'Absorption and Contemporary Literary Scholarship' (with Dr Karen Schaller)

Charnock, Ruth and Schaller, Karen (2018) 'Absorption and Contemporary Literary Scholarship' (with Dr Karen Schaller). In: BACLS Biennial Conference, 10-12th July 2018, Loughborough.

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Contemporary literary scholarship is increasingly preoccupied with feeling, both as an object of interest, and a question of how and why we write the ways we do. To ask ’what happens now’ in contemporary literary studies is also to ask ’and how will we write it? how might it feel?’. In this paper we argue for the importance of a dialogue about absorption in any question of literary scholarship now. What all of our contemporary stories about literary practice engage with (sometimes anxiously, sometimes not) are feelings, ideas, and practices of absorption. Sedgwick, Doyle and Halberstam have shown how the notion of an absorbed reader has stood counter to dominant critical strategies which disavow their own absorptions in particular affects. This disavowal, we will argue, has also shaped the academy’s sense of what permissible, legible and rewarded literary scholarship looks like: debates about what, and how, we research, or what and how we teach, are also debates about the proximities and orientations that absorption threatens. Absorption is not just a question of reading, then, but also the conditions in which that happens. Indeed diminished opportunities to absorb rather than be absorbed by our institutions threaten the very possibility of reading and teaching literature. In this collaborative paper we show how arguments about absorption are at work in debates about the work of the literature researcher and teacher, and we examine figures of absorption (absorbed readers and the self-absorbed) to show how a politics of absorption conditions our methods, our objects, and our lived experiences as literature scholars.

Keywords:absorption, affect, literary studies, academia, gender
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
L Social studies > L216 Feminism
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:34390
Deposited On:28 Nov 2018 12:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page