Historical Fictions Research Conference 2020
Historical fictions can be understood as an expanded mode of historiography. Scholars in literary, visual, historical and museum/re-creation studies have long been interested in the construction of the fictive past, understanding it as a locus for ideological expression. However, this is a key moment for the study of historical fictions as critical recognition of these texts and their convergence with lines of theory is expanding into new areas such as the philosophy of history, narratology, popular literature, historical narratives of national and cultural identity, and cross-disciplinary approaches to narrative constructions of the past.
Historical fictions measure the gap between the pasts we are permitted to know and those we wish to know: the interaction of the meaning-making narrative drive with the narrative-resistant nature of the past. They constitute a powerful discursive system for the production of cognitive and ideological representations of identity, agency, and social function, and for the negotiation of conceptual relationships and charged tensions between the complexity of societies in time and the teleology of lived experience. The licences of fiction, especially in mass culture, define a space of thought in which the pursuit of narrative forms of meaning is permitted to slip the chains of sanctioned historical truths to explore the deep desires and dreams that lie beneath all constructions of the past.
The conference welcomes paper proposals from Archaeology, Architecture, Literature, Media, Art History, Musicology, Reception Studies, Museum Studies, Recreation, Gaming, Transformative Works and others. The conference welcomes paper proposals across historical periods, with ambitious, high-quality, inter-disciplinary approaches and new methodologies that will support research into larger trends and which will lead to more theoretically informed understandings of the mode across historical periods, cultures and languages.
The conference aims to create a disciplinary core, where researchers can engage in issues of philosophy and methodology and generate a collective discourse around historical fictions in a range of media and across period specialities.