September 11, 2006

Conference on Literature and the New Media


Remediating Literature

An international conference on Literature and the new media entitled Re-mediating Literature will take place at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) 4-6 july 2007, with keynote speakers Katherine Hayles, Marie-Laure Ryan, Jan Baetens, and Samuel Weber. Our website features all relevant information concerning the conferencem including the call for papers (deadline is November 6, 2006).

The conference revolves around the following issues: Recent developments in digital and electronic media have stimulated new theoretical reflections on the nature of media as such and on the way in which they evolve across time. The particular aim of this conference is to examine how recent technological changes have affected the ‘old’ medium of literature.

Multimedial and interactive texts, digitalized archives, cyberpoetics, and technological innovations such as foldable screens: together these have influenced the production and reception of literature, along with the ways in which we think about writing and reading. These ongoing developments call for a critical examination both of the relations between literature and the new media, and of the relations between literary studies and media studies.

The concept of ‘remediation’ in our title thus has a double thrust. Firstly, it refers to the transformative exchanges that have occurred in the past, and continue to occur, between literature and new media: how has digitilization affected literature as a cultural medium? Secondly, it indicates a relocation of literary studies within the broader field of (new) media studies: how could literary studies profit from the various analytical tools developed in (new) media studies and conversely, how could our understanding of earlier phases in the evolution of the literary medium contribute to our understanding of present developments? By working on both these issues, we hope to locate the place of literature within the milieu of modern media networks and technologies, but also to relocate the aims and practices of literary studies within the field of (new) media studies.

Main themes

A. New technologies and literary practice: the state of the field: Will literature continue to develop as a schizophrenic medium, a hard medium of printed matter and an unstable medium of electronic data at the same time, or will it fork out in one of two directions? How is digitilisation affecting reading practices and the circulation of literary texts? What new forms of ‘inter-medial’ and multimedial literature are emerging?

B. Literature and the new media: the longer view: What new light do recent developments throw on the history of literature as a cultural medium and, conversely, how might insights from the history of the literary medium contribute to our understanding of recent developments? How can literary history be rewritten in conjunction with such media technologies?

C. Media compatibilities and competitions: new media hardly ever completely subject and annihilate older media. Rather, the two tend to co-exist, each taking on different tasks and responsibilities (cf. film and the novel in the earlier twentieth century). At the same time, however, they often interrupt and compete with each other (cf. television and the digital in the later twentieth century). How can this duplicity of compatibility and competition be mapped and analyzed, and what are the insights that such analyses might yield into media formations as techno-cultural formations?

D. Disciplinary relocations: will literary studies become a branch of media studies in the foreseeable future - and if so, how? Will literary studies profit from such a re-location, and how will this re-location affect its objects and methodologies?

Abstract submissions:


*Changing conceptions and manifestations of the text from print to the digital age;

*Cyberpoetics and the hypertextual in digitalized and printed form;

*Remediation as a cultural process: how have different media reworked and incorporated each other, and how can such reworkings be theorized in terms of cultural memory and media archeology? This could, for instance, focus on the representation of new media in literature (cf. James Joyce, William Gibson), and the way in which these representations have in turn been stored in the practices of such new media;

*Copy-cats and mutations: how have textual, visual, aural, digital, and performative media functioned alongside each other, how have they co-existed? Which tasks and aspects do old media delegate to new media, or which tasks and aspects do new media copy form old media, and how has this changed the status and identity of the old medium?

*Old narratives, new games: narrative and narrative transformations across media;

*Technological inventions and their effects on the object of literary studies: the impact of new mediations of the literary through foldable screens and other flexible, wearable, handheld paper displays, as well as mobile acoustic networks;

*Institutional remediations I: web publishing, accessibility and canonization of hyperfiction, funding of literary projects on the internet, the emergence of new forms and practices of literary criticism on the internet, as well as the institutional development of new strategies and conventions in editing techniques;

*Institutional remediations II: literary studies from cultural to media studies: will we witness, in the foreseeable future, a ‘post-human’ paradigm shift in the humanities that redirects our focus from cultural studies to media studies?

-Submission guidelines:
Abstracts may be submitted through the following mailing address, indicating the applicant’s name, email address and present academic function:


*Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, should summarize the topic of the paper, and must be written in English;
*Abstracts should conform to one or more of the conference topics;
*Abstracts will be selected by the Program Committee on the basis of originality, significance of contribution, and relevance to the conference topics;
*Abstracts can be submitted until November 6, 2006
*Authors will be notified of acceptance or rejection by e-mail by December 22, 2006

Posted by jo at September 11, 2006 02:55 PM