Call for Papers

Call for Papers for the First Interdisciplinary Historical Fictions Research Network Conference

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Ansgar Nünning of Universitat Giessen (Literature & American Studies).


Dr. Debbie Challis, Public Programmer, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UC

At: Anglia Ruskin University. Cambridge.

Date: 27th and 28th February 2016
Conference fee: £180; concession £140 (graduate students; or on proof of income below £10k). NB: these prices include meals.
Accommodation: tbc


This is a key moment for the study of historical fictions: there is a rising critical recognition of the texts and the convergence of lines of theory in the philosophy of history, narratology, popular literature, historical narratives of national and cultural identity, and cross-disciplinary approaches to narrative constructions of the past.

Narrative constructions of the past 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. 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.

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.

We welcome paper proposals from Literature, Media, Art History, Musicology, Reception Studies, Museum Studies, Recreation and others. We welcome 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.

We aim 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.

Paper proposals consisting of a title and abstract of no more than 250 words should be submitted to:


By September 1st 2015

Twitter: @HistoricalFic