Panel: English Studies in Ruins?: The Future Shape of English Studies in a Changing Academic Climate

deadline for submissions: 
December 16, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
English: Shared Futures
contact email:

A Call for Papers from PhD candidates, early career researchers and postdoctoral scholars


English: Shared Futures, A Major Conference Across the Discipline

Newcastle Civic Centre, Wednesday 5th – Friday 7th July, 2017


Panel: English Studies in Ruins?: The Future Shape of English Studies in a Changing Academic Climate

What does the future hold for the survival of English Studies, within and beyond the academy? And what potential does the discipline have to continue to flourish within an increasingly fast-paced academic market? Addressing the trials facing the discipline in today’s academic climate, this panel aims to open up a space for productive interdisciplinary and cross-period debate regarding the future of English Studies. Potential papers may address such issues as the drawing of disciplinary boundaries – considering what ‘English Studies’ has and will include and exclude, the problematic history of self-definition within the discipline, the effects of ‘measurable values and outputs’ on English as an academic subject, and even whether there is a place for cross-period scholarship in English Studies amidst the rise of historicism as a ‘turn away’ from theory. Other proposed themes may include but are by no means limited to:

  • The future of English Studies in an age of globalization
  • What challenges have faced the subject in the past, and how might these help us address those it faces now?
  • The changing place/status of English Studies within the Humanities
  • The ‘co-option’ of English into other disciplines as either adaptation or demise
  • Possibilities/strategies for challenging the focus on period-based study/research
  • How English Studies has, and can, address wider audiences
  • The relationship between English Studies and consumer culture/commodification
  • English Studies beyond the academy
  • English Studies and public responsibility – diversity, inclusion and accessibility
  • What forms of knowledge English Studies produces? How are these measurable/’useful’?
  • Whether the discipline should/can/must resist instrumentalist forms of knowledge
  • The role of open access publishing and other media platforms in shaping its future
  • Digital Humanities and English Studies


This list is by no means exhaustive and we welcome papers to interpret the panel theme from a variety of different and unique perspectives and standpoints, across different disciplines, periods and career trajectories. Ultimately this is an invaluable opportunity for early career academics and postgraduates to come together and discuss the outlook for English Studies in a meaningful way that may well help shape its future possibilities and prospects.

Please send 250-word abstracts to Dr Natalie Jones at by Friday 16 December 2016.