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FREEDOM OF SPEECH 2023 : Reality, Imagination, and Freedom of Speech - International Interdisciplinary Conference on Salman Rushdie's Oeuvre and Legacy


When May 18, 2023 - May 19, 2023
Where Gdansk
Submission Deadline Apr 23, 2023
Categories    INTERNATIONAL   literature   culture   social sciences

Call For Papers


The work of Salman Rushdie straddles East and West, encompasses various interdisciplinary fields, and generates research that knows no bounds. This international conference intends to reflect that by inviting scholars and Rushdie enthusiasts who wish to present on any topic related to the writer's body of work.
Salman Rushdie’s whole writing life has been preoccupied with the relationship between the imaginary and the so-called real world, as well as with the unease and uncertainty that tension creates. What is most often associated with his writing is the genre of magic realism, with an emphasis on the fantastic, while the realistic aspect of the formula often gets overlooked. And yet Rushdie is strong in describing concrete reality and contextualizing historically his plots, politics, and characters, and in that process, he underlines the problematic nature of reality as well as demystifies reality as the norm. Ursula Kluwick explains that realism is crucial for Rushdie’s artistic project, and that reality is not automatic but that it highlights the "constructed nature of reality". The opposing understanding of reality has been a connecting thread through so much of Rushdie’s work, and that is a topical issue in our polarized world that is becoming increasingly authoritarian. The perennial threat of religious violence and the intolerance of alterity intend to impose uniform beliefs on the world of literature, art, and humanities. That is why during this conference we would like to concentrate on the phenomena of reality in Rushdie’s oeuvre and look at his fictional and non-fictional writings and how they negotiate the border between truth and lies, manipulation and imagination.
We want to devote attention to the influence that Salman Rushdie has exerted over the literary world and the world of humanities as a novelist, film critic, reviewer, public intellectual, celebrity, international and secularist writer, postcolonial writer, and postmodern magic realist. The conference is also inspired by the wish to take a stand for the freedom of speech, and for basic human rights of self-expression. It intends to express solidarity with the author, who recently suffered a brutal assassination attempt because of his unwavering commitment to dialogue and human dignity.
We welcome submissions that explore multiple aspects of Rushdie’s oeuvre and biography. We wish to concentrate on but are not limited to the following themes:

representation of real and imagined
reality as a matter of perspective
reality as a cultural difference
relativization and negotiation of reality
freedom of speech
living and writing under the pressure of a death sentence
Rushdie’s works in translations

The conference is open for researchers representing various academic disciplines such as literature, cultural studies, political science, history, psychology, social sciences, religious studies, to name a few.

We invite submissions for 20-minute papers by scholars who wish to share their current research, connect, and get inspired by the work of others.

Different forms of presentations are encouraged and we will be happy to hear from both experienced scholars and young academics at the beginning of their careers, as well as doctoral and graduate students. We also invite all persons interested in participating in the conference as listeners, without giving a presentation.

​Please submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) of your proposed 20-minute presentations, together with a short biographical note (max. 100 words) to 23 April 2023 to:

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