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Annual Conference 2024 | Literary Value: Artistic, Academic and Critical Practices

Jul 03, 2024 - Jul 05, 2024

Organised by Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies".

The website of the annual conference can be found here.

Please register by 30 June 2024: literary-value@temporal-communities.de 

The Annual Conference 2024 of the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" investigates practices, contexts and agents of li­terary evaluation. The assignment of value to texts and artworks within the cultural sphere, the academic world and on the global market is deeply entangled with the dynamics of power and gatekeeping, inclusion and exclusion. As such, notions about literature and literary value are subject to continuous explicit or implicit negotiation, challenge and subversion. The three conference sections "Artistic Practices", "Academic Practices" and "Critical Practices" aim to develop a praxeological perspective on the various ways in which literary value is produced and questioned within the respective fields.

Section I: Artistic Practices

This section explores valuation practices that emerge from within the processes of artistic production and distribution, focusing specifically on literary infrastructures. It examines how systems of funding and publishing, including creative writing programmes, as well as the practice and theory of literary translation construct certain ideas of literary value and literariness. At the same time, artist interventions inquire into the production and negotiation of literary value in practice-based and performative ways. The section sets a special focus on the distribution of power in practices of valuation and the resulting power relations within literary infrastructures.

Section II: Academic Practices

Perhaps the most crucial underlying practice by which literary scholarship values and evaluates texts is ‘close reading’. Surprisingly, this value practice has been little theorised and remains a fetishised concept in scholarship, criticism and beyond, often echoing its alleged peak in New Criticism. The panels of this section thus look at how this hermeneutic and didactic technique has spread to almost all humanities disciplines in the 20th century. They will develop a value-praxeological understanding of close reading and discuss its ideological and transdisciplinary transformations, especially regarding the global circulation of this practice. As a practical pendant, two Digital Humanities Workshops on metrics research and on digital editing will investigate value praxeologies via a hands-on process.

Section III: Critical Practices

Taking the hypothesis that practices of public reception such as reviewing are grounded in specific notions of literature, authorship and aesthetic value, this section focuses on two key developments: the latest change in practices of reception and their relation to economic relations of power, and conflicts of valuation as they emerge from the (in)transparent criteria of valuation practices and the (im)possibility to differentiate between aesthetic and political value judgments in public reception. Both focal points consider developments of the last few decades but understand them as inspirations for discussing the history of practices of the public reception of literature in general.

The full programme can be found here.