IALJS 2 2007 Conference
"Literary Journalism in an International Context"
The 2nd International Conference for Literary Journalism Studies
18-19 May 2007
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International Association for Literary Journalism Studies
CONFERENCE PROGRAM WITH ABSTRACTS
The 2nd International Conference
"Literary Journalism in an International Context"
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
18 - 19 May 2007
Friday 18th May 2007 (Salle Jean Monnet, CERI)
Welcome and Introduction
John S. Bak (I.D.E.A., Nancy-Université C.T.U., France):
"Conference Introduction: Literary Journalism Goes Global, Part II"
Poster Session I
Session Title: "American Literary Journalism: Exploring Its Historical
Moderator: David Abrahamson (Northwestern University, U.S.A.)
1. J. Michael Lyons (Indiana University, U.S.A.): "A Crucible of
Discontent: The Settlement House Writers and Literary Journalism on the
Lower East Side"
2. Robert Alexander (Brock University, Canada): "Journalism and its
Double: Subjectivity, Objectivity, and the Uncanny in Joe Gould's Secret"
In his History of American Literary Journalism, John C. Hartsock
attributes the rise of literary journalism in part to "the rhetorical
intention of modern journalistic style" which, in its emphasis on objectivity,
alienates the subjectivities "of the journalist, the subject of the
report, and the readers." In my paper, I draw on Sigmund Freud's essay
"The Uncanny" in order to examine one particular aspect of this alienation:
the manner in which the objective journalist's typical estrangement
from the subjects on which he or she reports as well as from his or
her own subjectivity reasserts itself in works of literary journalism
in the figure of the double. In works as diverse as Truman Capote's
In Cold Blood, Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer,
Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, and, most recently, Michael
Finkel's True Story, we find a correspondence between the subjects
of stories and certain characteristics of the literary journalists who
provide those accounts. Focusing on the two texts which comprise Joseph
Mitchell's memorable profile of the derelict Greenwich Village writer
Joe Gould, I will argue that, through the curious resemblances which
become apparent between Mitchell and his subject, Gould emerges as an
uncanny figure for the subjectivity which is necessarily repressed in
objective journalism. Finally, drawing on Freud's suggestion that we
experience the uncanny in texts which commingle objective and subjective
styles or, in Nicholas Royle's words, "when 'real', everyday
life suddenly takes on a disturbingly 'literary' or 'fictional' quality"
I will argue that the bifurcated subjectivity we find in Joe
Gould's Secret and other works is an effect of the mixing
of journalistic and literary genres which constitutes literary journalism.
3. Delphine Louis (Université de Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle, France):
"Self and Other: Representations of American Identity through Foreign
Experiences in Mark Twain's Literary Journalism"
4. Leslie Eckel (Yale University, U.S.A.): "Poetic News from the
New World: Walt Whitman's Transatlantic Reportage"
This paper investigates the journalistic techniques that Whitman used
promote his poetry in an international context. In their introduction
Whitman and the World, Gay Wilson Allen and Ed Folsom observe that
poetry continues to represent American culture abroad. I
argue that Whitman
himself worked diligently to create that impression in the minds of
by reporting on the appearance of his books as news of cultural
both at home and abroad. By reapplying the skills that he had learned
printer and editor at various newspapers in New York from the 1830s
Whitman was able to shape the publics response to his poetry and
his reputation as a nationally representative figure.
Thomas L. Brashers and Shelley Fisher Fishkins studies
of Whitmans editorial
work at the New York Aurora and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
have illuminated the
close ties between his journalistic interests and his development of
a fresh and
comprehensive poetic vision. My research approaches Whitmans journalism
from a new angle as it focuses on the prefaces, reviews, and articles
published in conjunction with his volumes of poetry. Whitman began his
of journalistic self-promotion locally in 1855, but he quickly turned
print sources to secure positive reviews, which he included in his next
Leaves of Grass. He subsequently capitalized on that transatlantic
in his 1876 campaign to promote his Centennial Edition of
Leaves of Grass by
reporting on his own supposed neglect by American readers. By combining
authority of the press with the force of his own creative innovation,
both distinguishes himself from his contemporaries and provides scholars
literary journalism with a model of a professional life fully realized
Research Paper Session I
Session Title: "Literary Journalism and the Portuguese Experience"
Moderator: Alice Trindade (Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais
e Políticas, Portugal)
1. Isabel Soares Santos (Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais
e Políticas, Portugal): "Literary Journalism's Magnetic Pull:
New Journalism and the Portuguese at the Fin-de-Siècle"
Despite being an era of progress and, to some extent, economic prosperity,
the Portuguese fin-de-siècle was regarded by an intellectual
elite as an epoch of crisis; a time when all aspects of society were
being questioned and, no matter which perspective was taken, the country
and its society were thought of as a tired body on the verge of degeneration.
