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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

Media Fails

Organizer: Moira Weigel

Media mediate. Is this statement a tautology? In the past decade, scholars across the humanities have turned their attention to “media.” This turn has been animated by a number of fields: book... more

African Literature, #Metoo, and #BlackLivesMatter

Organizer: Anne Gulick

This seminar invites papers that examine what it means to teach and think about African literature in the contemporary political moment and to think through the implications of examining U.S. and... more

Can the Animal Speak?

Organizer: Kaushik Ramu

“Animals: if only they could talk!” writes Flaubert in Dictionary of Received Ideas (1913). The imagined silence of what we call the animal has founded human productions of species-difference. What... more

Posthuman Language

Organizer: Nina Begus

Some of the biggest breakthroughs of the twenty-first century in science and technology took place in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology. AI recreates the mind apart from... more

House Rules: Reading with Authorial Instructions

Organizer: Tatyana Gershkovich

In defense of Vladimir Nabokov’s efforts to control how his readers read him, Zadie Smith hailed “the house rules of a novel, the laying down of the author’s peculiar terms…This is where my pleasure... more

Book Lovers

Organizer: Angus Brown

“Everyone wants to know more about love.” – bell hooks  What do we talk about when we talk about books? For a long time, we haven’t talked about love. At least, not in a sustained and... more

Justice of Memory

Organizer: Isabel von Holt

Since Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Hayden White and others have challenged the traditional, dualistic historiographical structures of “core vs. rest” or “center vs. margin,” the canon of... more

The Rise of Global Anglophone

Organizer: Jeffrey Lawrence

This seminar addresses the emergence of "Global Anglophone Literature" as a field designation in the US academy.  In recent years, as the term has proliferated in job descriptions and book... more

Babelic Narrations: Borges, Kafka, etc

Organizer: Kate Jenckes

Jorge Luis Borges and Franz Kafka produced some of the most paradigmatic depictions of architectures of authority and the slippery materiality with which they are built. They both wrote stories that... more

The Avant-Garde and the Crisis of the Long 1970s

Organizer: Jean-Thomas Tremblay

Genealogies of the North American literary avant-gardes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have tended to rely on a pair of origin tales. An aesthetic genealogy has cast experimental aesthetic... more

Marxism and Form, Revisited

Organizer: Matthew Gannon

We have found the recent debates that pit formalism against historicism to be rather dissatisfying. This seminar holds that the way out of this false dichotomy is through Marxism. We seek to... more