Conference at the Institute for Comparative Literature of the University of Innsbruck, 15.–16.09.2022
The conference will be held as a hybrid analog and digital conference.
Organizers: Dr. Alena Heinritz (Innsbruck) and Prof. Dr. Julia Nantke (Hamburg).
The concept of authorship is – depending on discursive and historical conditions – associated with various functions that, from a praxeological perspective, are linked to different forms of intellectual and/or material work or labor. However, especially in the field of literary authorship, there is a tendency to deliberately omit certain forms of work, which draws attention to the difference of practices of work and staging strategies of authorship. The (albeit precarious) existence of authors without an œuvre (cf. Efimova 2018: 7f.) also raises the question of which activities authorship is linked to instead. The relationship between authorship and work is to be seen fundamentally as an interactive one: Authorship is constituted by certain forms of work. Conversely, authorship as a creative, writing, and/or staging practice affects the idea of what is considered as work in certain contexts. In both perspectives, it is not least a matter of which actors are discursively located at which positions between authorship and work. According to Latour, these actors include not only the persons involved, but also non-human actors who are involved in the production of literary works (Latour: 2010: 122ff.). In this context, both the current debates about the production of literary texts with the help of AI and the increasing indexing and accessibility of notebooks and authors’ libraries testify to the relevance of the historically determined material-media infrastructures in and with which writing, publishing, presenting, and reception takes place.
Against this background, the conference will focus on the relationship between the concepts of authorship and work to identify conceptual continuities and (medially caused) ruptures in the relation between authorship and work. The dedicated view of the ruptures in the writing systems (Kittler 1985) around 1800, 1900, and 2000 is based on the thesis that the conditions for authorship as well as the field of tension between production and staging practices become particularly visible during such changes in the respective media dispositive. These situations of change, according to the second thesis, go hand in hand with “aesthetic movements” (Reckwitz 2012: 94f) that are characterized by an emphatic engagement with medium and material. According to Reckwitz, the paradigm shifts of the respective medial dispositive also condition far-reaching changes in subject structures. In the particular socio-medial situations of the aesthetic movements, the discourses of work/labor and authorship, according to the third thesis, experience an intensive discussion. In no other epochs are the interrelations between work and authorship so emphatically reflected upon, emphasized, or rejected as in Romanticism (around 1800), the avant-gardes (around 1900), and late modernism (around 2000).
Central questions that will be discussed in the framework of the conference in a historical-comparative perspective include:
• In which contexts is authorship conceptualized as work and by whom (the authors themselves, scholars, the public, the legal system...)?
• What kind of work is recognized, appreciated as authorship (mental vs. physical labor, concept and/ or implementation...)? What practices of work are dissimulated in the environment of literary production?
• Who is involved in this work (intellectual creators, writers, publishers, recipients, objects...)?
• What is the relationship between practices of work and their stagings?
• To what extent are media dispositives, spatial conditions, and writing tools involved in the conceptualization and staging of authorship as work (writing scene; pen, paper, scissors, typewriter, or PC as concrete working tools; AI as author...)?
Please send an abstract (max. 500 words) for a 20-minute presentation in German or English and a short biobibliographical note to Alena Heinritz (alena.heinritz[at]uibk.ac.at) or Julia Nantke (julia.nantke[at]uni-hamburg.de) by October 31, 2021.
A publication of the conference results is planned.
We aim to cover travel and accommodation costs.
Svetlana Efimova: Einleitung. Autor und Werk. Dynamik eines (un-)problematischen Verhältnisses. In: Autor und Werk. Wechselwirkungen und Perspektiven. Sonderausgabe # 3 von Textpraxis. Digitales Journal für Philologie (2.2018). Ed. by S. Efimova. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17879/77159531451.
Friedrich A. Kittler: Aufschreibesysteme 1800, 1900. München 1985.
Bruno Latour: Eine neue Soziologie für eine neue Gesellschaft. Einführung in die Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie. Frankfurt a.M. 2010.
Andreas Reckwitz: Gesellschaftliche Moderne und ästhetische Moderne. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 37.1 (2012), pp. 89–98.