CFP: Standards & Norms of Literary Studies (11/15/2010, Journal of Literary Theory 1:2011)

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The Journal of Literary Theory (JLT) invites contributions for Vol. 5, No. 1, 2011

Standards & Norms of Literary Studies

In literary studies and neighboring fields, the principle of ‘anything goes’ seems still to be predominant. There are no fixed guidelines when it comes to theories and methods of these disciplines, to their aims and objects. This is especially prevailing in certain institutional circumstances, where e. g. the German term ‘Literaturwissenschaft’ prompts a close connection to the sciences when it comes to objectivity and applicability. But even when the tension between literary criticism and more scientific forms of literary research is set aside, there still remains a lot of variety in judging the output of literary studies. What seems to be an interesting and innovative article to some might be merely ‘popular’ or ‘journalistic’ writing to others. What some regard as the solid advancements of research is no more than a repetitive application of out-dated methods to others. Whether there are any common standards or norms in the broad field of literary studies, despite or because of this variety, is the topic of this special issue of JLT.

Areas in which such standards are of importance are e.g. handbooks and introductions, curricula and examination regulations, as well as all aspects of rating and ranking scholarly efforts (such as review processes, career decisions and funding proposals).

Contributions to this issue of JLT should address these topics in relation to one of the following aspects:

1. Systematic Reflection: What could be standards of the discipline? What could a meaningful typology of standards look like and what differentiations should be accounted for (e. g. explicit vs. implicit standards)? What types of standards are to be expected in which areas of literary studies?

2. Inventory: What standards are there effectively? Fields for analysis here might be: interpretation and analysis of literary texts; scholarly debates and controversies; criteria in evaluation; etc.

3. Normative Aspects: What standards should the discipline agree upon? Or: Why should literary studies avoid settling for fixed standards?

Contributions to these questions can also be integrated into research that adopts a perspective of sociology of science (What are the presuppositions for discussions about standards within a discipline?) or philosophy and theory of science (How is the validity of standards established? Where are their sources? How can the logical structure of standards be determined?).

Contributions should not exceed 50,000 characters in length and have to be submitted until November 15th 2010. JLT accepts articles in German and English.
Please submit your contribution electronically to

JLT also still accepts contributions for the following issues:

No. 1 2010: Literary Studies and Linguistics (May 15th 2010)

No. 2 2010: Popular Culture (July 15th 2010)

For further information about JLT and to view the submission guidelines please visit or contact the editorial office at

Christina Riesenweber

Assistant Editor
JLT - Journal of Literary Theory
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Seminar für Deutsche Philologie
Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3
37073 Göttingen

0049 - (0)551 - 39 - 9852

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