CFP: Licencorship for fiction - Modalities of aesthetic, epistemic and ethical authorisation processes

Submission deadline: March 30, 2021

Conference date(s):
June 30, 2021 - July 2, 2021

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

CRC 1385 Law and Literature (SFB 1385 Recht und Literatur), University of Muenster, Germany
Münster, Germany


                                                         Call for Papers 

Licencorship for fiction - Modalities of aesthetic, epistemic and ethical authorisation processes 

(Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1385 Law and Literature, University of Muenster, Germany) 

June 30 - July 2, 2021 

Confirmed keynote speaker:

Professor Peter Lamarque (Professor of Philosophy, University of York)  

The Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1385 ‘Law and Literature’ of the University of Muenster will be hosting an international conference in Muenster, Germany on June 30 - July 2, 2021. The conference theme is licencorship for fiction. The keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor Peter Lamarque (University of York). 

This conference focuses on the processes of authorisation and permission of fiction, which we have coined as processes of licencorship.  ‘Licencing’ is not to be confused with the juridical (technical) term. Taking into account, instead, the original semantics of the Latin term licere, licencorship is conceived as the authorisation of fictional works. Licences for fiction can then be granted a priori (self-licencing) or, as one among many others options, a posteriori through an act of self-empowerment and in accordance with the labelling of one’s own work as fiction.  

Our theme of licencorship is broadly defined and the aim of the conference is to offer an antipole to the long-standing debate on the borders of fiction. We seek to bring scholars of literature and law and of other related disciplines, such as philosophy, aesthetics, cultural studies, sociology and political science, into conversation in an interdisciplinary setting at this three-day event. The conference seeks to understand three main dimensions of licencorship: 

  • Since fiction is often seen as potentially referring to reality by the judiciary and thus as capable of being truthful, (legal) limits on/of fictional works are at times imposed. By contrast, this conference will initially follow the credo ‘We grasp fiction in opposition of reality (actuality)’ (Lubomír Doležel: Heterocosmica).  

  • Licencorships of fictional works as the authorisation to stand above ‘the’ law are to be examined across fields in terms of epistemic, ethical as well as aesthetic aspects and modes. Ethical licences of fiction, in particular, are to be emphasized by raising the question whether a ‘willing suspension of moral sense’ (Johannes Franzen: Contested Inventions) can indeed be observed in the reception of fiction.  

  • Acts and practices of de-licencorship, which are performed by legal practice and jurisprudence as well as – though less often and less obviously – by literary studies. Such practices can be best conceived when considering the judicial prohibition of the distribution of novels (i.e., Maxim Biller’s Esra) as precedents within this debate, which grants a glimpse of the complexity and difficulties faced by court rulings on issues of fictional works. 

Possible topics might include but are not limited to: 

Theories, techniques and functions of fiction  

Fiction and cognition, fiction and emotion 

Interfaces between fact and fiction, including autofiction, life writing, autobiography, etc. 

Literature and (Post-/Self) censorship 

Legal status of literature  

Hermeneutics in law and literature 

Licences and limits of fiction 

Discursive formation of literature licences 

Judging art from a legal perspective 

Legal issues around the world in fiction 

Please submit paper proposals of up to 500 words either in German or in English. In addition to proposals from all areas of literary studies and jurisprudence, we also encourage contributions from fields ranging from philosophy, aesthetics, cultural studies to sociology, political science and related disciplines. Young researchers in particular are kindly invited to submit proposals. All abstract submissions must be received by 31 March 2021. Lectures should not exceed 20 minutes in length.  

Important dates: 

Submission of Abstracts: 31 March 2021 

Notification of applicants: 15 April 2021 

Early registration will start from 1 May 2021 

We are planning on publishing selected contributions in an anthology after the conference.  

Depending on the development of Covid-19, we reserve the option of moving the conference to an online format. The conference languages are German and English. Pre-registration by e-mail (please contact Nursan Celik: [email protected]) is required. 

Submissions and general inquiries should be sent to Daniel Arjomand ([email protected]) and Nursan Celik ([email protected]). 

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