CfP: Kafka Transformed, Oxford 18-20 September 2024

Call for Papers

Kafka Transformed

International Conference; University of Oxford, 18-20 September 2024

Franz Kafka’s role as a world author is inextricably linked to his reception and afterlife. His global legacy has been shaped by academic as well as general readers, and by creative practitioners working across different art forms and media. The centenary of Kafka’s death in 2024 offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take stock of this living legacy while setting new research agendas for the future. To this end, our conference has three interconnected strands.

The first strand, ‘Transformations’, focuses on creative adaptation as a form of interpretation. It asks how different art forms and media have been instrumental in offering bold and innovative routes into Kafka’s work. The second strand, ‘New Voices’, will bring Kafka’s texts into dialogue with cutting-edge and emerging fields of academic enquiry; the list given below is by no means exclusive but merely intended as a starting point.The third strand,Global Legacies’, will explore Kafka’s reception, role and impact in different parts of the world, including instances where his works have acted as a focal point of (political) resistance and (cultural) debate.

This conference is part of the AHRC-funded research project Kafka’s Transformative Communities, based at the University of Oxford and Free University Berlin. Its aim is to forge a diverse and inclusive Kafka research community, which brings together academics working in different disciplines as well as creative practitioners. To this end, we encourage proposals from scholars in literary studies; music, theatre and dance studies; in history and art history; film and media studies. Alongside proposals for academic papers, we welcome suggestions for entire panels (of up to three papers), and contributions using alternative formats, such as conversation and creative responses. The primary language of this conference will be English, although papers and panels in German are also welcomed. 

The conference will take place at Wadham College, University of Oxford, on 18-20 September 2024. It will coincide with the exhibition Kafka: Making An Icon at the Bodleian Library Oxford, which holds the largest collection of Kafka’s manuscripts world-wide.

1) Transformations

Kafka’s status as a world author is not only the result of the efforts of his various editors, publishers, and translators over the last 100 years, but also of the extraordinary resonance his work has produced in creative artists working across almost all art forms. This section will look at Kafka’s legacy in one or more of the following:

  • Music
  • Visual Art
  • Film and TV
  • Writing
  • Dance and Performance 
  • Popular culture
  • Digital Kafka

2) New Voices

Over the past century, Kafka has been at the heart of various theoretical ‘turns’ and ‘-isms’, reflecting wider academic trends while actively sparking innovation and debate. This section looks at his role in the present research landscape, in current and emerging fields of enquiry, such as:

  • World literature
  • Environmental humanities
  • (Beyond) Empire
  • Beyond the Human
  • Cognitive Approaches
  • Politics and Community
  • Multilingualism and Translation
  • Exile, migration and textual afterlives

3) Resonances, Networks, Legacies

This strand looks at Kafka’s own engagement with other cultures and his resonance in different parts of the world, within and across linguistic boundaries. Possible areas of enquiry might include:

  • Kafka in Asia
  • Kafka in Central and South America
  • Kafka in Africa
  • Kafka in Eastern Europe
  • Kafka as a focal point of political critique and resistance

Abstracts of up to 250 words for individual contributions, and proposals for panels (up to 400 words) should be sent to the three organisers:, and    

Please specify which strand you are applying for.

Deadline for proposals: 9 December 2023, 5pm UK time. Applicants will be notified in early January.

The project has a limited fund designed to enable early career researchers to participate in the conference and give researchers assistance with travel costs. Details will be circulated after proposals have been selected.

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