The Forbidden

What is considered illegal, unethical, subversive, sinful, or politically incorrect? What aren’t we allowed to do, say, or think? Which spaces are closed to us? How have we infiltrated these spaces and crossed these lines? Who are we crossing? Can we assume that “the forbidden” is indeed an objective or stable category, or can we discuss the line between the acceptable/permissible/moral and the transgressive/unethical/deviant as being contingent on other factors?

Because so many standards, codes, traditions, and conventions must be renegotiated, from ancient times to the digital age, such questions are especially difficult to answer. Both online and offline, new boundaries are simultaneously being set, tested, and crossed. Especially in this time of profound change, very little is off limits. At the same time, these once-forbidden sites, practices, and behaviours constitute territory that authorities are struggling to control and monitor even as it fends them off.

While all literatures explore the forbidden, this Symposium seeks to investigate its implications specifically for the literatures, cultures, and perspectives of the Asia-Pacific region seen by scholars on and in the region. It invites research on impropriety in all its forms, from mischief and rule-breaking to crime, sin, and subversion. It also celebrates writing itself as a dangerous or deadly habit, a form of deviant behavior, infiltration, or transgression.

Paper topics include but are not limited to:

  • Subversive/transgressive literature and misreading
  • Crime narratives: detective fiction, noir, psychological thrillers, postmodern mystery, true crime
  • Forbidden love: extramarital affairs, incest, paedophilia, man/machine/vampire/zombie/beast
  • Erotica/Porn studies
  • Abjection, taboo, fetish
  • Literature and the occult
  • Literature in the time of terrorism
  • Banned books and/or censorship
  • The black market: fraud, forgery, theft, piracy
  • Taboo in the academe
  • Forbidden language
  • The politically incorrect
  • Errancy and sin in literature
  • Forbidden geographies/spaces in literature
  • Science and transgression

Conference Details


November 19-21, 2015

Venue and Transportation

The symposium will take place in three universities in Manila, each with its own flavour and atmosphere. The three universities are also recognized as centers of excellence for Literature. The first day will be at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, the second day will be in De La Salle University in the heart of Manila, and the third will be at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

Registration for Paper Readers

The registration fee is 100USD/4300PHP. This covers morning snacks, lunch, and afternoon snacks for the duration of the conference and a conference kit.

Payment details will follow.

Paper proposals

Please send a 200-word abstract of your paper by email to the symposium convenors at on or before June 30, 2015. Abstracts should be in Word format and should be sent as an attachment. A registration form will be sent to those whose abstracts will be accepted.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by July 15, 2015.

Literary Readings

Literary reading sessions will be held at the end of each conference day. Please indicate in your registration form whether you are interested in participating in these sessions.

Recommended Hotel

Microtel Inn, UP-Ayala Technohub (, offers a special conference rate to participants in the symposium (USD75/night). It is located along Commonwealth Ave, Diliman, Quezon City, near two of the university conference venues. Shuttle buses will be provided between this hotel and conference venues.

Microtel is a green hotel, with rooms that overlook a triangular garden. Rooms and facilities are at par with international standards, including chiropractor-approved mattresses, cable TV, and wireless internet access. The hotel also features a restaurant with an al fresco patio, and is right next door to the UP-Ayala Technohub’s complex of restaurants. It is also close to an array of key landmarks in the area, including UP, churches, dining spots, and shopping malls.

Book through Alyssa Fagutao, subject heading your email: “LCAP16 Manila Booking.”


Lily Rose Tope, University of the Philippines
Dinah Roma, De La Salle University Manila
Danilo Francisco M. Reyes, Ateneo de Manila University

Please visit the UP DECL website to check out our call for papers. For information, write to