Truthiness: The 2017 Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Conference in English Literature

deadline for submissions: 
April 3, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
UC Berkeley Department of English & Stanford University Department of English

The Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Conference in English Literature welcomes papers on this year’s theme:


April 29, 2017 @ Stanford University 

“Fiction must stick to facts, and the truer the facts the better the fiction...” -Virginia Woolf

Nietzsche defines truth as “a mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms, in short, a sum of human relations…which, after lengthy use, seem firm, canonical and binding to a people.” For whom is it binding, and in what sense are they bound?

Truth is often thought to be the province of the sciences. In contrast, lies are the province of fiction. What is the difference between lying and telling a story, and what are its moral consequences? What makes something true? Is truth entirely rational? What makes something feel true, and can belief be manufactured? That is, are we able to believe in something that we know to be untrue?

This conference will explore ideas of truth and its many alternatives as they are deployed and discussed in literature, politics, and history. Prospective applicants may wish to consider this theme in relation to the following (non-exhaustive) list of topics:

• fictionality

• sincerity

• deception

• epistemologies

• “alternative facts” and “fake news”

• being wrong

• veracity and conformity

• rhetoric and ethics

• allegory

• memoir

• decoration

• empiricism in literary study

• reception studies

• the speculative and the historical

• literary hoaxes

• found texts

Please send abstracts of ~250 words to by April 3 for consideration.