The American Comparative Literature Association 2014 Annual Meeting will be held March 20-23 at New York University.
Patrick W. Gallagher, an organizer with UAW at NYU, is organizing a panel on “Beyond Excrement: Can the Permanently Underemployed Capitalize on Overproduction?” and has issued a call for papers.
Here are the details:
There are many, many trained humanists–scholars with Ph.Ds in humanities fields from accredited departments–whose relationship to the institutions of higher learning is tenuous, marginal, or nonexistent. As many have documented–most notably Marc Bousquet, with his “excrement theory” of graduate education–the chronic overproduction of Ph.Ds means that it is simply impossible for the field to validate the work of more than a minority of humanists with a traditional tenure-track position.
The purpose of this seminar is to explore whether it is possible to acknowledge this reality and move beyond it in constructive ways that could nevertheless advance the cause of the humanities, absent the hope of tenure for the majority of scholars. Can the “capital” that we accumulate from doctoral study be invested in other fields to ends that advance the humanities in one unconventional yet vital way or another? Can or should humanities PhD programs help doctoral students find rewarding non-academic jobs? How do job market conditions shape the form and content of one’s scholarship, especially once one has become an “independent scholar” with no firm institutional affiliation? Does the widespread yet vague imperative that scholars “market” themselves influence the form and content of scholarship in notable or in any sense interesting ways?
Essays on personal or professional experiences, as well as analytic papers on the politics of higher education, or studies of literature and criticism that illustrate the impact of job market conditions on scholarship, are all equally welcome. Proposals are encouraged to be as optimistic as possible.
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