Spring 2018 Symposium at Duke: Novel Terms


Novel Terms

April 20, 2018

Duke University, Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, Bay 4 Franklin Humanities Institute (Annual Novel symposium organized by Duke graduate students in consultation with the editorial board of Novel: A Forum on Fiction)

The field of literary criticism is littered with terminology. Theories of the novel have relied on a wide variety of terms —e.g., realism, biopolitics, dialectic, network, plot, totality, scale, temporality, character, chronotope, resistance, critique, neoliberalism, financialization, infrastructure, and form — to describe its elements. Yet, critics cannot agree on what these terms mean, much less on what they can do. Does the novel generate a different set of terms from other cultural phenomena? How do we account for the fact that novels—at a certain point in the twenieth century—began to develop their own terminology which seems to change not only with novels themselves but also with the terminology we use to make sense of other cultural historical phenomena.  How does a critical term gain explanatory power, thrive, multiply, and die?  What does it allow us to do with fiction?  What does it render out of bounds, even invisible?  Are some terms due to be cleared away and others revived? What sort of rhetorical and/or political work does our critical vocabulary accomplish?


Kenneth Warren, University of Chicago

Leigh Claire La Berge, BMCC CUNY

Joshua Gang, UC Berkeley


9:30-10:00 Coffee and breakfast snacks
10:00-10:15 Introduction (Russell Coldicutt)
10:15-11:30 "Decommodified Labor," Leigh Claire La Berge
11:30-11:45 Introduction (Kevin Spencer)
11:45-1:00 "Literary Minds—or, “all novels annoy me as I annoy all novels”," Joshua Gang
1:00-2:00 Buffet Lunch
2:00-2:15 Introduction (Justin Mitchell)
2:15-3:30 "Revisiting Representation (again): The Novel and Identity," Kenneth Warren
3:30-3:45 Coffee and snacks
3:45-5:30 Roundtable: Rita Monticelli, University of Bologna; John Marx, UC Davis; Lloyd Pratt, Oxford University; Rey Chow, Duke.
6:30 Reception/Buffet: 2240 Cranford Road