What is the fate of literary pedagogy in an era of budget reductions, dwindling enrolments, program closures, workforce casualization, and the administrative valorization of interdisciplinarity? Post-Discipline argues that, while literature
What is the fate of literary pedagogy in an era of budget reductions, dwindling enrolments, program closures, workforce casualization, and the administrative valorization of interdisciplinarity? Post-Discipline argues that, while literature departments are in decline, the study of literature has flourished in institutions of professional education: business schools, medical schools and law schools and, by extension, their work and media spaces, from corporate book clubs to the science and wellness pages of the New York Times. This deterritorialization of literary pedagogy testifies to a growing interest in reading narrative fiction among the corporate workers, physicians, and lawyers that Immanuel Kant grouped as “the technicians of learning” and distinguished from the “scholars proper.” Increasingly, the technicians of learning are working as what Kant called, in a stroke of prescience, “innovators,” claiming knowledge of literature and methods of knowing about literature that conflict with, and sometimes displace the methods of the scholars proper. Beyond interdisciplinarity, which synthesizes the methods and objects of different and equal disciplines, what the innovators champion is the rise of the post-discipline: a time when the value of literature is more accurately recognized and strategically defended by people and institutions untainted by the specialized techniques, expert discourses, and career credentials of literary scholars.
Post-Discipline asks how (and if) literary scholars should think with and against the innovators of the professional-managerial classes and their deterritorialization of literary pedagogy. My talk provides an overview of both halves of the book. The first half interrogates why and how narrative fiction is used in schools of professional education to cultivate virtues like leadership, empathy, and judiciousness. The second half imagines how earlier myths and models of literary study, which institute the study of comparative philology, grammar, and taste-making as part of literary professionalization and pedagogy, might point us toward different futures for the discipline. Such extended imaginative exercises, I argue, are already performed within contemporary novels, short stories, and non-scholarly literary essays, respectively. These three forms prompt us to rethink how institutions of literary education can and ought to be organized, as well as what the discipline’s objects of reading and methods of writing should be.
Vortrag in englischer Sprache.
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