Conference - Main

Reconfiguring Authorship

Thursday, November 15-Sunday, November 18, 2012

Culture- and Convention Centre Het Pand, Ghent University

Conference Program

Follow the conference on Twitter: #RA12 (live conference archive here)

The ‘Research on Authorship as Performance’ project at Ghent University will host a conference on the theme of ‘Reconfiguring Authorship’. This four-day conference will explore facets of authorship in the Anglophone world from the Middle Ages to the present; keynote talks will be presented by Dame Gillian Beer (Cambridge), Margaret Ezell (Texas A&M), Paul St Amour (Pennsylvania), Dubravka Ugresic (author of Nobody's Home, The Ministry of Pain, and other books), and Richard Wilson (Kingston).

The Romantic concept of the solitary genius (if indeed such an entity ever existed) has for decades now been the subject of intense critical scrutiny and revision. Recent work in the burgeoning field of authorship studies has turned to the analysis of cultural formations of ‘authoriality’ as they developed historically in a variety of geographical locations, in relation to cultural networks and social change, to transformations of the media, as well as to changing perceptions of gender and personhood. The notion of authorial agency is therefore now submerged within an elaborate tissue of critical feedback, textual instability, editorial intervention, and accidents of publishing, branding, and spin. And yet the Author persists, as a nomenclature, as a catalogue entry, as a biographical entity, as a popular icon, and as an assumed agent of creativity and innovation. As a result, current studies of authors and authorship have to contend with the complex issues of authorial authority, independence or interdependence, and self-fashioning in a large variety of historical and discursive settings.

‘Reconfiguring Authorship’ aims to showcase the latest, most exciting developments in authorship studies by providing a venue in which to debate theoretical and historical understanding of the complex ideological, technological and social processes that transform a writer into an author. For that purpose, we take a wide view of the notion of ‘authorship’ and the figure of the ‘author’ to include a broad range of approaches and topics. Possible topics that participants might discuss include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Connections and differences between historical author concepts in various fields and empirical situations of writing;
  • When does a writer become an author, and why is not every writer considered an author?
  • Varieties of authors: dramatists, novelists, poets, journalists, sages, critics, humorists; authors as entertainers, public intellectuals, moralists;
  • Authenticity, authority, agency, attribution;
  • Authorship and the canon;
  • Gender and authorship: interrogating putative ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ models of writing, self-fashioning, and getting published;
  • Fame, infame, disfame, lack of fame; the self-creation, branding and reception of authors;
  • Anonymity, pseudonymity, and authorial personae;
  • Authors and collaboration; single and multiple authors; authors and cultural networks;
  • The quotidian activities of writers as they relate to the public image of authors;
  • Translation, editing, redacting, and reviewing considered as kinds of authorial performances;
  • Authorship and the marketplace; authors and patrons; authorship and intellectual property;
  • The textual re-creation of authors by editors, publishers, and printers;
  • Authorship and/in the material book; authorship & new technologies (film, digital media, the internet).

The conference program will include keynote talks and concurrent sessions, a conference dinner, and an optional guided city tour and visit to the City Museum (STAM) on the final day of the conference.