CFP: Critiquing Criticism: From the Ancient to the Digital

Deadline: 24th April 2015

Contributions are now invited for the 2015 volume of the MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities, an international, refereed online journal aimed at postgraduate and early-career researchers.

Acts of criticism are all-pervasive in our online culture: through social media, blogs, and comments sections we author critiques, rating and disseminating with ‘likes’ and ‘shares’.   Boundaries are blurred and redefined by the ever-increasing presence of online academic journals and magazines, the popularity of academically-informed cultural commentary online, and a growing demand for university departments to engage with the Digital Humanities. As new and aspiring academic critics we must critique our own changing field, finding our place within it; an appraisal of criticism itself forms thus a crucial area for investigation.

Drawing comparisons between various acts of criticism raises questions of the differing and developing aims, roles, and methods of critical texts: should criticism judge, describe, translate, or interpret? And if interpretation is the critic’s task, then to what extent is criticism creative? How do the critic and the author interact, and what responsibilities do critics have to readers? Can fruitful links be drawn between the activity of online criticism, the reviews of critics in the media, and academic criticism?

Working Papers invites articles addressing and further exploring these questions and concerns across the humanities, treating works of criticism as primary texts. Suggested themes include, but are in no way limited to:

·         Changing aims, roles, and methods of criticism

·         Academic criticism vs popular readings vs newspaper critics

·         Reception studies

·         Digital Humanities

·         Criticism online – academic journals and magazines, blogs, comments, trolling

·         Literature as criticism, and criticism as literature; criticism as a creative act

·         The artist as critic, or critic as artist

·         The interaction of criticism and the text or work it critiques

·         The ethics and/or politics of criticism

·         Critical theory and theoretical criticism

·         Criticism or theory as represented within literary works

·         Book prizes, writing prizes, arts prizes

·         The figure of the critic

Abstracts, in English, of 300-500 words in length are invited from any field in the ‘modern humanities’, as defined as the modern and medieval languages, literatures, and cultures of Europe, including English and the Slavonic languages, and the cultures of the European diaspora. History, library studies, education and pedagogical subjects, and the medical application of linguistics are excluded.

Proposals and informal enquiries should be directed to the editors at postgrads@mhra.org.uk by 24th April 2015. Those selected for further consideration will be required to produce their article, of no more than 4000 words, by mid-July 2015. These articles will then undergo peer review, and the volume will be published online at the end of the year.