Literature and Technology

11-13 July 2016, Western Sydney University

In the face of continual technological innovation, the ‘end of books’ has been a recurring prophecy voiced by authors and literary critics, from Théophile Gautier in the 1830s to Robert Coover in the 1990s. The expansion of new technologies over the last two centuries has often elicited a certain amount of alarm, but also an equal measure of fascination, both of which have had a significant impact on literature’s thematic preoccupations and formal developments. Technology has also crucially shaped the medium through which we read, teach, and research literature.

Literature today remains at the interface of understanding and giving representational form to new and emerging technologies and the ways in which they pervade and mould our world, as well as make possible literary production, dissemination, and conservation. This conference seeks to explore the complex interrelations between literature and technology through a wide range of literary texts and contexts, as well as across historical and contemporary periods.

We invite papers that engage with any aspect of literature and technology; explore the significance of digital technologies for teaching, reading, and research practice; analyze the relationship between literature and technology; and consider literature as a type of technology. We also invite papers that investigate literature which takes technology as its primary subject, either in terms of form and/or theme.

We welcome proposals of 250 words for individual papers or panels. Please include a 100 word biography with your abstract.

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

▪ representations of technology in literature;

▪ literature as technological process, including the transformation of genres;

▪ the technological history of the book, including print-technologies and ebooks;

▪ the relationship between technological change and the rise in literary modernism/postmodernism;

▪ the evolution of narrative forms from print to digital media;

▪ hypertext fiction;

▪ the digitization of literary texts and archives;

▪ the impact of digital technologies on reading, teaching, and research practice;

▪ online authorship, gender, and power;

▪ technological utopias and dystopias in literature;

▪ the influence of past and present technologies (cinema, radio, print, hypertext, multimedia, etc.) on formal and thematic literary innovations;

▪ the role of the internet in the reception and transmission of new literary texts, including issues of accessibility and digital censorship;

▪ theoretical and philosophical approaches to literature’s relationship with technology.


Please send your proposals to