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[ecrea] Cfp Literary Journalism as a Discipline - Brazilian Journalism Research

Fri Feb 23 08:01:53 GMT 2018


/Brazilian Journalism Research/, Vol. 14, N. 3

Literary Journalism as a Discipline

John S. Bak, Monica Martinez

The introduction to /Literary Journalism across the Globe/ concluded with an open challenge to literary journalism scholars around the world: “… [to] stop referring to literary journalism as a genre … or even as a form … and [to] start calling it what it is: a discipline” (Bak and Reynolds, 2011: 18). Response to that challenge has been overwhelming, evidenced by the many monographs, collections and scholarly articles that have since been published in various languages worldwide. And yet, efforts in establishing literary journalism studies as an independent discipline (that is, an internationally recognized field of study with institutional backing and support from university administrators to publishing houses, from individual scholars to learned societies, and from commercial enterprises to governmental agencies) have been slow in developing, and the reasons for this are several.

To be considered a discipline, literary journalism will need to continue advancing along many fronts. To start with, adiscipline, of course, needs historians to determine its pedigree and to establish its moments of institutional crises, and literary journalism has certainly been blessed with many of them from around the world: Norman Sims (2007) and John C. Hartsock (2000) in the U.S.; Edvaldo Pereira Lima (1993) and Monica Martinez (2016)in Brazil; Sonja Merljak Zdovc (2008) in Slovenia; Myriam Boucharenc (2001) and Marie-Eve Thérenty (2007) in France; Isabelle Meuret and Paul Aron (2012) in Belgium; Albert Chillón (1999) in Spain;**Charles A. Laughlin (2002) in China, Isabel Soares in Portugal (2011), to name but a few. These historians have established the main periods of literary journalism’s development over the centuries, which scholars have since been fleshing out. A discipline also needs a corpus of primary and secondary texts on which to found itself, and scholarship over the past decade or more has surely increased the number and visibility of the literary journalistic texts around the world. And yet, while recovering lost texts for the literary journalism canon and arguing cases for new recruits has been invaluable to the field, a discipline that has been idling in corpus building and textual analysis, which is where literary journalism studies seems to be today, is not entirely advancing. To move forward, a discipline also needs its own theories and methodologies, which have heretofore been borrowed mostly from the disciplines of journalism and literature.

Given this current state of affairs, this volume of /BJR/ seeks articles that theorize literary journalism studies or explore methodologies that will advance its scholarship. Literary journalism as a praxis has been flourishing these past couple decades, and its scholarships needs to keep apace. While some theoretical inquiry into literary journalism aesthetics has already been conducted (Hartsock, 2015; Lima, 1993; Aare, 2016), and ad hoc research methodologies have frequently been imported from other disciplines (e.g., framing theory and life history from journalism/communication or deconstructionism and postcolonialism from literature/Cultural Studies), literary journalism studies is faced with the challenge to formulate its own theories and research methods, which would allow it both to assert its own authority and autonomy and to lend its epistemological resources to other disciplines that are faced with resolving similar quan daries surrounding textual hybridity, international specificities and historical subjectivity. For example, the reading experience of literary journalism differs from that of traditional journalism and of literature, yet we are repeatedly borrowing theories from both of these fields to explain this reader-literary journalistic text experience. Literary journalism studies would surely benefit from new theories on how a reader of a /New Yorker /article, who knows that the story is factual but who nonetheless takes pleasure in the reading the text as if it were a short story, processes information differently from those readings a story in the /Folha de S.Paulo/ or a historical novel.

Possible submissions on the epistemologies, methodologies and praxes of literary journalism studies that are linked directly to the greater debate of disciplinary identity could include: the theorization of literary journalism’s aesthetics (text-, author-, reader- and environment-based theories); a bibliographic assessment of the current state of research in international literary journalism studies (in including a section on future research topics); an examination of other disciplinary theories and methods being imported into literary journalism’s analytical framework; the application of inter-, pluri- and transdisciplinarity to literary journalism studies around the world (that is, scholarship of literary journalism studies will likely come from other disciplines, such as history, sociology, media studies, communication studies, etc., thus it might be considered an emerging post-academic science); the exploration of litera ry journalism’s theories and methodologies that could be taken up by other disciplines; etc. The specific questions that the volume seeks answers to include episthemological and methodological but also sociological and cultural issues in relation to the possible disciplinarization of literary journalism.

This volume’s gambit is that, just as the praxis of literary journalism has been carving out its niche in the world of journalism, the study of literary journalism will need to branch out and explore new frontiers within the academy. Like any adolescent whose passage into adulthood inevitably draws upon and, at times, contests the experiences and knowledge of its parents, literary journalism studies will need to weigh the theories and methodologies of its parent disciplines – literature and journalism – against its own epistemological wants and needs and, in so doing, establish its own means to addressing the many questions and quandaries that preoccupy it, as much today as tomorrow. While such critical thinking may elicit contrastive responsesfrom both sides of the literary journalistic spectrum, the editors welcome the debate, firmly believing that nothing new emerges without dialogue, from both outside and inside the discipline. After all, literary and journalistic studies are not haunted by their many, at times antagonistic, schools of critical thought. On the contrary, both are made richer by them. This volume thus hopes that any debate that it generates will ultimately serve literary journalism studies in establishing itself as a discipline unique to itself, but always open and willing to foster a dialogue with other fields of knowledge.

Articles, from 40,000 to 55,000 characters with spaces, APA Style, must be submitted by June 1st, 2018.

As Brazilian Journalism Research publishes two versions of each issue (in Portuguese/Spanish and in English), the authors of the articles accepted in Spanish or Portuguese should provide the English translation. In the same way, the authors of texts accepted in English should send a version in Portuguese or Spanish.

The articles should be sent exclusively through the SEER/OJS electronic system available on the website of the journal: If in doubt, please, send an email to (bjr /at/

Guidelines for authors:

Deadline for article submission: June 1st, 2018

Notification of acceptance: August 15th, 2018

Deadline for submission of the final version in English and Portuguese/Spanish with revision and additional information suggested by the editors: September 30, 2018

Published: December 30th, 2018

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