CFP: Literary Journalism of the Last Century (10/15/05; 3/17/06-3/18/06)

full name / name of organization: 
John BAK
contact email: 

Colloque / Conference
17-18 mars / March 2006

Revisiting The Jungle: Literary Journalism of the Last Century

In celebration of the centenary of Upton Sinclair's muckraking novel The Jungle,
the C.T.U. of the Université Nancy 2 is announcing a call for papers for a
conference devoted to the evolving theory and practice of literary journalism
in the English-speaking world of the 20th and 21st centuries. From the
sensational "yellow journalism" of Hearst and Pulitzer, the "new journalism" of
Capote, Wolfe, Mailer, and Didion, the "gonzo journalism" of Hunter S.
Thompson, the "literary journalism" of John McPhee, Edward Hoagland, Richard
Rhodes, Tracy Kidder and Mark Singer, to the "blog journalism" of today,
creative non-fiction writing has bridged the gap between literary and cultural
studies, generating a new genre that is part fact, part fiction, but wholly
artistic. The conference invites proposals that examine the tension between
objective "historical news" and the reporting "I" of non-fiction writing, and
its impact upon the reader's awareness of the world around him.

For literature, studies could re-examine The Jungle specifically or look into
many of the non-fiction novels that have evolved from it over the years (In
Cold Blood, The Executioner's Song, The Electric Kook-Aid Acid Test, The White
Album, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, etc.) with the aim of scrutinizing how
notions of "literature" and of "fiction" have changed over time in
literary/critical theory and practice. What is its role in shaping postmodern
literature's crisis of truth? Where does first-person narration end and
literary journalism begin? What role does or should objectivity play in
literary journalism?

In terms of civilization, papers could address the rise of tabloid presses or
the current crisis of the broadsheets looking to literary journalism to
maintain its readership. How much have tabloids changed news reporting? What
has evolved in journalistic reporting since the advent of Internet and online
newspapers accessible to millions? What has journalistic blogging contributed
or not to the rising popularity of literary journalism and relative loss of
respect for the "facts" of the story? Researchers might consider the recent
trend in blending journalistic theories with reporting practices in framing
their studies (see, for instance, Myles Breen's Journalism: Theory and Practice
[Sydney: Macleay Press, 1998] and the editors' mission statement to Journalism:
Theory, Practice & Criticism [a major journal begun in 2000]).

Linguists and language analysts could explore how language has evolved in
journalistic writing or how cultural definitions of what is considered
reporting in general have changed in the past century. What is the writer's
influence over the reader in ascertaining historical fact as it is passed
through a literary voice? How does that evolving reader shape the literary "I"
of journalism? How has English literary journalistic trends affected
non-English news reporting?

The spirit of the conference is both international in subject and
cross-disciplinary in practice, and welcomes proposals from scholars involved
in any aspect of English studies today who are interested in the theory and
practice of reading, writing, and analyzing literary journalism and non-fiction

Send proposals (title, 500-word abstract, and a short C.V.) by post before 15
October 2005 to the C.T.U. at Nancy 2 or by email attachment to John S. Bak
(, Alex Boulton (, Philippe
Mahoux (, or Rachel Hutchins-Viroux
( Questions concerning the colloque should be
directed to Marc Nussbaumer, Director of the C.T.U. at Nancy 2

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Received on Mon May 16 2005 - 11:43:15 EDT