Beyond the Classroom: Imagining New Spaces for Literature on Campus

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2018
contact email: 

Short Description: This NeMLA panel invites participants to share their experiences engaging students with and through literature in spaces beyond the classroom, such as through common reading initiatives, student activities and clubs, and other co-curricular programming. It also welcomes speculative pieces proposing and evaluating possible new places in higher education for literature, literary study, and the humanities.

Full Abstract: With fewer majors and declining course enrollments, the position of literature, literary study, and the humanities within higher education seems to be eroding. Though the future of the humanities may feel bleak, the times are, to quote Sidonie Smith, “good enough”—good enough to transform how humanities-based teachers and scholars engage with their undergraduate populations. In addition to seeking to bring students back to the literary classroom, we might, with innovation in mind, also consider how and when to bring literature to the students. What opportunities currently exist on campus—beyond the classroom walls—to engage students with and through literature and literary studies? What spaces could we imagine or create? How might we, in our daily practice, make new arguments for the value of literary study to any student’s college experience in the 21st century?

This NeMLA session invites papers exploring these questions, either sharing analyses of successful co-curricular programs or imagining innovative approaches. Presentations may focus on common/summer reading initiatives, pre-orientation programs, retreats, student activities and clubs, intercession or spring break trips, and collaborations between campus offices and departments. It invites consideration of the theoretical and practical considerations and challenges involved in engaging students with literature outside of coursework; it welcomes sustained exploration of the possible benefits. Collaborative and/or interdisciplinary presentations are encouraged.

Submission Instructions: Please submit all abstracts through the NeMLA website: