Law, Literature, and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950, University of Sheffield, April 11-13, 2019 @sheffielduni @thomgiddens

Law & Humanities Blog: CFP: Law, Literature, and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950, University of Sheffield, April 11-13, 2019 @sheffielduni @thomgiddens

CFP: Law, Literature, and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950, University of Sheffield, April 11-13, 2019 @sheffielduni @thomgiddens

Call For Papers:
‘Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950’, University of Sheffield,
11-13 April, 2019.
Ravit Reichman (Brown
Lizzie Seal
(University of Sussex)
Victoria Stewart
(University of Leicester)
The twentieth-century was a period of worldwide literary
experiment, of scientific developments and of worldwide conflict. These changes
demanded a rethinking not merely of psychological subjectivity, but also of
what it meant to be subject to the law and to punishment. This two-day
conference aims to explore relationships between literature, law and
psychoanalysis during the period 1890-1950, allowing productive mixing of
canonical and popular literature and also encouraging interdisciplinary
conversations between different fields of study. 
The period examined by
the conference included: developments in Freudian psychoanalysis and its
branching in other directions; the founding of criminology; continuing
campaigns and reforms around the death penalty; landmark modernist
publications; the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction; and multiple sensational
trials (Wilde, Crippen, Casement, Leopold and Loeb, to name but a few). Freud’s
followers, like Theodor Reik and Hans Sachs, would publish work on criminal law
and the death penalty; psychoanalysts were sought after as expert witnesses;
novelists like Elizabeth Bowen would serve on a Royal Commission investigating
capital punishment; while Gladys Mitchell invented the character of Beatrice
Adela Lestrange Bradley as a literary detective-psychoanalyst.
We therefore hope to consider areas including literature’s
connection with historical debates around crime and punishment; literature and
authors on trial and/or on the ‘psychiatrist’s couch’; and literature’s effect
on debates about human rights. The event is linked to and partly supported by
an AHRC project on literature, psychoanalysis and the death penalty, but the
aim of this conference is much wider. Interdisciplinary approaches, especially
from fields such as psychoanalysis, philosophy, law or the visual arts, are
particularly encouraged. We also welcome papers on international legal systems
and texts. All responses are welcome and the scope of our interdisciplinary
interests is flexible, with room in the planned programme for strands of work
that might be more or less literary. 
Possible topics might include: 
  • psychoanalysis
    in the real or literary courtroom;
  • literary
    form and the insanity defence;
  • canonical
    authors as readers of crime fiction and vice versa;
  • censorship
  • the
    influence of famous legal cases on literary productions or on
    psychoanalytic theory;
  • influences
    of criminology and criminal psychology on literature;
  • representations
    of new execution methods (for example, the gas chamber and the electric
  • portrayals
    of restorative versus retributive justice;
  • literary
    responses to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • relationships
    between modernism and Critical Legal Studies (CLS). 

Please send 250 word
paper proposals or 300 word proposals for fully formed panels to Katherine
Ebury by 28th November 2018.


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