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

MLA 2023 CFP — Race, Temporality, and Periodization: Rethinking 18c Studies

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    David Alff

    Race, Temporality, and Periodization: Rethinking 18th-Century Studies (Roundtable) The “eighteenth century” named and analyzed by eighteenth-century studies has proven pliable in the figuration of the “long eighteenth century.” But to what extent does the persistent attachment to this historic period—even an elongated version of it—preclude certain critical approaches to the materials we study? Is “the eighteenth century,” as Katherine Binhammer argues, “a colonizing temporality” anathema to Indigenous ways of knowing? Does it perpetuate a fiction of historical closure that obscures continuities between the past and the present? By definition a Eurocentric measure of historical time, is “the eighteenth century” also a white formation that reproduces racialized relations in the historical measure of time and space? Does “the eighteenth century” name something that still invites inquiry and scrutiny, and to what extent might we continue to turn it over to find new critical purchase? Is there a “short eighteenth century,” an “indefinite eighteenth century”? This roundtable considers the theoretical and political work performed by these various ways of periodizing and imagines what might be made possible in our field by critical temporalities beyond enumerated “centuries.” 10-minute presentations on the politics of historical periodization and how “the eighteenth century” might be approached via different models of temporality. 200 word abstract & brief CV to zuroski@mcmaster.ca and rking@english.ucsb.edu by March 15 2022.

    This topic was also posted in: LLC Restoration and Early-18th-Century English.
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