Literary Criticism in Action, Part 1 (PhD seminar 2 ECTS)

The Cultural Politics of Critique: New Methodologies for Literary and Cultural Studies. With Michael Lundblad

This is the first seminar in a new series engaging PhD fellows in literary and cultural studies. Upcoming speakers include Rita Felski (University of Virginia; Editor of New Literary History) and Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo). Organizer: Tina Skouen

Registration deadline (by email to tina.skouen@ilos.uio.no): 15 Sept

Submission of short paper (2–3 pages): 2 Oct

Rita Felski has recently joined others in literary and cultural studies who have called into question what they see as “suspicious” or even “paranoid” forms of reading practices in the academy. Various alternatives that have been proposed include “postcritical” reading (Felski), “reparative” reading (Sedgwick), and “surface” reading (Best and Marcus), but questions remain about the relationship between these “critiques of critique” and the forms of cultural politics that continue to dominate literary and cultural studies today. This seminar will highlight animality studies and queer theory as contemporary fields that often engage in forms of politically oriented critique that have been criticized by Felski and others. PhD fellows will have an opportunity to discuss these cutting-edge fields and debates while also thinking critically about their own methods for scholarly research and writing.

Michael Lundblad will first give a talk on “The Future of Reading: Animality, Illness, and the Politics of Critique.” This will be followed by a discussion based on the participants’ written responses.When registering for this seminar you will receive the reading material specified below for use with your written response and active participation in class. In your written assignment you should engage with questions relating to your own PhD project, indicating how the ongoing debates relate to your own methodological assumptions and practices. How persuasive do you find the critiques of critique in the readings for this seminar? To what extent do these readings challenge or confirm the ways in which you are writing your dissertation? Does the material make you think differently about your own methodology and/or use of theory?

Required readings

  • Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or You’re so Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You,” in Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Duke University Press, 2003), 123-51.
  • Elizabeth S. Anker and Rita Felski, “Introduction,” in Critique and Postcritique, ed. Anker and Felski (Duke University Press, 2017), 1-28.
  • Rita Felski, “Introduction,” in The Limits of Critique (University of Chicago Press, 2015), 1-13.
  • Robyn Wiegman, “Eve’s Triangles, or Queer Studies beside Itself,” differences 26.1 (2015): 48-73 [part of a special issue on “Queer Theory without Antinormativity”].
  • Jack Halberstam, “Straight Eye for the Queer Theorist—A Review of ‘Queer Theory Without Antinormativity,’” Bully Bloggers, 12 Sept., 2015 https://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/straight-eye-for-the-queer-theorist-a-review-of-queer-theory-without-antinormativity-by-jack-halberstam/

Michael Lundblad is Professor of English-Language Literature in the Department of Literature, Area Studies, and European Languages at the University of Oslo. He is the author of The Birth of a Jungle: Animality in Progressive-Era U.S. Literature and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013), the co-editor, with Marianne DeKoven, of Species Matters: Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory (Columbia University Press, 2012), and the editor of Animalities: Literary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Published May 24, 2017 9:33 AM - Last modified Aug. 31, 2017 10:54 PM