The Evidence of Realism (deadline 9/23/15; ACLA, Harvard 3/17-20/16)

full name / name of organization: 
Geoffrey Baker

The Evidence of Realism

[For the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association at Harvard University, March 17-20 2016]

How do texts--and especially realist texts--and their plots use or complicate the idea of evidence? What sort of evidence do such texts seem to assume readers require in order to encounter the "effect of the real"? And how do contemporaneous ideas of evidence from philosophy, legal theory, or science provide context for the consideration of evidence in literary works?

Through a sustained investigation and discussion of the role of evidence and of debates over the nature of evidence within realist and meta-realist texts (as well as in their composition and reception), this seminar aims to engage and contribute to the last few decades' compelling body of scholarly work on realism in relation to science, epistemology, and the law (both in the depiction of courtroom proceedings and the project of detection), and on the role of evidence in the formation of genres like the novel or subgenres like detective fiction. We welcome proposals for papers that address the idea of evidence in theories of realist narrative, in the cultures of realist narrative, in realist texts from any literary tradition, or in non-realist texts that play with and complicate the modalities of realism (magical realism, e.g.) and/or the concept of evidence.

Geoff Baker
Associate Professor of Literature
Yale-NUS College

About the conference and procedures for submission at, from the ACLA site:

"The ACLA's annual conferences have a distinctive structure in which most papers are grouped into twelve-person seminars that meet two hours per day for three days of the conference to foster extended discussion. Some eight-person (or smaller) seminars meet just the first two days of the conference. This structure allows each participant to be a full member of one seminar, and to sample other seminars during the remaining time blocks. Depending on space availability, we may also consider accepting a limited number of one-day seminars, especially if they are innovative either in presentation format or in terms of theme. The conference also includes plenary sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions, and other events.

"Our online portal will open for seminar submissions in early July, with a deadline of August 31. Individuals interested in participating in a particular seminar are encouraged to be in touch with the organizers over the summer; paper submissions through the portal will open Sept. 1 and close Sept. 23."