CFP MLA 2024 CLCS-18th Century Panels — Deadline Extended

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    Pamela Phillips

    March 20, 2023 is the deadline to apply to the CLCS-18th Century Forum\’s panels at next year’s MLA in Philadelphia.

    I. Comparative Media Histories

    Recent work in book history, bibliography, and media studies has expanded definitions of “the book” and turned attention to materiality more broadly. Eighteenth-century studies in particular has seen an interest in non-print media, queer and trans book history, speculative archives, and critical making, among other approaches. This panel seeks considerations of comparative media histories of the eighteenth century, asking how comparative, multilingual, and transnational perspectives can illuminate or reconfigure our understanding of the history of the book and materiality. What work needs to be done to continue to expand book history beyond the field’s historical focus on Anglo-American sources? What does placing “the book” in media history mean in a comparative context? This panel asks how an expanded media history can change our understanding of eighteenth-century literature and culture. The CLCS 18th-Century Forum encourages work from ECRs and is available to give feedback on paper drafts and revisions.

    Submissions on comparative media history and eighteenth-century studies. How can comparative or multilingual approaches expand definitions of “the book” and the materiality of texts? 200-word abstract and brief CV to and by March 20, 2023.

    II. New Methods in 18th-Century Comparative and Cross-Cultural Reading

    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?

    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 to and by March 20, 2023.

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