"Daddy, What did you Do in the Culture Wars?": Academia and Public Life - NeMLA 2016

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Northeastern Modern Language Association - Hartford CT, March 17-20, 1016

It's been almost thirty years since Allan Bloom made his clarion call to classicism within the American academy with the publication of The Closing of the American Mind. For as moribund as the humanities have supposedly been (according to positivist scientists, economics majors, and higher education administrators) the "Culture Wars" have surely blazed a bright path across the consciousness of any literature, history, philosophy, theology or cultural studies major. Columnists from William Safire to David Brooks have bemoaned the supposed death of the humanities (while conveniently ignoring how supply-side economics has had a hearty role in that) identifying a "post-modern bogeyman" as being responsible for the murder. In an era of limitless adjuncts, directionless theory, and little respect for the humanities, where does the issue of the "culture wars" stand now? In an era of trigger warnings, blogs like Thought Catalog and BuzzFeed dubiously employ the privilege-aware disciplinary jargon of cultural studies while universities cut classes and limit the number of tenure track appointments. Whither do the culture wars rage when the university is closed for business?

We welcome any presentation related to the "culture wars," whether it relates to the issue of pedagogy, "theory," public policy, the status of "public intellectuals," the role of the humanities in the modern university, the corporatization of higher education, the role of religion in political life, the split between "liberals" and "conservatives", and individual thinkers involved with this issue (including but not limited to Harold Bloom, Stanley Fish, Allan Bloom, Alan Sokal, Michael Bérubé, David Horowitz, George Will and so on). In an era with limited humanities enrollment, do the culture wars still rage, or is there an armistice? And what does it mean either way? We welcome short presentation on any issue related to the culture wars (from the mid-80s through today) in any of the humanities.

Send 300-word abstracts to Ed Simon (ens310@lehigh.edu) and Wade Linebaugh (wal209@lehigh.edu) by September 30th, 2015. Additional information and NeMLA CFP available at https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/cfp.html