Call For Papers : ‘Attention and Distraction’, deadline extended until 15 February

We’re very pleased to announce Cambridge University’s annual student-organised graduate conference on literature before 1750, to be held on Friday, April 20, 2018.

Our conference theme, ‘Attention and Distraction’, draws on recent work in the history of reading and cognition to ask what it means to ‘attend’ to a text, from the medieval period to the dawn of the Enlightenment. Panels will be interdisciplinary, bringing together scholars across fields to discuss topics including (but not limited to) the attention economy, readerly distraction and boredom, prayer and concentration, popular entertainment, and ‘information overload’ before and after the advent of print.

Proposals are invited from MA students, PhD students, and recent graduates for papers on the theme. Proposals are due Thursday, 15 February, 2018. They should include a title, brief abstract (200 words), and a short biography including your university and department affiliation. Speakers will present for 15 minutes, with time for questions at the end.

Please direct proposals and questions to For more information, please visit our website at