Fact and Fiction: Creation, Forms, Boundaries

05/19/2017 (All day) to 05/20/2017 (All day)
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

This symposium takes the contested and porous border between fact and fiction as the point of departure for a wide-ranging cross-disciplinary dialogue. Understanding fiction not as a literary genre but as an operative category in various modes, disciplines, and discourses, we aim to identify the general features that define imaginary worlds, while also considering the historical and cultural variability of practices, the specificity of media, and the blurring of distinctions. Why and how do we create fictions, and what kinds of truths can these fictions convey? Should fiction be defined in ontological, logical, or pragmatic terms? How do human minds distinguish between factual and fictional narratives, actual and virtual realities? Can we identify “signposts” of fictionality and factuality? Bringing together perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, cognitive sciences, and art practice, we offer an exploratory approach to these questions, with an emphasis on collective discussion.

This conference is free and open to the public. While no advance reading is required, primary source documents and other related materials will be made available in advance on the conference website, and are intended to facilitate understanding and debate.

This event is organized by the Fact and Fiction research project at the Neubauer Collegium. Other institutional partners include the France Chicago Center, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Committee on Social Thought, and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

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