Reading and Writing in the 21st Century Literary Studies Classroom: Theory and Practice
The University of Queensland
6-8 July 2017
Dr David Aldridge, Oxford Brookes University
Dr Tully Barnett, Flinders University
Professor Helen Sword, University of Auckland
This broad-ranging conference will assume good reading and its concomitant good writing to be essential both to the mastery of disciplinary content and to the transformative potential of an education in literary studies. To that end we seek papers that consider reading and writing from a range of perspectives, practical and theoretical. What are the challenges, difficulties, and pleasures for students and teachers? What strategies and techniques encourage timely compliance with course reading requirements and foster critically engaged, well-argued responses? What critical theories model critique in the twenty-first-century classroom, and what might be, as Rita Felski has recently asked, the limits of that critique? Reading that is active and thus potentially critical, ethical, creative, hospitable, transformative—and pleasurable—may be intrinsic to disciplinary knowledge, but how do we help students acquire the skills needed to de-code complex texts and respond to them?
And what effects are twenty-first-century technologies/modes of knowledge production and dissemination having on how as well as what students do and don’t read? What are the intersections and tensions between digital and traditional ways of reading and writing? Does constant hyperlinking, as Naomi Baron, Nicholas Carr and others have suggested, undermine the brain’s capacity to focus in order to process long-form text? How might we foster what neuroscientist and literacy researcher Maryanne Wolf has termed bi-literacy, the capacity to shift between, and indeed to distinguish between, two kinds of activities: the efficient reading-for-information that involves scanning, clicking, linking and the “slow and meditative possession of a book” literary scholar and essayist Sven Birkerts has termed “deep reading”? What platforms do your students use for reading and writing? In what ways is technology changing student drafting, reviewing, and response to feedback?
Finally, what texts and what kinds of texts and what theories of reading and writing are core in an increasingly marketised university in which non-vocational degrees are increasingly marginalised? And how might an education that fosters an imaginative, thoughtful, hospitable, adaptable citizenry, give students an edge in a job market in crisis?
Some starting points:
Please send 250-word proposals for papers, panels, or workshops by 3 February 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Reading and Writing CFP.” For general queries please contact email@example.com.