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Seminars

Comedy and Philosophy

Organizer: Stan Benfell

Stereotypically, comedy is seen as an unserious and unrealistic genre, where, in the words of one scholar, we do not have the sense “that momentous metaphysical issues are being engaged.” In a well-... more

Peripheral Novels and the History of Capitalism

Organizer: Ericka Beckman

This seminar seeks to understand how peripheral novels periodize the history of capitalism on a global scale.  While classic theories of the novel posit an explicit relationship between this... more

Reading for Filth: Gross Methods in Literary Studies

Organizer: Omari Weekes

This seminar will consider the critical and theoretical impacts of centering the perverse and the repulsive in literary reading. We imagine these foci as queer because what may be considered taboo or... more

Representations of Class Intersectionality

Organizer: Nick Bentley

In Social Class in the 21st Century (2015), Mike Savage reframes social categorization based on the way class is parsed through lived experience. But, for as instructive as this reframing is, it also... more

Trauma and the Materiality of Care

Organizer: Jay Rajiva

This seminar examines how fictional representations of trauma deal with the problem of care (for oneself or for others) in precarious and systematically broken modes of collective existence. We are... more

Comparative Formalisms: World Literature and Race

Organizer: Nimanthi Rajasingham

What is the relationship between form, race, and world literature in its various instantiations, such as comparative, Anglophone, postcolonial, and modernist internationalism? Work by the WREC... more

The Writing of Violence in Non-Western Literature

Organizer: Mahmut Mutman

The Writing of Violence in non-Western Literature   This seminar explores the myriad connections between contemporary literature and violence across non-western landscapes (e.g. Latin America... more

The Powers of Genre in a Non-Generic World

Organizer: Marie Ostby

For all the talk of “the world” in literary studies, studies on genre and its relation to power structures and epistemology are still lacking. Much of the debate around genre has centered on... more

Boycott and Censorship: Comparative Contexts

Organizer: S. Shankar

What is the relationship between boycott and censorship? Are the two opposed, or different sides of the same coin? As papers take up these questions, they might focus on such topics as the following... more

​Animal Afterlives, Postmortem Bestiaries

Organizer: Melissa Yang

This seminar invites the morbidly curious to interrogate the myriad ways in which non-human animals and death intersect, and how animal death actively shapes human culture and intellectual inquiry in... more

Injustice, Violence, and Witnessing

Organizer: Claudia Hoffmann

In this seminar we seek to explore stories and representations of injustice and violence that probe audiences’ ethical responsibilities and complicities.  What representational strategies have... more

Selling Out Theory

Organizer: Jeffrey Di Leo

Program Committee Note: Symploke is a journal of the ACLA.  This is a guaranteed seminar that is the result of a joint agreement between the journal symploke and the ACLA.   Seminar... more

Affects of Class

Organizer: Mathies G. Aarhus

Class is a material relationship, but also a felt, embodied experience. George Orwell was perhaps the first to recognize its deeply phenomenological nature when he claimed that “the real secret of... more

The Good-Enough Reader

Organizer: Johanna Winant

Philosophy has long worried about how to respond to art. Should one be suspicious of it, learn from it, or, simply appreciate it? In literary studies, suspicious, pedagogical, and pleasurable replies... more

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