Please find below the CFP for the seminar on Serial Forms I am
organizing at ACLA 2016 (March 17-20 at Harvard). Abstracts are due
September 23 (apologies for the short notice). Feel free to email me
with queries at

In response to an echoing call for a renewed attention to form, this
seminar will examine a particularly rich formal classification: the
serial. Conceiving of serial form broadly to encompass a variety of
sequential and collected narratives, from installments and episodes to
versions, revisions, witnesses, releases, copies, variations,
collections, and cycles, we will ask how narratives in parts challenge
and invigorate our critical approaches to narrative form. While
criticism of serial form tends to center on Charles Dickens and look
forward to twentieth-century radio and television, the formal
conventions of seriality – the sequence and collection of narratives –
extends far beyond this fictional field. We find seriality across
literary periods and genres, from The Arabian Nights to the comic
strip, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary poetry collections,
from broadsides to blogs, from The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron
to the Serial podcast and House of Cards. How, then, do we draw formal
connections between such varied instantiations of seriality? And how
does attention to seriality require us to move beyond conventional
approaches to literary form, which have tended to sidestep or elide
narrative temporality, authorial process and publication, reading, and

At the heart of this seminar will be the relationship between form and
sequence. Questions for consideration include: What challenges does
the extension of production and reception in parts over time pose to
our understanding of the “whole” text? Do we have to choose between
treating a serial text as parts within a whole (many within one) or as
the succession or progression of a series (one after another after
another)? Does each new part revise or extend previous parts? And what
can attention to seriality teach us about narrative form in general?

Papers will examine serial form within or across any literary
period(s), place(s), or genre(s), and might consider the following
topics, as well as others not listed:

– Connected versus disconnected narratives
– Progression, revision, extension
– Versions and variations
– Parts and wholes
– Instances and responses
– Sequence and collection
– Serial temporality and spatiality
– The production, circulation, and reception of serial texts
(manuscripts, printed texts, audio or visual media)
– Teaching serially; teaching serial texts

More information and submissions at: