Tattoos, Literature and the Law

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
La littérature dans la peau (Université Paris 8 et Université UPHF Valenciennes)


This conference is part of the collaborative project "La littérature dans la peau" organized by the Université Paris 8 and the Université Polytechnique Hauts de France, Valenciennes.

The aim of the project is to foster scholarly exchanges and explore how literature and tattooing practices intersect via the reproduction on the skin of texts, quotes, illustrations, portraits of authors or characters, autographs, ornamental symbols and signs.

How does fiction address the legality of tattoos?

How does it represent tattooed characters on the wrong side of the law?

How do tattoos celebrate the law?

We would like to address tattooing and the law in so far as the act of reproducing images, marking or preserving skins, raises a number of social, ethical and philosophical questions. We are particularly interested in convening events where professionals, artists and academics, from a large range of disciplines, can share their knowledge and research. We do not privilege any literary genre, style or form in particular.


Themes for consideration might include but are not limited to:

-       Literary works involving a tattoo of a legal document

-       The legality of tattoos in fiction

-       Tattoos and ethical issues in literature

-       Literary tattoos and discrimination

-       Tattoos and copyright

-       Social media and legal tattoos

-       Law-inspired tattoos

-       Tattoo Identification/Tattoo Recognition and Law Enforcement

-       Human trafficking and tattoos

-       The legal and medical impact of tattooed texts such as “do not resuscitate”

-       Anthropodermic bibliopegy

-       Preserving Tattooed Texts after death


Please send a 250-word abstract either in French or in English, a brief biographical note, and 5 keywords both to Anne Chassagnol and Brigitte Friant-Kessler by March 1, 2020. Submissions should be in Word of pdf format.


The event will take place on June 11, 2020 at the Musée d’Art et d’histoire, Paul Éluard (Saint-Denis), Paris, France.

Deadline for abstracts: March 1, 2020.

Notification of acceptance: March 15, 2020.

A selection of papers will be published in 2020-21.