Post-Truth: Perspectives, Strategies, Prospects 2019 Conference

Country: Belgium

City: Leuven

Abstr. due: 20.08.2019

Dates: 16.01.20 — 17.01.20

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: KU Leuven -- Letteren


Following the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, the Oxford English Dictionary elected ‘post-truth’ as its Word of the Year in 2016. Similarly, the Gesellfschaft für deutsche Sprache chose ‘postfaktisch’ ('post-factual') as the German word of 2016. Despite the interesting terminological difference, both institutes defined ‘post-truth’ as the situation in which public discourse is shaped by emotions, personal belief, or 'felt truth' rather than objective facts. Ever since, political commentators, journalists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, cultural critics, and philosophers have attempted to account for the various phenomena that characterize our 'post-truth era.'

At a time when the Brexit saga seemingly refuses to end and the first presidency of Trump is almost over, Post-Truth: Perspectives, Strategies, Prospects starts from the conviction that a better grasp of the post-truth phenomenon requires an interdisciplinary dialogue across different fields and perspectives. Together, we will consider the following questions: How have we arrived at a 'post-truth era'? How does it relate to other historical periods? How does ‘post-truth’ relate to other modes of counterfactual or fictional reasoning?  How can we cope with, or even remedy the 'post-truth condition'? What is so great about truth anyway? And what, if anything, comes after ‘post-truth’? By connecting and deepening the existing but dispersed insights on this elusive topic, we hope to craft new, inclusive ways to tackle it.

We invite proposals from any academic discipline about any topic related to the post-truth era, ranging from alternative facts, fake news, and fact checking; filter bubbles, echo chambers, and information silos; confirmation bias and motivated reasoning; science denial, conspiracy theories, and disinformation; news avoidance and distrust of expertise; over populism and identity politics; hyperreality and the media spectacle; globalization, socio-economic inequality, and disenfranchisement; to facts, objectivity, and evidence; truth, fiction, and myth, etc. We only ask that these topics are considered in view of the larger, reciprocal relationship between (post-)truth and the contemporary status of democracy, science, technology, journalism, the media, and popular culture in Western society. Contributions may endorse or contest the standard definition of 'post-truth', and discuss historical precedents as well the novelty of our 'post-truth era'. 

Extended abstracts of 750 to 800 words should be sent in Word format (.doc or .docx). Presentation time will be 30 minutes, followed by 20 minutes for discussion. In order to safeguard the goal of our conference to foster interdisciplinary dialogue, there will be no parallel sessions. As a result, submissions will be subjected to a rigorous selection procedure. We aim to publish the conference proceedings. Submissions for our Poster Competition should contain a 400 word description of the content and format (.doc or .docx; a visual presentation may be added in PDF). The Poster Competition is open to graduate students only. At least one author per accepted poster must be present during the Poster Competition Session. The winners of the competition will be voted by the conference participants.

Conference Web-Site: