Executive Committee:

Allison Margaret Bigelow, Jan. 2023 (2021-2023 chair)
David Alff, Jan. 2024 (2021-2022 secretary)
Eugenia Zuroski, Jan. 2025
Rachael Scarborough King, Jan. 2026

CFP MLA 24 — New Methods in 18th-Century Comparative and Cross-Cultural Reading

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    David Alff

    It has been nearly 20 years since Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak called, in Death of a Discipline (2005), for a radical reorientation of comparative literature’s methods for the 21st century. Observing the institutional shift from Area Studies to Cultural and Ethnic Studies, Spivak urged comparatists to reimagine the political imperatives of the discipline in an age inflected “by the demands of liberal multiculturalism.” A generation later, we find ourselves working in a different academy—one challenged by new movements for collective and restorative justice, by calls for divestment and decolonization, by assaults on basic forms of academic freedom, and by the unpredictable material working conditions brought by global pandemics, climate change, and expanding economic precarity. This panel invites reflections by scholars working in 18th-century comparative literature and cultural studies on the kinds of methods, orientations, literacies, and forms of relation these fields might prioritize now, and to what political and epistemological purposes. What futures are imaginable through new comparatist methods, and what scholarly practices might get us there?

    200-word abstract and brief CV to zuroski@mcmaster.ca and sbenharr@umd.edu by March 15, 2023.Description & Requirements: We invite submissions on new methods, orientations, literacies, and forms of relation in 18th-century comparative literature and cultural studies. How might these approaches respond to current political imperatives? Please send a 200-word abstract and brief CV.

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