CFP: ACLA-Seminar 2017: Materiality and Affect of Reading

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA (Utrecht, July 6-9 2017)
contact email: 

Proposed Seminar for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) in Utrecht, The Netherlands (July 6-9, 2017)


Luisa Banki, University of Wuppertal (

Franziska Humphreys, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (


Materiality and Affect of Reading

Departing from a basic understanding of reading as a praxis of materiality and affect, this seminar seeks to (re-)investigate central concepts of contemporary literary criticism: What is reading? Where and what are, if at all, the subject and object of reading today? How can we conceive of their emergence and encounter? Where is the locus of affect? What is its relation to cognition?

In order to investigate these and related questions, we propose to frame our investigations by the overarching question of the possibility of an ontology of literature. While recent adaptations of the movement of speculative realism to literary criticism, for instance, do not hide their indebtedness to post-structuralism (and its philosophical and philological precursors), they do aim at a re-ontologization of aesthetic disciplines that ultimately puts them at odds. We would like to examine this uneasy relation of progression, supersession, contradiction and adaptation between post-structuralism and neo-ontologizing movements (speculative realism, accelerationism etc.) and to trace it in particular through the lens of their respective conceptions of reading.

Possible topics include:

  • Philosophy and philology
  • Philology and psychoanalysis
  • Speculative poetics
  • Reading as invention
  • From desire to affect
  • Reading images and pictures

Interested scholars from all levels of their academic career are invited to submit a proposal for a presentation of max. 20 minutes as well as a short biographical sketch.


Submissions must be made through the ACLA portal ( during the submission period (Sept. 1 – Sept. 23). Seminar organizers will review all submitted papers and propose their rosters to the ACLA by Sept. 30.  The ACLA Program Committee will review all submitted seminars for consideration for inclusion in the program in October.

For more information on the ACLA Annual Meeting, see