Forms of Innovation: Literature and Technology | Sep 14th 2012 | Deadline: Jul 20th 2012

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Forms of Innovation: Literature and Technology, University of Durham

Forms of Innovation: Literature and Technology will be a one-day symposium on the interrelation of literary forms and technologies.

For this one-day symposium, we invite speakers to consider how varying forms of creative literary production and reception have responded to innovative technological processes across the centuries.

The symposium will provide a forum for early-career researchers and postgraduates to discuss correspondences and interrelations between literary forms and technologies, particularly those which have been treated as new, revolutionary, unconventional or challenging. Topics for debate might include, but are not limited to:

  • Thematic and metaphorical representations of new or anticipated kinds of technology in literature
  • Literary perspectives on methods of textual production, especially at significant points of technological transition, such as the invention of the mechanical printing press or the popularisation of the typewriter and rise of desktop word processing
  • The effect of changing methods of production and transmission on the way different sectors of society and areas of the world read, write and encounter literary texts, including problematics of accessibility, usability and preservation
  • Interactions between notions of 'digital culture' and 'traditional' forms of literature, such as electronic versions of classic works or the use of computing technology to facilitate experimental narrative devices
  • The growth of digital humanities and the impact of digital technology on current academic practices and changing approaches to the study of literature.

We hope to encourage consideration of a history of cause-and-response in the relationship between technological processes and literary forms, themes and formats. In particular, we aim to address the notion that contemporary 'hot topics' such as the growing popularity of ebooks and electronic reading devices, proliferation of online journals and databases for academic study and the near-ubiquity of the word processor as a means of preparing texts for publication, are simply the latest manifestations in a long history of co-dependence between literature and technology. We hope that the symposium will provide a historical perspective on contemporary issues by addressing the relationship between literature and technology from the medieval period onwards.

The format of the symposium will be a one-day event, with plenary lectures and sessions made up of three twenty-minute papers, with time factored in for questions and discussion.

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this event, we'll be delighted to consider your abstract. Please email a 250 word abstract with your name and affiliation to by 20th July 2012.

Conference Organisers: Dr Clara Dawson (University of Durham) & Dorothy Butchard (University of Edinburgh)

Further details will be announced at or contact for further details and to receive conference updates by email.