Literature & Culture and/as Intelligent Systems

University of Stuttgart Digital Workshop
16–17 December 2021
Confirmed Keynote Address: Dr. James Smithies, Director of King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London
Full CFP here

Research on ‘intelligent systems’ broadly impacts the everyday lives of citizens worldwide, from self-driving cars, facial recognition, and ‘intelligent’ robots, to algorithms that create personalized advertisements that influence consumer choice. The societal, political, cultural, and ethical impacts of advances in this field have become matters of concern – and have also shaped literary and cultural production. Especially in recent years, literary texts that explore various aspects of intelligent systems have been thriving: novels such as Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me (2019), Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (2021), and Mark Wheaton’s Emily Eternal (2019) have drawn public interest and have put a new focus on the ‘knowledge of literature’ in that these narratives not only reflect upon, but often also engage in, re-creating (and advancing) intelligent systems on the level of the storyworld. In effect, literary texts are both shaped by and actively shaping their cultural contexts of production and reception. With regard to the impact of various agents and environments on the design of a narrative – the text properties considered typical for a particular literary genre, as well as the robustness of specific genres due to their ability to adapt to changing requirements across different times and cultures – questions arise to what extent literature (or specific text types) can also be regarded as intelligent systems.

We welcome 15-minute input papers from scholars of all career stages, backgrounds, disciplines. The workshop will be held online. Please send an abstract of 300-400 words with contact information and a short bio to jessica.bundschuh@ilw.uni-stuttgart.de under the subject line of “intelligent systems” by 29 October 2021. A full CFP can be read here.

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