Call for Papers: 'Faking It?: Conceptualising 'fake' in culture, society and academia' Conference, 11-12th June 2019

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Excursions Journal at the University of Sussex

Call for Abstracts: ‘FAKE’
Deadline for Conference Abstracts: 15 March 2019
“Faking it” Conference: 11-12th June 2019

“In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.”
-Guy Debord, La Société du spectacle

“Georgio Peviani is doing everything that a successful fashion designer needs to do,
apart from existing. “
-Oobah Butler, Vice

In the era of ‘Post-truth’, where “a few claims on Twitter can have the same credibility as a library full of research” (Coughlan 2017), the distinctions between the original and the inauthentic, the actual and the seeming or the experienced and the imagined are becoming less and less distinguishable. Fake has become an omnipresent feature of both our daily lives and a globalized, ultra-connected culture: it is in the way we dwell and break free from spaces and ideas.
While fake news and the fabricated – often targeted – versions of truth are not a new thing, the notion of ‘fake’ has been much publicized in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election alongside a variety of anti-democratic populist governments around the world. This has revitalised critical debates in the long history of examining, documenting, and contextualizing the proliferation of false news and pseudo-events (Flynn et al 2017; Kent et al 2006; Boorstin 1971). The transmission of “information of questionable integrity and value” (Reilly 2018: 139) is the new norm of shaping public opinion and therefore the public sphere. Are we now condemned to appreciate and prefer “the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence”? (Feuerbach, quoted in Debord 1994) or has the ‘fake’ – the unreal, the counterfeit or the inauthentic – been revealed as an ever-present intrinsic part of our lives and social relationships? Has the ‘truth’ always been solely a matter of discourse, and ‘fake’, ‘fake news’ a rhetorical strategy: a floating signifier (Farkas & Schou, 2018)?
In order to answer these questions, we need to comprehend various manifestations of ‘fake’ in our social reality and the individual aspects of our everyday discourses and practices.
This year’s Excursions Committee aims to gather contributions that identify, research and reflect upon these manifestations, while resonating with the fields of cultural, urban, gender, activist and media studies. Furthermore, to provide a conceptual description of the term, we interpret fake as: artificial, assumed (not true or real; deliberately fabricated or imitated), contrived (having an unnatural or false appearance or quality), factitious (formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard), false (not genuine; intentionally untrue; adjusted or made so as to deceive – deception tool) and pseudo (fake; being apparently rather than actually as stated). We also want to consider what “realness” narratives prioritise and what they marginalise, particularly reflecting on the notion of “real” womanhood in recent debates that seek to expose and exclude trans and gender non-conforming people from certain spaces and communities.

We are also delighted to announce two confirmed keynote speakers: Dr Einar Thorsen, Associated Professor in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University and Professor Steve Pile, Professor of Human Geography at The Open University.


Excursions Journal are also seeking abstracts of 250 – 300 words for a conference due to take place at the University of Sussex on 11-12 June 2019. True to its main theme, this conference seeks to address the superficiality or ‘fakeness’ of academic conventions. We are interested in challenging and deconstructing entrepreneurship and professionalism of academic work and publications. Hence, the conference will be divided into two parts: (1) classic chaired panels, (2) followed by a workshop during which each of the papers will be discussed using a live peer-review method. The workshop aims to showcase academic rigour and hidden labour behind academic publications rather than criticize particular papers. We plan for the final publication to take the form of a work-in-progress discussion on the conceptualization of fake in culture. We are interested in receiving submissions from a range of disciplines: social sciences, cultural studies, life science and others. We particularly seek proposals by people who are disadvantaged or under-represented in their communities or have experienced oppression of any kind. The subject of your abstract could include but is not limited to:
- Fake feminism/gender? – post-feminism, carceral feminism, trans-exclusionary radical feminism, neoliberal feminism, nationalist feminism, white feminism, imperial feminism
- Fake oppression(s)? – debates on identity politics, political correctness, free speech, safe spaces, reverse racism, #gamergate, incels, alt-right, post-racism/post-race, fake history
- Fake media? – yellow journalism, fake news, elite-funded media outlets, professionalised journalism vs. citizen journalism, fake art
- Fake activism/social movements? – clicktivism, slacktivism, pop/trendy activism, clique activism, neoliberal social movements, NGOisation, corporate funding
- Fake cities? – gentrification, ‘consumptionscapes’, Commodification & privatisation of public space, tourist gaze, Air BnB and renter society, ‘creative class’, ‘staged authenticity ’, projection of diversity/liberalism (e.g. Amsterdam)


The deadline for abstract submissions for the conference is 15 March 2019, abstracts should be between 250 – 300 words, and include a short author bio (no more than 50 words). Applicants will be notified of acceptance by the end of March.
Please note, there will be no cost to attend or present at this conference and refreshments will be provided. Please ensure any dietary or accessibility requirements are outlined when registering for the event.
Applicants will also be asked to provide a full version of their papers by the 20 May 2019, by emailing them to The papers will be shared with the rest of the panel and made available to attendees to give people enough time to read some/all of them if they wish.
We are delighted to offer a number of small grants to people who would have difficulty presenting, or performing the work upon which their presentations are based, without material assistance or travel costs. Please mention if you would like to apply for this grant in your application. We particularly welcome applications for these from people of colour; people from Indigenous backgrounds; women and those whose gender identities do not conform to hegemonic gendered norms; people from poor and working-class backgrounds; and disabled people.

For questions about any of the above, please email or contact us on Twitter (@Excursions_J)