Like in so many other countries, authors were finding it harder and
harder to stick to old canons and Realism was thus making its way. The
same authors who were tinkering with literature were also experimenting
with journalism, their aim being to rescue the press from its decaying
apathy. Therefore, a new journalistic form was coming to light.
Importing models from the British press, men like Eça de Queirós,
Ramalho Ortigão, Batalha Reis and Oliveira Martins, all of them
journalists, first and foremost, took the Portuguese press by storm
writing controversial articles in which their personae were perceived
and that sought the readers complicity. Regarded as unorthodox
journalists by their critics and still widely read today, these four
authors can be interpreted as new journalists, or literary journalists
avant la lettre, for their articles are alive with scenes, dialogues,
irony and humour, devices never used before in the Portuguese press.
Our aim is then to shed some light into their special way of writing
and analyse them under the blanket expression of literary journalism
for the first time. As such we hope to be able to contribute to the
study of these four journalists and to bring their names into the realm
of literary journalism.
2. Gabriela Gândara Terenas (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal):
"Images of Britain in the Portuguese Literary Journalism During the
First Decade of the 20th Century"
Introduction: John C. Hartsock (SUNY Cortland, U.S.A.)
Keynote: Norman Sims (University of Massachusetts Amherst, U.S.A.):
"A Conversation About the Future of Literary Journalism"
Research Paper Session II
Session Title: "Currents in American Literary Journalism: A Sense
of Place and the Primacy of Dissent"
Moderator: Isabelle Meuret (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)
1. William Dow (Université de Valenciennes and The American University
of Paris, France): "Writing Dark Times: Settings, Immersions in Agnes
Smedley and Meridel Le Sueur"
What is often missing from so many of the histories on literary journalism
and the developing cultural and literary criticism on it is the importance
of setting in narrative. Conventionally defined, "the setting of
a narrative or dramatic work is the general locale, historical time,
and social circumstances in which its action occurs; the setting of
an episode or scene within a work is the particular physical location
in which it takes place" (Abrams). Pierre Bourdieu complicates
this definition, suggesting the need to objectify and analyse the relationship
between the analyzer and his or her object of analysis. Failure to do
so, Bourdieu suggests, frequently results in the analyser assuming a
privileged position (always self-attributed) vis-à-vis setting
and effacing relations of power that may be inherent in the relationship.
Most concerned with Bourdieu's sense of self-referentiality as it applies
to "social circumstances," this paper will examine setting
in relation to the writers who left their habitual settings in order
to create unhabitual settings for themselves and their readers. It will
also attempt to make the oversized subject of setting more manageable
by examining its uses in Agnes Smedley's Daughter of Earth (1929)
and Meridel Le Sueur's Salute to Spring (1940), two of the most
important examples of literary journalism from the Depression era. My
contention is that the narratives that grew out of their settings were
instrumental in allowing both writers to enter into the thirties' current
of displacing the novel as the most prestigious form of literary expression.
Their settings dispute the independence of political action while reflecting
an uneasiness of telling an individual's story when environment threatens
to render the very notion of "individualism" increasingly
2. Christophe Chambost (Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, France):
"Dissenting within Hearst's Empire: Ambrose Bierce's Columns on the
Poster Session II
Session Title: "Literary Journalism across the Globe"
Moderator: Moderator: Sonja Merljak Zdovc (Fakulteta za drubene
vede, Univerza v Ljubljani, Sovenia)
1. David Abrahamson (Northwestern University, U.S.A.): "The Counter-Coriolis
Effect: Expanding Literary Journalism in a Shrinking World"
If author Tom Friedman is correct, for much of the world the defining
reality of the next few decades will be globalization in all its forms:
economic, political, cultural, social, etc. The question then arises:
What, if any, might be the journalistic dimensions to this phenomenon?
And if, at least for the sake of argument, one posits that such dimensions
exist, what then would be the literary journalism element (or elements)
to the journalistic dimension? In line with this axis of inquiry, this
work-in-progress presentation attempts to consider literary journalism
from a deliberately geopolitical prospective. Because literary journalism
most certainly has had the potential for profound long-term, even world-historical,
effects (see John Hersey's Hiroshima and the rise of the "Ban the
Bomb" movement in the both U.S. and Europe, or Seymour Hersh's
dispatches from Abu Ghraib and the changing tide of public opinion about
the American misadventure in Iraq), it also can both shape and reflect
larger social, cultural and political currents at the regional,
national and even international level. Upon consideration of these larger
currents, one aspect might be termed, only half in jest, the Counter-Coriolis
Effect. As you will no doubt remember from your grade-school geography
class, the Coriolis Effect says that things deflect to the right in
the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.
