The Finnish Literary Research Society’s Annual Conference 2023: Kokemus/Erfarenhet/Experience

4.-5.5.2023 University of Turku & Åbo Akademi

The 2023 annual conference of the Finnish Literary Research Society will be organized 4–5 May in Turku. The conference is a hybrid event. A dissertation workshop for doctoral students will be held on May 3rd. The theme of the conference is EXPERIENCE. 

This is a call for workshops. We are looking for proposals for workshops with fixed presenters as well as open workshops which interested delegates can join later. The abstract should be no longer than 250 words. Please send your workshop proposal by December 21st 2022 to

The theme experience enables cross- and interdisciplinary approaches to literary cultures. We warmly welcome papers from the fields of literary studies, cultural studies, philology, pedagogy, history, gender studies and any others to bring their own contributions to our shared understanding of the meaning of experience to literature and its scholarly enquiry. Philosophical, methodological, and other approaches are welcome, as well as workshops on other themes. The conference is also open to research project presentations.

Throughout different eras, literature has addressed the experience of being in the world. During the last few decades, the notion of experience being crucial to literature and its understanding has become one of the focal points of literary studies. A frequently utilized concept in its own right, in criticism experience is implicitly included in many other concepts – knowledge, mimesis, affect, trauma, identity, etc. Not only are authors thought to draw on their own life experiences but to explore manifold worlds of experience which become linked to readerly experiences in various ways, offering opportunities for verbalizing one’s own experiences and imagining other ways of experiencing.

From a (literary-)philosophical standpoint, experience may be viewed as a universal and timeless point of discussion. On the other hand, the foregrounding of emotional experience in contemporary culture provides another source for the topicality of the subject. We thus have grounds to think that focusing on the concept of experience will open new avenues of thought for literary studies and other fields of inquiry. Moreover, comparing understandings of the concept of experience within different theoretical orientations may be viewed as a matter of equal importance. How do, for example, cognitive, hermeneutic phenomenological, and new materialistic concepts of experience differ? How is the relationship between experience and history, culture, and society understood within different theoretical frameworks?

Approaches to experience might include but are not limited to the following:

  • experiences of reading / literature as a form of experience
  • the author’s / reader’s experience
  • literature and language as tools for describing experience 
  • the gender experience in literature 
  • experience, class, and socioeconomic status
  • narrative studies and experience  
  • experience in literary theory 
  • experience and time 
  • experience as mediated by culture/history
  • corporeality / the body and experience  
  • minority literatures and experience   
  • non-human experiences in literature and criticism 
  • life experience and literature  

The language of the workshop can be Finnish, Swedish, English or Sami. A Call for Papers for individual papers and research project presentations will open later.

The Finnish Literary Research Society’s annual conference is organized by the literary studies programmes at the University of Turku & the Comparative Literature Department at Åbo Akademi in collaboration with The Finnish Literary Research Society (KTS). We warmly welcome You to share the experience with us!