CFP: Issue 12 Authenticity (2011)

"Every now and then a critic or a reader writes to say that some character of mine declares things that are too modern, and in every one of these instances, and only in these instances, I was actually quoting fourteenth-century texts."

– Umberto Eco, ‘Epilogue to The Name of the Rose’.

The idea of ‘authenticity’ assumes that a work can be ‘genuine’, ‘authoritative’, ‘legitimate’: rooted in fact or truth. Yet the possibility of ‘authentic’ representation has always been haunted by the prospect of its antithesis, the ‘fake’ or fraud, and both have become increasingly difficult to define in our globalising world. We (re)adapt the notion of authenticity to our own lives and cultures, while the very act of declaring something ‘authentic’ may be construed as a form of dominance and/or rebellion. Although many theoretical perspectives have questioned the validity of ‘authenticity’ as a framework within aesthetic and cultural fields, it continues to inflect our understanding of past and present. ‘Authenticity’ – whether it is accepted, invoked, or defied – has remained a dominant construct throughout centuries of cultural production, and is the foundation of many academic discussions that continuously restructure and redefine the concept.

Is it possible to define an act, work or object as ‘authentic’, and should we try? For this issue, we invite submissions which explore the many facets of ‘authenticity’. We hope to question how the ideal of an ‘authentic’ or ‘genuine’ representation complicates/interacts with the ‘fake’, and the effect this might have on our response to creative acts when an ‘authentic’ object is re-evaluated. How do the concepts of the de-personalised ‘anonymous’ and authenticity intersect? Additionally, how do adaptations, recreations and re-presentations of existing works interact with and redefine the idea of an ‘authentic’ performance? In order to approach this issue, we are seeking submissions that consider the concept of AUTHENTICITY in relation to:

  • Permanence, constructions and mutability
  • Changing conceptions of authority and legitimacy 
  • Innovation and adaptation 
  • Memory, history and performativity 
  • Impact of cyberspace and digital media
  • Approaches in specific genres (e.g. speculative fiction, memoir/biography, parody & pastiche) 

Papers must be of between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length, formatted according to MLA guidelines. Please email your paper, a short abstract and your CV in separate, clearly labelled .DOC files to by 14th February 2011. Each article submitted will be peer reviewed prior to publication.Only one submission per author per issue is permissible.