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Experiencing the Past: Nation, History, and Memory

Organizer: José Luis Venegas

Ernest Renan wrote in 1882: “A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Only two things constitute this soul. One is the past, the other is the present.” This romantic perception has long been... more

Sixth Annual Seminar on African Language Literature

Organizer: Wendy Belcher

While African literature in colonial languages remains the subject of most Africanist scholarship in the United States and Europe, the vast majority of African texts are in African languages. Indeed... more

Language Dislodged

Organizer: Dominik Zechner

“I could conceive of another Abraham,” Kafka writes in a letter to a friend, “who was prepared to satisfy the demand for a sacrifice immediately, with the promptness of a waiter, but was unable to... more

Literature and Surveillance

Organizer: Keegan Finberg

Influenced by recent work in cultural studies such as Jackie Wang’s analysis of algorithmic policing in Carceral Capitalism and Simone Browne’s research on counter-surveillance (or “sousveillance”)... more

Transnational Mappings of (Post)Socialism

Organizer: Claudia Sadowski-Smith

This panel examines cultural productions that participate in the growing comparative engagement with state socialism and its aftermath in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, and that are sometimes... more

Cli Fi and Beyond

Organizer: Brooke Stanley

Are novels good at representing climate change? What about other literary genres? What about subgenres within the novel? Amitav Ghosh made a splash in 2016 with The Great Derangement, in which he... more

Intersections between Nativism and Cosmopolitanism

Organizer: Christina Kkona

Like pharmakon, the term “nativism” includes both the poison and its remedy. It designates 1) essentialist understandings of the world, such as racist ideologies, as well as 2) practices of... more

The Many Lives of Metaphor

Organizer: Tom Eyers

For all the talk of a revival of formalism in literary studies, it is still rare to find contemporary, theoretically sophisticated criticism that engages in depth with a particular literary device in... more

Unthinking Affect: Blackness, Incapacity, Negativity

Organizer: Tyrone S. Palmer

“... the slave occupies the position of the unthought. So what does it mean to try to bring that position into view without making it a locus of positive value, or without trying to fill in the void... more

Violence: Of the Idiom

Organizer: Tyler M. Williams

Jacques Derrida first hardened the common notion of “idiom” into a rigorous concept. No longer referring to mere peculiarities of a language or its expressions, for Derrida the idiom now names... more

The Short Form

Organizer: Paloma Duong

This seminar would convene inquiries about the short form across media and genres: stories, chronicles, aphorisms, poems, blog posts, tweets, songs, snapshots and more. We are particularly interested... more

Aesthetic Afterlives

Organizer: Robert Lehman

Beginning perhaps with the 1994 publication of George Levine’s edited collection Aesthetics and Ideology, the last few decades have seen literary critics returning to matters of pleasure, of the... more

Poetry and Urban Transformation

Organizer: Davy Knittle

How does poetry model, resist and press against the material transformation of cities and urban regions? How do poems engage with urban change as it shapes the movement of people, commodities, and... more

Race and the Psychoanalytic Clinic

Organizer: Linette Park

Psychoanalytic theory continues to be a powerfully productive discourse for queer theory, critical race theory, Asian-American studies, and Black studies. Queer theorists, for example, have located... more

The Faces of Depression in Literature

Organizer: Josefa Ros Velasco

THE FACES OF DEPRESSION IN LITERATURE   Organizer: Prof. Dr. Josefa Ros Velasco (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University) more

Linguistic (Re)Turns

Organizer: Luke Mueller

One might argue that the study of literature and culture in the 20th and 21st centuries is inseparable from its turns to language. Following I.A. Richards’s turn to Bertrand Russell, De Man’s to... more