Nexus Grad Conference Roundtable "From Interrogation and Critique to Dreaming and Doing: Postcritical Futures in Literary Studies"

deadline for submissions: 
February 21, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Tennessee
contact email: 

In 2004, Bruno Latour published his seminal essay “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam: Turning from Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” In the nearly twenty years following, there have been several literary scholars who have ruminated on this topic. We have since seen a rise of close reading (Heather Love, Sharon Marcus, S. Best) methodologies and theoretical frames regarding the usefulness (Rita Felski, 2008 and Sara Ahmed) of literature and literary studies. Yet, we still seem to be asking if what we do matters.

Considering this year’s conference theme “Community and Collaboration” this roundtable discussion seeks those who are interested in finding new ways to do literary studies for, in, and around their communities both within and beyond the Ivory Tower. This roundtable asks, “What is the community that we are most interested in reaching?” and “What limitations are in place within the academic frameworks we work that keep us from producing the kind of scholarship and intellectual relationships that we know would have lasting impact?” and “How can we, especially graduate student and contingent faculty, effectively build bridges to the communities we left behind or hope to grow into?”

We need to discuss well-thought suggestions and examples for the kind of scholarship one might be able to engage with and produce because of these conversations that have yet to turn toward material reality within literary scholarship. What if, instead of critique, scholars turned toward new to them methods of inquiry and, more importantly, new scholarly frameworks and forms of writing about those inquiries? What new conversations and texts might be open to literary studies? What possibility does a postcritical scholarship offer literary studies PhDs both inside and beyond the academy?

Please send a 250-300 word abstract and a short bio to vlane1@vols.utk.eduno later than Feb 21. Final selections will be made no later than Feb 25.

This conference is FREE and ONLINE March 4-6.