Symposion & Publication
Symposium und Special Issue
"Journal of Literary Theory"
January 31, 2021
Stichtag: 2021 01 31

Literature plays a crucial role in the research field of Memory Studies. In spite of extensive research in this field, also and particularly in Literary Studies relating to fictional minds and commemoration, various scholars mentioned that there is still a virtual lack of theoretical approaches to textual analysis. Moreover, although Literary Theory and especially Narratology offers concrete instruments for textual analysis, these two areas are only occasionally combined. The planned special issue of Journal of Literary Theory aims to test several theoretical approaches to literature which deal with traumatic memory and memory of violence. Memory Studies provide process-induced concepts of memory, utilizing Michael Rothberg’s „multidirectional memory“, Aleida Assmann’s „dialogisches Erinnern“ and Astrid Erll’s „travelling memory“. Textual analysis based on these concepts mostly shows a direct application on the literary text without considering its structure. The consideration of a narratological perspective may foster a taxonomy of various manifestations of multidirectional and dialogical processes of memory. Furthermore, to describe and classify processes of remembrance in literature, concepts such as Alan Palmer’s „fictional minds“, Jan Alber’s „unnatural narratives“ or unreliable narration prove to be very helpful.

Proposed articles may consider the following questions (among others):

  • How can we precisely describe the role of literature in the field of Memory Studies? How do other disciplines interact with and rely on literature?
  • How do Memory Studies and literary theory relate to processes of remembrance in literature? How do literary texts mimetically shape processes of memory and which theoretical concepts are useful to further describe and define these phenomena?
  • In what way do theories and methods from the field of Digital Humanities provide new stimuli for research on memory and literature?
  • To what extend provide findings about interpersonal interaction and individual memory processes shaped in literature insights in the function of collective memory?
  • Which concrete literary theories and methods can show literature to be a privileged discursive space for memory processes?

We encourage submissions from all language and literature departments and from all academic disciplines participating in Memory Studies (especially psychology, sociology, philosophy, cultural and media studies).

Articles in which individual literary texts or a corpus of literary texts are interpreted can only be considered if they feature a strong focus on systematic and theoretical questions.

The publication process follows a two-step procedure: following the notification of acceptance, all authors write a first draft of their contributions. These drafts will be circulated among all contributors and jointly discussed at a digital workshop. The number of participants is limited to 10. A revised and expanded version will be subject to a double-blind review process by the international advisory board of JLT.


  • 31 January 2021: submission deadline for abstracts
  • 21 February 2021: notifications of acceptance
  • 1 August 2021: submission of contributions for pre-circulation
  • 9-11 September 2021: digital workshop with all contributors
  • 1 March 2022: submission of revised contributions (based on the discussions at the workshop) though the JLT Website.

Please send an abstract (in German or English) to Dr. Urania Milevski ( and Dr. Lena Wetenkamp ( by 31 January 2021. Your submission (c. 500 words) should include a short biobibliography.

We are always interested in further collaboration and exchange with scholars working at the interface of Literary Theory and Memory Studies. Please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail.