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Too Much Left To Say? Lit Crit as Surplus (NeMLA)

Boston
Organization: NeMLA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: Gender & Sexuality, Literary Theory, 20th & 21st Century, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Cultural Studies
Event Date: 2024-03-07 to 2024-03-10 Abstract Due: 2023-09-30

This roundtable asks us to grapple with the materially narrowing potentials of the humanities field and the surplus of criticism that continues to be produced seemingly in spite of it. In this “meta-method” roundtable, we wish to explore the ways that the act of writing criticism in our intellectual landscape often feels excessive–excessively argumentative, excessively indulgent, excessively nostalgic. At the same time, the field itself often feels “overstuffed,” particularly for scholars working in historical periods. Yet criticism continues to be produced. In a critical landscape marked by simultaneous surfeit and scarcity, how do we ethically, aesthetically, and intellectually produce “the necessary new” in a field that constantly is drawing ire for being excessive and old–even dangerously so? Or, if “newness” and “necessity” are no longer qualities that save us from surplus, what other aesthetic qualities do we value in and about criticism? Have the self-reflexive modes that have emerged (the post-critical, fugitive, undisciplined, personal) exceeded or limited the field’s potential?


We also welcome considerations that discuss the “infrastructure” of literary criticism: the range of platforms, modes of circulation, and tiers of criticism available to the twenty-first-century critic, as well as its expansive formal and generic possibilities.

We particularly value contributions from early-career scholars. Please submit a 200-300-word abstract and short bio to tjgiven@iu.edu and tscherry@iu.edu through September 30.

tscherry@iu.edu

Laura Tscherry