Critical Mass: New Doors In Critical Theory -- NeMLA 2018

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Works of literature can be viewed from many angles or schools of critical thought and yield "meaning" dependent on through what school you choose to critique a text. Marjorie Garber closes her book The Use and Abuse of Literature stating

Literary interpretation, like literature, does not seek answers or closure. A multiplicity of persuasive and well-argued "meanings" does not mean the death or loss of meaning, but rather the living presence of the literary work in culture, society, and the individual creative imagination. To say that closure is impossible is to acknowledge the richness and fecundity of both the reading and the writing process.

One image Garber uses to represent the concept visually is "a vista that stretches out between rows of trees into the infinite distance." Change your stance or theory, and your view is altered, making views or interpretations relative to your position (Einstein or mirrored disco balls). Critical schools have come, a few have gone, into the academic fold with different ideology and goals, and been used to shed new light on texts. The list of accepted schools is extensive indeed, but acceptance is a relative term—each critical school has its "critics". The goal of this roundtable is to hear from less accepted, aspiring, or even new styles or schools of critical theory as well as critiques of established schools. Contributions ranging from the specific (e.g., a particular literary or critical text) to the general as well as historical are sought. The roundtable format will allow time for conversation and debate between participants and the audience which especially suits such a nested topic.

Please submit abstract proposals of no more than 250 words by September 30, 2017, using the NeMLA link: