we never walk alone, given that we do not posit ourselves in a masterly position of domination. Yet we must also remember that the first-person plural may be misleading, or, as Nancy claims, paradoxical. We are thus called to reimagine the borders we impose on our communities and ourselves. Following Julietta Singh, in questioning anthropocentric definitions of communality we must unthink the logic of mastery that has long determined our subjectivities, relations, and disciplines. In this sense, the process of de-humanism by which we might re-envision our friendships and companionships is itself allied with theories and practices of decoloniality.

In situating these concerns, this conference proposes to decenter traditional humanisms by addressing the problem of being with, rather than in the world from a broad spectrum of fields and methods. The language of the conference will be English.

  • Human, animal, and plant entanglements
  • Queer kinships
  • New figurations of the commons
  • Deep time and the temporality of kinship
  • Decolonial critiques of humanism and nature
  • Philosophies of friendship and enmity
  • Biopolitics and disability aesthetics
  • Post-nature and critiques of ecology
  • Machine and computer-assisted translation
  • Applications of AI models in the humanities
  • Learning analytics and computer-assisted pedagogy
  • Corpus tools for linguistic research
  • Digital literacies
  • Computer-Mediated communication

Abstracts: max 250 words | Bios: max 150 words | Panel descriptions: max 350 words

Important Dates

April 8, 2024
Proposal submission deadline [extended]

April 15, 2024
Notification of acceptance

May 15, 2024
Registration deadline [extended]

Conference fees:

Standard fee: 700 PLN / 160 EUR

PASE members: 600 PLN / 140 EUR

The conference fee covers conference materials and coffee breaks; it does not cover the conference dinner or accommodation.

Registration Form

Please follow the link below to register for the conference.

Online Registration Form

Organizing Committee

  • Agnieszka Pantuchowicz, Ph.D./Associate Professor
  • Thomas Matusiak, Ph.D/Assistant Professor
  • Małgorzata Waśniewska, Ph.D/Assistant Professor

Advisory Board

  • Professor Hanna Komorowska
  • Professor David Malcolm
  • Piotr Skurowski, Ph.D./Associate Professor

Keynote Lectures

Courtesy request markers in the history of English. The long diachrony
Andreas H. Jucker, University of Zurich

Today’s courtesy request marker please is a relatively recent innovation in the history of English. It goes back to the end of the nineteenth century when it replaced its predecessor pray. But the history is more complex with a range of phrases with a similar function. Previous research has generally focused on the grammaticalization processes involved in the development from “I pray you” to pray and from “if it pleases you” or “be pleased to” to please (e.g. Akimoto 2000; Tieken-Boon van Ostade and Faya Cerqueiro 2007). In this presentation, I focus on the larger picture by tracing the long diachrony of courtesy request markers in the history of English based on a range of diachronic corpora (including the Helsinki Corpus and ARCHER). The development starts in Late Middle and Early Modern English with explicit performative speech acts, such as “I pray you”, “I beg you” and “I beseech you”. In Late Modern English, pray grammaticalized while some of the other performative speech act formulae continued to be used until they were replaced by phrases with please, which eventually grammaticalized into today’s parenthetical please itself. I will show how these developments reflect changes in the politeness culture of English. While the earlier forms manifest a form of supplication politeness in which speakers frame themselves as supplicants begging a favour from an addressee, current forms reflect a more egalitarian politeness system in which speakers disguise their requests as non-imposing suggestions and hints.

