Epistemic Justice in Literary Studies (ACLA Panel)

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Victoria Zurita and Chen Bar-Itzhak, Stanford University
contact email: 

This panel addresses epistemic inequality in literary studies: the categories, theories and methods through which we read and conceptualize literature are still determined at the center of global academic production, while peripheral epistemologies often do not circulate beyond national borders and therefore do not take part in the shaping of the discipline.

We believe that attempts to rethink literary studies from outside the Euro-American scholarly traditions should be guided by a spirit of epistemic justice, defined by philosopher Miranda Fricker as equal participation in hermeneutic resources and a fair distribution of epistemic trust. Given the disparities in capital shaping the relations between departments, universities, languages, and scholarly traditions across the globe, we ask: What modes of conceptualization, theorization and reading are conducive to foster epistemic justice? What institutional conditions and practices are necessary to redress epistemic inequality in literary studies?

We invite papers addressing the need to revise the fundamental conceptual, theoretical, and methodological assumptions of literary studies towards a more epistemically just discipline. Possible themes include:

- Literary theory and methodologies beyond the dominant Euro-American traditions and their epistemic affordances- Ways of reading that promote epistemic justice
- The problematics of universalizing models based on the literatures of the "center" (for example, conceptions of genres, periods and literary devices)

- The role of institutions in creating and maintaining epistemic inequality
- The circulation and failed circulation of literary theory and methodologies and models between centers and peripheries

 We particularly welcome submissions from scholars in regions and fields that are underrepresented in current literary studies debates. Please submit your paper through the ACLA website here by October 31. For questions, contact us at chenbar@stanford.edu , vzuritap@stanford.edu