At least as a starting point for a broader discussion, this paper will
propose the existence of a Counter-Coriolis Effect, which suggests that
the opposite is generally true in comparing the literary journalism
of the developed and developing worlds. The work hopes to foster an
exploration, from a variety of sociocultural and economic perspectives,
of why this might be so, as well as how literary journalism might contribute
to an emerging global conversation.
2. David Evans (CEAP, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal): "Literary
Journalism as a Tool in the Campaign against Slavery in Portuguese West
Africa: The Case of the Portuguese Provincial Newspaper A Verdade"
3. Maria Lassila-Merisalo (University of Jyväskylä, Finland):
"The Narrator in Finnish Literary Journalism"
The focus of my future Ph.D. thesis is on the role of the narrator
in Finnish literary journalism. In Finland, the typical features of
news journalism the neutral, factual and conventional style
have dominated journalistic mode of expression in general. There has
been a rather solid fence between fact and fiction and print journalism
has been assumed to stay tightly in the field of fact. Nevertheless,
there are a few Finnish magazines that have been interested in employing
narrative techniques that are considered to belong to fiction rather
than nonfiction. These magazines and their stories are in the center
of my research material. My methods are interdisciplinary, including
features from communication studies and literary studies.
My thesis consists of three parts. In the first part I will discuss
theoretical matters: concepts fact and fiction and their borderline
area. I will consider the concepts from both an aesthetical and an epistemological
point of view; what are the consequences when one applies fictional
techniques into factual texts? I will take a look at the somewhat vaguely
defined genre of literary journalism. I will also submit previous study
on the concept of the narrator both in literary studies and in journalism
studies. And finally, I will present the actual research subject; Finnish
The second part of my thesis consists of several cases of text analysis.
I have already analyzed the presence of the narrator in a personality
story Takapiru with the help of Seymour Chatmans classic list
of signs of narrators overtness. I have also studied a number
of personality stories and different attitudes their narrators can have
towards the main characters of the stories; this analysis is presented
in chapter 6: Friend or Foe?
I am yet to write a chapter based on my Master's thesis. This chapter
will discuss speech presentation in an eyewitness reportage. Later on
I am also planning on studying a very interesting case of an unreliable
narrator in a Finnish magazine.
All these cases focus on the ongoing millenium, and therefore I am
wondering whether a peek into the 1950's would be a useful addition
or a wasted odyssey.
The third part of my study consists of thematic interviews. I am going
to interview a part of the editorial staff of Helsingin Sanomien Kuukausiliite,
the monthly supplement of Helsingin Sanomat. My questions will focus
on the journalistic work process and the role of the narrator in it.
Through my work I attempt to contribute to both academic as well as
professional fields of journalism, in a land where literary journalism
appears to be an unfamiliar concept even to most journalists.
4. Chen Peiqin (Shanghai International Studies University, China): "A
Comparative Study of Literary Journalism in the United States and Literary
Reportage in China"
5. Sonja Merljak Zdovc (Fakulteta za drubene vede, Univerza v Ljubljani,
Sovenia): "How the Use of Novelistic Techniques Helped to Avoid Censorship"
In 1963, the constitution of Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia
gave the citizens, including Slovenes, the right to express their opinion
in mass media and with this the slow process of freedom of expression
and information began (Splichal and Vreg, 1986). This was reflected
in journalism which in comparison with the 1950s, when everything
was overseen by the Communist Party started to become more democratic.
However, for a long time the journalists could write about the state
of affairs in the country only indirectly. Some of the more innovative
journalists decided to wrap their criticism and their opinion of the
political system in stories. With the aid of novelistic techniques and
elements of narrative they told their readers stories about injustice
or anomalies of the system they had witnessed. This kind of journalistic
writing, which was predominantely associated with the weekly magazine
Tovari, appeared approximately at the same time as New Journalism appeared
in the United States of America. However, despite the similar definition,
i.e. a kind of writing that is based on facts but it reads like literature
(Wolfe, 1973; Sims, 1984), it seems that this writing had a different
function as well as form. With the methods of quality and comparative
analysis, interview and oral history we would like to present why and
how this kind of writing developed in Slovenia. Our presentation of
the crucial differences between New Journalism and writing in the magazine
Tovari¹ in function and form, will be based on the scholarly work
of Wolfe (1973), Weber (1980), Sims (1984), Sims and Kramer (1995),
Kerrane and Yagoda (1997), Harrington (1997), and Hartsock (2000). We
can conclude that despite the relative closeness of the media and political
space, with the innovative use of the novelistic techniques and elements
of narration, the journalists were able to provide quality journalism
to their readers and at the same time to avoid the censorship.
Panel Title: "Teaching Literary Journalism: From English to Journalism
and Back Again"
Moderator: Norman Sims (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, U.S.A.)
Mark Massé (Ball State University, U.S.A.)
Bill Reynolds (Ryerson University, Canada)
Alice Trindade (Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas,
DESCRIPTION This panel seeks to elucidate and examine various methodologies
used in English departments and journalism schools to teach literary journalism.
Each approach has its own challenges, yet both seek the richest possible
cultural inculcation of literary journalism. How does each approach explicate
and differentiate literary journalism, how does each explain the depth
of the interview and research processes at stake and, finally, how does
each seek to explain the thrill of crossing the intensity of academic-style
research with the inspirational art of high-quality literary writing?
PARTICIPANTS "Do unto them as they would do unto literary journalism:
teaching writer methodologies", Bill Reynolds, Ryerson, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org:
Just as the literary journalist goes "long and deep" into researching
a story, so I as the educator would go "long and deep" through the study
of one particular work. My method involves researching one author through
primary and secondary sources, including information readily available
on the Internet and databases, and then interviewing the journalist about
his or her work, in some depth and with particular attention paid to one
specific piece. I want to discuss briefly how students react to that kind
of teaching, and whether it is worthwhile to continue teaching in that
"Literary Journalism as a Tool for Critical Thought", Alice Trindade,
Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Portugal,
email@example.com: In an environment in which large classes and learning
by rote is still predominant, I aim to use literary journalism with my
English language students in three chief ways: to improve their knowledge
of the English language, to foster reading in general and to get them
to think critically, using the techniques used in literary journalism
as a model of well crafted, personal writing based on facts and research
- the fruit of honest intellectual labour.
"The multicultural benefits of teaching literary journalism", Mark Massé,
Ball State University, U.S.A., MHMASSE@bsu.edu: How literary journalism
opens a two-way dialogue about cultures. For example, Muskie fellowship
students from former Soviet nations learn about American society on multiple
levels through works of literary journalism. Their own original narrative
nonfiction writing informs American audiences about social and cultural
issues from their different, foreign perspectives.
Other possible discussion points: The connection between culture and writing
practice: do people from different cultures have different writing methodologies,
which reflect (wittingly or unwittingly) their different cultures. What
particular issues arise when teaching literary journalism with the focus
on the finished product (literature) rather than the process? How are
the principles of credibility, ethics and artistic merit used by literary
journalism educators to teach their students?
Saturday, 19th May 2007 (Salle Jean Monnet, CERI)
Research Paper Session III
Session Title: "Literary Journalism and the Commonwealth"
Moderator: J. Michael Lyons (Indiana University, U.S.A.)
1. Willa McDonald (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia): "Writings
of Displacement: The Literary Journalism of Arnold Zable"
2. Lynne van Luven (University of Victoria, Canada): "Twenty Years
Beyond Definition: How the Practice of Literary Journalism in Canada has
Assumed New Guises"
Sometimes a cynical observer might wonder if the practice of literary
Canada will forever be undermined by three contradictory camps: the
scoffing hard-news journalists who dismiss it as sissy stuff;
the insouciant novelists-manqué who never let the facts get in
the way of a good story; and the stiff-necked academic critics who bicker
fruitlessly about definitions. And while all such contenders do take
occasional swipes at each other, their arguments pale in the face of
the vigorous practice of a new generation of non-fiction writers. Over
the past 20 years, Canadian non-fiction has garnered respect as sophisticated
and complex literature. It has moved beyond the popular histories of
Pierre Berton and the nature sagas of Farley Mowat into a variety of
more flexible and far-reaching forms, including cultural criticism,
biography, history and memoir. And it has managed to do so under a welter
of contending titles: its practitioners may variously term it creative
non-fiction, narrative non-fiction or personal journalism. Some even
adopt the term literary journalism. Such writers as Charlotte Gray,
James MacKinnon, Rita Moir, Bruce McKillop and Charles Montgomery have
undertaken the writing of true stories which are dramatic and compelling.
These are books written with the telling details favoured by Lillian
Ross or Joan Didion, with the political clarity of George Orwell. This
paper contends Canadian non-fiction functions as literature that both
records and queries individual true stories, the most enduring
of which have resonance within the public realm.
Poster Session III
Session Title: "Forms of Literary Journalism: From Pamphlets to
Newspapers to Blogs"
Moderator: John Kenny (National University of Ireland, Ireland)
1. Sara Niblock (Brunel University, U.K.): "The Reflexive Practice
of Immersionist News Reporting in Mainstream Newspapers"
2. José de Kruif (Universiteit Utrecht, Holland): "Literary
Genres in Nineteenth Century Pamphlets and Newspapers: A Methodological
Discussion on Text Mining and Genre Analysis"
3. Viviane Serfaty (Université de Marne-la-Vallée, France):
"Online Political Commitment as a Journalistic Genre"
4. Rutger de Graaf (Universiteit Utrecht, Holland): "Literary Genres
in Local Pamphlets and Newspapers, 1813-1899"
Research Paper Session IV
Session Title: "Literary Journalism's Definitions and Interpretations"
Moderator: Jenny McKay (University of Stirling, Scotland)
1. Sonia Fernández Parrat (Facultad de CC de la Información,
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain): "Journalism as Interpreter
of Reality through Long-form Narrative Technique"
2. John Hartsock (SUNY Cortland, U.S.A.): "Is Literary Reportage
Literary Journalism? Yes, No, and Maybe"
Poster Session IV
Session Title: "Literary Journalism: Theory, Differentiation and
Moderator: Lynne van Luven (University of Victoria, Canada)
1. John Kenny (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland): "Internationalising
the Middle Page: John Banville as Literary Journalist and Editor"
2. Anna Jungstrand (Institutionen för litteraturvetenskap och idéhistoria,
Stockholms Universitet, Sweden): "Subjectivity in Reportage: From
Acknowledgement to Analysis with a Narratological Approach"
3. Doug Underwood (University of Washington, U.S.A.): "Journalistic
Versatility and Literary Experimentation: The Transformation of the 'Familiar
History' of the Eighteenth Century into the Categories of Fiction, Biography,
and Literary Journalism Today"
4. Greg Rubinson (UCLA, U.S.A.): "Teaching Students to Write Like
Human Beings: Overcoming the Tyranny of Traditional Academic Writing with
Panel Title: "Can Film Be Literary Journalism?"
Moderator: William Dow (Université de Valenciennes and The American
University of Paris, France)
John S. Bak (I.D.E.A., Nancy-Université C.T.U., France)
Susan Greenberg (Roehampton University, U.K.)
John C. Hartsock (SUNY Cortland, U.S.A)
DESCRIPTION This panel seeks to start an open-ended discussion that has
so far arisen only in a tangential way within both journalism and film.
What constitutes literary journalism in film? Which of the two media,
print and film, provides a more "real" or "true" portrait of the world?
What difference do new digital platforms make? The aim is to begin establishing
a site?for further critical reflection and ultimately scholarship.
PARTICIPANTS "Using film to teach journalism as a literary form," John
Bak, Nancy 2, France, firstname.lastname@example.org: The question that I tend
to raise is not, can film be literary journalism, which I think it can,
but can literary journalism be film, about which I have my doubts. Once
the narrative voice is lost as a medium between the subject and the audience-that
voice which controls not only the details but the tone, often ironic,
as well-the film seemingly takes on more of a fictional role. And when
selecting films to show a class in literary journalism, the question arises,
what constitutes literary journalism in film? Is it films based on works
of literary journalism, films by people who happen to be literary journalists
or films about journalism that add a fictive flavor to the activity?
"Text vs images: which is more 'real'?" John Hartsock, SUNY Cortland,
NY, USA, email@example.com: Film can seem more "real" to
the viewer than text, because images work more directly on our mind. But
feature films use a medium within a medium: an actor, who has a life beyond
the film, and the film itself. Does this make film at twice a remove from
the reader/viewer? In the case of print, there is only one remove
an abstract symbol system we call the alphabet. Do similar issues arise
with films that use real people and places?
"The digital dimension", Susan Greenberg, Roehampton University, London,
UK, firstname.lastname@example.org: Traditionally, film has been less flexible
than text; partly because of the medium's qualities, but also because
it requires a good deal more investment. But with the development of digital
platforms, film might be catching up. In addition, some people
noticing a shift from textual to visual literacy are heralding
the "death of text". In practice, however, we shift between words and
pictures all the time. It is all the more interesting, then, that both
literary journalism and documentary film the most obvious visual
parallel are working their way through very similar debates. These
include the transparency of the narrative process, the power relationship
between author and source and the rights and wrongs of hybrids.
John S. Bak (I.D.E.A., Nancy-Université C.T.U., France)