CFP: Literature and Philosophy: Forms of Knowledge

Submission deadline: September 17, 2017

Conference date(s):
November 7, 2017 - November 8, 2017

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Conference Venue:

University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Forms of Knowledge: Literature and Philosophy Conference


Dates of conference : November 7-8, 2017

Deadline for submissions : September 17, 2017

Name of organization: University of Edinburgh (precise location to be announced)

Contact email:

Keynote Speaker: Sandra Laugier, Full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and Scientific Deputy Director at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (INSHS) at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued that “Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being”. Although often divided along institutional disciplinary lines, literature and philosophy have long shared an interest in questions of truth and knowledge raised by such statements. How do intellectual, phenomenological, theological, and affective forms of knowledge figure in literary and philosophical texts? How can works of literature perform and/or clarify philosophical concerns, especially questions of epistemology? How can philosophical texts and methodologies illuminate and/or reframe works of literature? How are forms of knowledge racialized, gendered, queered, or otherwise embodied and encoded?

Hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s research group Overlap, in partnership with the French Institute, the Department of English Literature, and the Department of European Languages and Cultures, this interdisciplinary conference invites delegates to explore questions such as these, bringing together viewpoints from the intersecting fields of philosophy and literature to interrogate various forms of knowledge creation.

Possible lines of inquiry include (but are not restricted to):

- how the work of certain philosophers have assumed “literary” forms in order to express philosophical ideas.

- how literature represents the relation of affect to ethics and politics, as discussed, for example, by Martha Nussbaum.

- how epistemologies are theorized within feminist, queer, and/or postcolonial paradigms, as, for example, in the work of Sarah Ahmed.

- Stanley Cavell’s work on literature and cinema, and his role in bridging the divide between analytic and continental philosophy.

- writers of philosophical fiction, drama, or poetry, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Iris Murdoch, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

- environmental philosophy, for example how Western culture’s human/nature dualism is figured in literature.

- proposals for other papers dealing with the relation of philosophy or literature to aesthetics, affect, beauty, drama, epistemology, ethics, existentialism, feminism, fiction, gender, history of knowledge, memory, ontology, performativity, phenomenology, poetry, postcolonialism, power, politics, religion, rhetoric, semiotics, sexuality, trauma, and truth will be welcomed.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 15-20 minute paper, plus a 100-word biography should be submitted to by Sunday 17th September 2017.

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