deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Fribourg (Switzerland)
contact email: 

University of Fribourg (Switzerland), 5–6 May 2023

This two-day conference will explore the notions of trust and uncertainty in linguistics and literary studies. Trust and certainty are crucial aspects of knowledge and its production, covering/in relation with a range of phenomena among which authority, authenticity, faith, evidence, manipulation, and falseness. Following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many of these aspects – information and misinformation, the role of the expert, conspiracy theories – have gained acute prominence. However, this conference will draw much wider circles, taking into account historical developments and diverse aesthetic approaches to these topics.

 We invite submissions for 20-minute papers or preformed panels on all aspects of the conference theme. In the field of literature, these may include, but are not limited to:

  • authority figures in literary history, criticism, and editing
  • fictionality, life writing, biofiction, unreliable narration, trickster figures
  • trust and uncertainty in metaphysical, religious and scientific contexts
  • theories and practices of postmodernism (and beyond)
  • narratives of crisis and catastrophe
  • literary forgery and error
  • conspiracy narratives
  • literary expertise (e.g., reviewing) and the world of publishing
  • representation of friendship, treason, paranoia, lying and dissimulation

In linguistics, the conference topic cuts across the objects of study of many subdisciplines, from syntax and semantics to pragmatics and discourse analysis. Papers may address topics such as:

  • the expression of different modalities (epistemic modality in particular)
  • evidentiality
  • uncooperative speech acts (from deception and manipulation to lying, insinuation,  contemporary fake news and conspiracy theories)
  • the expression of stance or politeness
  • political discourse, media discourse, medical discourse, and various instantiations of argumentative discourse.


Trust and Uncertainty will feature three internationally renowned keynote speakers, Prof. Max Saunders (Interdisciplinary Professor of Modern English Literature and Culture, University of Birmingham), Prof. Claire Squires (Professor of Publishing Studies, University of Stirling, and Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication), and Prof. Christopher Hart (Professor of Linguistics, Lancaster University), who will address the conference topic from varied perspectives in literary studies, publishing, and linguistics.

A representative selection of the papers given at the conference will be published in the SPELL book series (Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature).

Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio (max. 100 words) to the conference organizers ( by 15 August 2022.