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TRUST 2023 : Trusting and Distrusting the Digital World in Imaginative Literature


When Jun 7, 2023 - Jun 9, 2023
Where Dublin
Submission Deadline Feb 13, 2023
Categories    social sciences   artificial intelligence   information technology   humanities

Call For Papers


Trusting and Distrusting the Digital World in Imaginative Literature

University College Dublin, Ireland
7-9 June 2023

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. William Davies (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Prof. Ellen Rutten (University of Amsterdam)

This conference aims to connect two prominent scholarly conversations of the contemporary moment: concerning, on the one hand, the ways in which the digital age has shaped (and been shaped by) human trust relations; and on the other, how digital technologies have intersected with the traditions and practices of imaginative literature. We seek to bring together scholars interested in either or both of these fields of inquiry for an interdisciplinary dialogue on trust, the digital, and the literary.

Scholars across a wide variety of disciplines – including sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, psychology, management and organisation studies – have recognised the importance of the digital revolution for thinking about trust. The interpersonal and institutional forms of trust that characterised human relations in the pre-modern and modern periods have been impacted and in many ways transformed by technological innovations linked to computing, the internet, social media, and big data. Meanwhile the relationship between literature and digital technology has become a significant concern in contemporary literary studies. Scholars in the field have asked what impact the shift from print to digital formats has had on reading and critical practice; how we should study “born-digital” texts including hypertext, electronic literature, and post-internet poetry; what new possibilities digital technology offers for the empirical analysis of literature; and how the internet and digital media have been represented in literary works.

In connecting these two conversations, this conference seeks to advance the interdisciplinary scholarship on trust and the digital world by incorporating the insights of imaginative literature and literary studies. How do literary representations of the digital world shape our trust and distrust of that world? How has the transition to digital life challenged, asserted or transformed bonds of trust, and how has imaginative literature responded to and represented those changes? How have literary texts (print or digital) dealt with the affective nature of trust through their content and form? How has the digitisation of literary production and consumption shaped and been shaped by the ways in which readers relate to texts?

Topics for papers might include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Trusting (in) the digital world
- Transformations of trust in the digital age
- Unreliable narration in the digital age
- Big data and imaginative literature
- Cryptocurrency and its literary representations
- Blockchain, trust, and literary form
- AI writing and trust
- Interpersonal, institutional, and “distributed” trust
- Cognitive and affective trust
- Digital ecologies of trust
- Digital surveillance and its literary representations
- Representations of digital interaction in contemporary literature
- Anticipations of the digital in earlier literature
- Digital futures in imaginative literature
- Literary histories of trust
- Literary institutions in the digital age
- The authority of “literature” in the digital age
- The literary critic in the digital age
- Online reviewing and the question of trust
- Trusting new literary formats
- Trusting the digital economy in contemporary literature
- Digital sociologies of literature

Abstracts of 200-300 words for 20-minute papers and an author bio of max 100 words should be submitted by e-mail attachment to by 13 February 2023. We also welcome joint proposals for panels of three papers, or panels with innovative formats.

We welcome paper proposals from researchers who are based at institutions around the world, whose research stems from a variety of disciplines and languages, and who are at any career stage. Some bursaries will be available to support the participation of early career and precariously employed researchers. We are aiming not to charge any entrance fee for the conference.

Applicants will be informed by early March as to their inclusion in the conference programme. Please also note that we intend to pursue publication avenues stemming from the conference theme.

This conference forms part of the Irish Research Council-funded project “Imaginative Literature and Social Trust, 1990-2025.” The website for the project is

Dr Adam Kelly & Dr Katerina Pavlidi

(UCD School of English, Drama and Film)

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