Reading Publics and the Power of Literature



    Studying the reading public is a pressing task at a time when printed matter ceases to be the unrivalled foundation of our reading culture while the public sphere is undergoing its perhaps gravest transformation since the invention of the printing press. Drawing on Jürgen Habermas’s notion that readership is a key constituent of the public sphere, this workshop sets out to explore the power that literature has in creating and sustaining that institutional space on which democratic societies crucially depend. Against this backdrop, literature’s power needs to be discussed in at least three critical ways: as a means of resistance against political and economic coercion; as a social institution with close ties to both the market and the public sphere; and as a world-making agent that is in and of itself capable of hegemonic consolidation.

    Topics of interest for this workshop:
    • engaged literature (genres, forms, styles, modes of address)
    • what and how does that public read?
    • historical and institutional dimensions
    • political, economic and medial challenges
    • the public sphere and the literary field
    • pluralized reading publics/counterpublics, scopes and sizes of reading publics
    • text and paratext, circulation of literary texts

    Originele taal-2English
    StatusPublished - 2018
    EvenementAnnual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association - University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    Duur: 29-mrt-20181-apr-2018


    WorkshopAnnual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association
    Land/RegioUnited States
    StadLos Angeles

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