‘Lies and Deception’: UCL Graduate Conference

University College London, English Graduate Conference, 2011

“When I err everyone can see it, but not when I lie” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday 4 March 2011
Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London
Keynote speaker: Sean Spence (University of Sheffield)

“False or misleading statements, tall tales and gossip are all paradoxically predicated on some particular ‘truth’ that the speaker or writer is trying to convey. Fiction is essentially a lie (though perhaps not intended to deceive) and its presentation of itself as ‘truth’ and the incorporation of historical fact makes it difficult to distinguish the fact from the fib. Lies and deception amass in non-fiction too: the lies inherent in political rhetoric, the bias of biographies and historical chronicles, the representations of fact in arguments for and against an ideology. And the internet, with its facilitation of impersonal and anonymous communication and rapid exchange of information, has become a bastion of assorted half-truths and lies. As it becomes more difficult to ascertain what is ‘truthful’ information and what is not it behoves us to consider the human obsession with lies – how we lie, the reasons for it and the way it is built into our nature and society.”

Examples of topics may include, but are by no means confined to, issues such as:
* Reliable and unreliable narrators/characters
* Forgery
* Information and misinformation
* Censorship
* Propaganda
* The language/rhetoric of lying
* Gossip and slander

Proposals are invited from postgraduate students and early-career researchers in all disciplines for 15-20 minute papers related to this theme. To apply to give a paper, please email your name, school affiliation and a 250 word abstract to liesanddeceptionconference@gmail.com before the deadline of Monday 10 January 2011.


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