“‘Feeling Real’: Affect, Literature, and Reimagined Realities”

Abstract Deadline: February 29, 2016

Dates: May 5-6, 2016

Location: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CFP Link

The British Modernities Group (BMG) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites graduate students to present papers at its eleventh annual interdisciplinary conference, “‘Feeling Real’: Affect, Literature, and Reimagined Realities.”

Our conference will bring together innovative work in affect theory, literary studies, and related fields to consider how feelings contribute to literature and how fictions feel real. As affect explores the cultivation, proliferation, and broader implications of both fictional and real-world feelings, literary scholarship has begun to consider compelling intersections of the mind and the material world that complicate the space between what feels “real” and what is.

 Responding to these scholarly trends, we hope to foster reflection on all permutations of literary feelings and felt realities. What does focusing on affect in literature teach us? How do texts bring characters’ emotions to life? How do these literary emotions evoke affective responses in their readers? How do literary emotions move us and, in affecting us, effect real change on an individual or global scale? What is the relationship between feeling and fiction? How might literature contribute to reimagining realities? How can perception blur distinctions between the real and the fictional, and how does such blurring inform our definitions of what constitutes “reality”? How do modes from the pseudo-documentary to the fictional memoir undermine longstanding generic distinctions that separate the “real” from the “not real”? How can fictions come to supplant lived realities, and what are the consequences of such substitutions? How do unreliable narrators call attention to the subjective nature of reality and its dependence on personal feelings? Our conference will provide an opportunity for keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees to collaboratively explore these and related issues.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual papers (or 350 words for panels) should be submitted to modernities@gmail.com by Monday, February 29, 2016. Please include your name, along with your departmental and institutional affiliations, in your email. Conference papers must not exceed 20 minutes. Visit our website (http://modernities.wordpress.com/) or check us out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BritishModernitiesatUIUC/) and Twitter (@BMGmodernities) for more information about the BMG.

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