CFP: Materiality and Meaning in Contemporary Literary Studies

CFP: Materiality and Meaning in Contemporary Literary Studies (March 17; MLA, Vancouver, Canada; 8-11 January, 2015):


In light of the recent “materialist” and “posthermeneutic” turns, this panel interrogates the growing divide within contemporary literary studies, characteristic of a divide within the humanities more broadly, between frameworks focusing on issues of materiality (broadly conceived to include discussions of media materialities, history of the book, affect, presence, embodiment, posthermeneutics, new materialisms, futures of philology) and those focusing on questions of meaning (interpretation, representation, signification, semiotics, hermeneutics). In his book Inscription and Erasure, Roger Chartier describes a rift between frameworks emphasizing “the immateriality of works and the materiality of texts.” A similar distinction is echoed in Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s conceptualization in Production of Presence of an

oscillation during the process of reading between “meaning effects,” aspects of representation and signification, and “presence effects,” the material and affective dimensions of texts and readers’ encounters with them.

This panel seeks papers that, in effect, attempt to bridge the divide between these emerging poles, turning an increasingly felt binary opposition into a dialectic or circulation, and insisting on the fundamental inextricability or entanglement (to use Karen Barad’s term) of materiality and meaning, both on the level of textual production and reception (reading/using), and on the level of critical and theoretical analysis.

Please send abstracts of 200-400 words and a brief CV by March 17, 2014, to Jacob Haubenreich (

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email