4th April, 2018

Independent Publishing Conference 2018: Call for papers

The Laws of Publishing

Deadline: Friday 29 June 2018

The complex systems of rules, conventions and traditions that underpin publishing practice are inextricably linked to the production, reception and consumption of texts. They range from formally consecrated legislation and official industry and organisational codes of conduct, through to unofficial traditions ‘learned on the job’: passed on as cultural capital (cf. Pierre Bourdieu’s The Rules of Art). Laws then, broadly defined, structure the operation of the publishing industry.

The legalities of publishing—from copyright to contracts, privacy to parallel importation—feature constantly in the process of putting books and magazines to print, and the interdisciplinary nature of publishing studies scholarship encourages similarly multi-faceted investigation of the industry’s legalities. And then there are the unofficial laws: those conventions that govern literary merit, genres, questions of ‘taste’, and the value placed on the book as a cultural object.

We seek papers that engage with the laws of publishing: that identify these formal and informal rules, and explore how they influence the inner and outer workings of the field. Although our preference is for papers that focus on independent publishing, presentations on all aspects of publishing are welcome. We are also interested in papers from related disciplines, such as literary studies, creative writing, and media and communication studies. Graduate students and early career researchers are encouraged to submit. We also strongly encourage papers that engage playfully or creatively with the conference theme.

Possible topics might include:

  •         Political economy approaches to the publishing industry
  •         Censorship and discourse control
  •         Copyright, rights management and royalties
  •         Privacy
  •         Parallel importation
  •         Cultural policy and publishing
  •         Funding and sponsoring publishing activities
  •         Bookish value/s
  •         Conventions of genre and form
  •         Conventions, shaping and influence of taste
  •         Conventions, shaping and influence of literary merit


The 2018 Independent Publishing Conference will run from Thursday 22 November to Saturday 24 November at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Academic panels will be held on Thursday 22 November.

We invite proposals by Friday 29 June 2018. Proposals should contain an abstract of 200-300 words. Please include your paper title, institutional affiliation, bio-note, contact details, and any social media handles in the abstract.

Submissions and enquiries should be sent to Alexandra Dane (alexandra.dane@unimelb.edu.au).


The Independent Publishing Conference is proudly supported by the Copyright Agency.

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