Title, Author & Summary



March 26, 2015

Comparative Literature and the Public Sphere

Doris Sommer

Interpreting art, appreciating its power to shape the world, can spur and support urgently needed change. This is not a deviation from humanistic attention to the mechanisms of art production and reception. It is a corollary and a homecoming to civic education. Acknowledging art’s work makes us cultural agents: those who make, comment, buy, sell, reflect, allocate, decorate, vote, don’t vote, or otherwise lead social, culturally constructed lives. Social change begins with incremental work to change hearts and mind, what the Enlightenment called taste or aesthetic judgment.

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Ideas of the Decade

March 3, 2014

Performative Scholarship

Avram Alpert

Contemporary scholarship has a content problem. I do not mean that there is anything wrong with the actual contents of academic criticism. Rather, I mean that the academy focuses too narrowly on innovations in content. We assume that advances in modern scholarship will arrive as content-ideas and not as form-ideas. This state of affairs is endemic to an academic situation that privileges publication over pedagogy, knowledge of smaller periods over broad-based investigation, and that allows an economy of information to dictate an increasingly unjust labor market.

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