NeMLA 2024 - No Critique Left Behind: Learning to Read in a Postcritique Era

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Abigail Culpepper, Andrew Clark - Brown University
contact email: 

Panel - No Critique Left Behind: Learning to Read in a Postcritique Era

Chairs: Abigail Culpepper (Brown Univeristy), Andrew P Clark (Brown University)

La nouvelle critique emerged in the 1960s to challenge traditional methods of French literary criticism. Works such as Roland Barthes’s S/Z inaugurated a new generation of scholarship, offering a radical break from mainstream academicism. But yesterday’s rebellion is today’s standard practice, and what we now call structuralism ushered in a host of new theoretical schools, each one seeking to, in its own way, make critique new. Today, we are taught to be distant and paranoid, ecocritical and psychoanalytic, learning about previous schools only to abandon them. Just as one way of reading has given way to the next, so has the death of the author set off other casualties—first the death of theory and now the death of critique. As Rita Felski and other contemporary literary critics move to inaugurate a “postcritique era,” we ask what, if anything, does postcritique leave behind and what does this new school of criticism expect from its students?

Given that literary criticism is at its core a reading practice, we would like to reflect on the trajectory of critique beyond simple intellectual history, focusing instead on literary criticism as a practice whose ever updating methodologies are the subject and object of study. Under the mantra of “No Critique Left Behind,” we invite presentations from literary scholars who find themselves caught up in the “critical surplus” left behind by postcritique. With an emphasis on reading as practice, we invite interventions that take as their starting point canonical texts of twentieth-century French and Francophone literary criticism (Barthes, Derrida, Ricœur, Genette, Glissant, among others) in order to reread, reconsider and, yes, critique the methodologies of reading established by these critics. In doing so, we hope to generate discussions around the challenges of reading across (post)critical schools.

We welcome papers related (but not limited) to the following topics:

—The material conditions of postcritique

—The afterlife of critique

—Theories of reading

—Teaching literary criticism

La nouvelle critique

—Historic debates within literary criticism

—The future of literary criticism

Abstracts must be submitted through the NeMLA portal:

  • Conference: 55th Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Convention 
  • Theme: Surplus
  • Location: Boston, MA, USA
  • Abstract Deadline for Paper Proposals: 30 September 2023
  • Conference Date: 7-10 March 2024