CFP: The Subject of Criticism (edited collection 1/15/17)
The Subject of Criticism
We are told that the humanities are suffering a downturn. Even as critical thinking, analysis, and compassionate assessment—the backbones of the humanities education—are in high demand now more than ever, the world of the academy outside of science and technology continues to experience cuts, downsizing, and general devaluation. Digital Humanities has been one proposed remedy, yet their increasing popularity has paradoxical implications for the humanities at large: rather than challenging the scientistic epistemology, they perpetuate it by subjecting the arts to the empiricist’s analytical toolkit.
This critical collection is one move toward regeneration that does not attempt to redress the arts and humanities, but rather strives to revitalize them in their acute responsiveness to the social conditions that shape our lives. In particular, we are concerned with re-injecting subjective experience into academic and critical writing about the arts, since it is here that such writing has both its locus and its effect. Our gambit is that insisting that academic and critical writers inhabit, avow, and reveal their “I” will do far more to re-energize the humanities than further inhibiting the place of lived experience in critical writing.
We seek authors who will write both from within their particular area of specialization—whether in literature, philosophy, history, the arts, or other fields in the humanities—and from within their own personal story. Most broadly, we are looking for the narratives that are both originary to, and that stem from, the critical experience: to bring together categories that tend to be held apart (the personal and the professional, the historical and the topical, the popular and the academic), to make manifest the stories that are so often repressed by academic and critical writing, and to reveal the urgency of our own personal investments in the humanities.
Possible forms of narrative might include:
- A personal story and how it has influenced or intertwines with scholarly or critical subject of choice
- A story of an encounter with a subject of critical inquiry: what it was like to read a particular text, view a particular work of art at a particular time, work on a particular historical problem, etc.
- An experience teaching a particular text, subject, or cultural object
- A narrative about why a seemingly obscure academic subject is relevant to one’s own life and contemporary life more broadly
- A comparison between a personal event or story and a work of literature, art, historical writing, etc
- A comparative assessment of “high” and “low/popular” forms of particular personal and scholarly investment (for example, “Haiku and Twitter”)
- A theoretical reflection on the state of criticism or the humanities today