HFRN Conference 2023

Call for Papers
Historical Fictions Research Network Online Conference
(17 to 19 February 2023)

The Final Programme is now available.

Registration for the conference is currently open. To register, please get a Ticket with Eventbrite. Conference tickets are £35 concessions (students, PhDs, low-waged, etc.) and £55 for regulars. Guests welcome!

For the 2023 conference, HFRN engages in scholarly discussions on the significance and function of ‘Values’ in historical fictions:

The ‘noble dream of objectivity’ had been pursued by professional historians since the nineteenth century, when Leopold von Ranke proposed writing history ‘as it really was’. This ideal was also crucial to their profession standing (see Lambert 2003: 42), and though objectivity is now widely assumed to be unattainable, open partisanship is still a problematic stance for professional historians to adopt (see Jordanova 2006: ch 4; Beck 2012).

By contrast, popular and public historiographies in their various forms – historical novels, popular histories, historical film, historical pageants, monuments and museums – are often characterised by a particularly obvious moralising (see Jordanova 2006: ch 6), using the past to explain and justify the present. For instance, as readers will quickly notice, Victorian historical novels usually present men and women that embody the perfect Victorian gentlemen or lady, rather than being true to the gender ideals of the time they are set in. The Netflix-series Bridgerton, which breaks with the mostly all-white casts historical films and television series, attempts to create a utopian past in an attempt to attract viewers with the promise of diversity and equality. Recent historical romance novels have increasingly shown more assertive and independent heroines and caring, nurturing males.

Values of past and present times thus present an important feature in historical fictions, they are used to familiarise the past, to assert or question our own culture and society, they help later generations to explain and shape the future.

Our Keynote Speakers

Jennifer Thorp is the author of Learwife (Canongate 2021), which was a Waterstones Best Book of 2021 and was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Prize. She was one of the Observer’s Best Debut Novelists of 2021 and received a Markievicz Award to write her second novel. She is also a lyricist, with work commissioned by the Arts Council, the Wellcome Trust, St Paul’s Cathedral, and others. She is an Australian living in Cork, Ireland.

Dr. Jenny Butler from the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, University of Cork. Jenny Butler is an internationally established researcher in the area of new religious movements and the study of folk religion. Her recent monograph 21st Century Irish Paganism: Worldview, Ritual, Identity, is forthcoming from Routledge. For more information see https://drjennybutler.com/

Prof. Dr. Alison Keith studied Classics at school and earned a PhD in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She is the Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, where she teaches in the Department of Classics and holds cross-appointments in the Center for Medieval Studies and the Women and Gender Studies Institute. She has written extensively about the intersection of gender and genre in Latin literature and Roman culture. She has authored books on Ovid, Vergil, Propertius, and Roman epic, and co-edited books on Roman dress, women and war in the ancient Mediterranean, and motherhood in classical antiquity. Current projects include a biography of Sulpicia, the earliest female Latin poet.

All papers will be delivered live and we will schedule across time-zones. Each presentation will be of 20 minutes followed by an interaction session.


Visit this website for more details and regular updates. You can also write to us on  historicalfictionsresearch@gmail.com

Speakers are encouraged to submit their papers to our Journal of Historical Fictions (http://historicalfictionsjournal.org/about.html).