Learning English in the age of AI: Will dictionaries become obsolete?
Robert Lew, Adam Mickiewicz University

For decades, learners of English have relied on dictionaries as lexical reference tools in the language-learning process. Millions of learners of English worldwide have relied on monolingual English learners’ dictionaries, including the renowned Big Five titles (OALD, LDOCE, COBUILD, CALD, MED), alongside bilingual dictionaries and adapted bilingualized versions of the Big Five, especially popular in Asia. In December 2022, ChatGPT was made available to the general public. Technically a chatbot built around a family of Generative Pre-trained Transformers, a flavour of Large Language Models, ChatGPT can produce natural-sounding English prose, as well as hold human-like conversation. A number of early studies explored the possibility of engaging this technology to produce dictionary entries, with encouraging results. This raises the question: do English learners still need dictionaries as intermediaries, or could they interact directly with a chatbot for tasks traditionally done with dictionaries? I will look at the emerging evidence of how good generative transformers are at such tasks, compared to traditional dictionaries.

All Critters Great and Small. On Terrapolis and Crittership
Tadeusz Rachwał, SWPS University

In the lecture I will read Donna Haraway’s re- de- categorization of traditionally humanist vision of the world in the Anthropocene as a, however radical, proposal opening a possibility of exiting the Anthropocene without our self-destruction. The passage from the Anthropocene to what she calls the Chthulucene demands some radical transformation of, among others, creatures to critters and of the public space of polis to Terrapolis – a space of multispecies connections and compositions which “world the world”. Haraway’s original fabulation of the world, however original, is also a literary endeavour in which neologisms are offered not as renditions of something absolutely new, but which, like Terrapolis, allude to humanist ideals (here to ideal urban spaces like Platoplis), simultaneously earthing them within the materiality of the world. The question which I will try to answer (relating Haraway’s writings to Michele Serres’s idea of natural contract and Rousseau’s idea of citizenship) is that of crittership in Terrapolis, a seemingly simple question of the where and who/what/when will inhabit, or world, the Chthulucene.

Conference program and book of abstracts

Program PASE 2024 laptop

Download conference program (PDF file) Download book of abstracts (PDF file)


USWPS kampus front poziom1

The conference venue will be located in the main building of SWPS University, ul. Chodakowska 19/31, Warsaw.


Warsaw is served by two airports: Warsaw Chopin and Warsaw Modlin. To reach the city center from Warsaw Chopin you may take the no. 175 bus, the no. S2 train, or taxi/uber. To reach the university from Warsaw Chopin, you may take the S2 train past the city center to the Warszawa Wschodnia train station, and then follow the instructions listed for rail travel below. Warsaw Modlin is located approximately 35km outside Warsaw, and is connected to the city center by bus, train, and taxi/uber. For further information on traveling to/from Modlin airport, please consult the airport's website:


The nearest train station is Warszawa Wschodnia, less than 1.5 kilometers from the university. From there you may take buses 102, 123, 173 or 202 (from the Dw. Wschodni - Lubelska stop, getting off at the Mińska 02 stop). If you arrive at the Warszawa Centralna station, the easiest way to reach the university is by taking the no. 22 tram from the Dw. Centralny 07 stop towards Wiatraczna, exiting at the Gocławska stop.


The conference will take place at the SWPS University campus at Chodakowska 19/31, which can be accessed by tram or bus. The nearest stops are Gocławska (trams 3, 6, 22, 26) and Praga Płd.-Ratusz or Mińska (buses 123, 125, 135, 173, 202, 311). The easiest way to reach the university from the city center is by taking the no. 22 tram towards Wiatraczna, exiting at the Gocławska stop.


The three hotels below are located near the Conference venue and have kindly offered reduced rates for PASE 2024 participants.

Tulip Residences - Warszawa Targowa

  • Single room: 330 PLN/night (includes breakfast).
  • Twin room: 380 PLN/night (includes breakfast).

To book a room, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +48 22 263 72 00 and use the code “PASE 2024”.

Hotel Hetman

  • Single room: 340 PLN/night (includes breakfast).
  • >Double/ twin room: 420 PLN/night (includes breakfast).
  • Cost of underground parking: PLN 65/day (reservation required due to the limited number of places).

To book a room, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and use the code “PASE 2024”.

Lull Hostel 15 % discount on all rooms.

To book a room, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +48 608 031 743 and use the code “PASE 2024”.