Collaborative Intellectual Labor Today

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association)
contact email: 

In recent decades, the practice of collaborative intellectual labor has had an unexpected resurgence, both among writers and artists, and within scholarly and academic spaces. Drawing on a rich history of intellectual, activist, and artistic practices of collaboration, new collectives and research groups have embraced collaborative forms of knowledge production to challenge the individualization of intellectual labor and the demands of the neoliberal episteme. Although the objectives and critical approaches are as varied as the cultural, linguistic, and disciplinary attachments of their members, today’s collectives aim to offer alternatives to the hierarchical division of labor within academia while experimenting with new modes of artistic or political engagement.

Thus defined, collective labor seems to be conducive to interdisciplinarity, non-hierarchical knowledge, and non-monetizable labor. And yet, it can also face decisive challenges, from the potential erasure of identity affiliations and attachments to the reproduction, albeit in different forms, of the hegemony of Western forms of knowledge. Starting from these premises, this seminar seeks contributions that explore contemporary examples of collective intellectual labor, their opportunities, and their challenges. We are particularly interested in collaborative practices originating from or engaging with non-Anglophone and non-Western spaces, and in works that challenge individualized and heteronormative modes of knowledge production. In pursuing these questions, we hope to better understand how collective labor relates to or is able to defy the structures of racial capitalism, as well as the extent to which it can be foundational to emancipatory politics.

Topics of inquiry might include:

-       Creative/artistic collective practices

-       Comparative approaches to collective literary works

-       Political activism and anti-racism

-       Feminist and queer collectives

-       Theories of collective labor and their historical genealogies

-       Interdisciplinary approaches in literary studies and the digital humanities

-       Academic labor and casualization

-       Creative commons and accessible knowledge

-       Cultural translation and internationalist networks

-       Politics of identity and intersectionality

-       Race, gender, and class formations within and beyond collaborative knowledge


To submit an abstract (between October 1st and October 31st), please visit the ACLA website: