International Conference: “Enumeration, Epistemology, Etcetera: Lists and List-Making in Literature and Culture”

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of Freiburg, Germany
contact email: 

The ERC Starting Grant Project “Lists in Literature and Culture” invites proposals for an international conference that aims to examine the literary, cultural and epistemological potential of enumerative forms as well as their significance in diverse historical contexts.

The conference will take place at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), University of Freiburg, Germany, from July 4 to July 6, 2019.

We are looking for proposals that engage with practices of enumeration and the cultural, social and epistemic functions and contexts of list-making across the centuries. In particular, we are interested in an interdisciplinary exchange between (1) narratology and conceptions of the list as a literary form of representation, (2) epistemological and history-of-science approaches to the processes, the potentials and the limits of list-making and (3) socio-cultural examinations of the list as an instrument of social power.

These spheres of interest open up three thematic areas: Under the label of literary lists, we invite contributions that engage with the textual manifestation of list-making across literary genres. We are especially interested in papers that explore the reciprocal dynamics between the form of the list and its embeddedness, adaptation and function in diverse generic and historical formats. With a focus on epistemologies, we widen the scope to take into account the various roles lists and related forms can play in contexts of storing, recording and passing on implicit and explicit knowledge. The third area will be dedicated to lists in (contemporary) cultural contexts: here, we aim to cover the list as a cultural tool that attracts attention, evaluates, organizes and reduces information and, eventually, creates trends.

We particularly welcome contributions that offer a comparative perspective. Topics may include but are not restricted to:

  • the relationship between enumeration and narration (e.g. in contexts of description, serial narration and multimodal storytelling)
  • lists in digital and social media (Blogs, Tweets, “Listicles” etc.)
  • lists and knowledge / epistemological practices (catalogues, encyclopedias, maps etc.) 
  • lists and practices of collecting (inventories, archives etc.)
  • the list as a means to establish order and control (census lists, to-do-lists, rules and commandments etc.)
  • the list as an instrument of power (rankings, indices etc.) 
  • the list and consumerism (e.g. shopping lists, wish lists, bestseller lists)

 Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Ottmar Ette (Potsdam) and Prof. Ulrike Vedder (Berlin).

Travel and accommodation will be covered by the organizers. Please send your proposals for papers (300-500 words) and a short biographical statement to Eva von Contzen and Anne Rüggemeier (listlit.erc@gmail.com) by 30 November 2018. Presenters will be notified of acceptance in December.

 Further information on the ERC Starting Grant Project “Lists in Literature and Culture” isavailable here:www.listlit.uni-freiburg.de.