CFP: LitCrit 2.0

The calls for papers for ACCUTE 2009 are now posted, including my own for a session on “LitCrit 2.o: Academic Blogging and Other New Forms of Scholarly Publishing” (scroll down this list). Panels like this are old news in other venues, but I haven’t seen much about it up here, at least not through ACCUTE (which, for any American readers who don’t know this, is our MLA-like thing). My own thinking about these issues was somewhat focused by the presentation I gave to my department on academic blogging last fall.

The version of the CFP I submitted actually had more apparatus, including hyperlinks that I had hoped would be retained in the posted version. For those who might be interested, here’s the full text with links.


LitCrit 2.0:
Academic Blogging and Other New Forms of Scholarly Publishing

[A]nyone engaged in any aspect of academe, from teaching to administration to libraries to research, would do well to take a look at what some of their colleagues are doing on the internet. (Miriam Jones, “Why Blog?” @ ScribblingWoman)

I do think that the solution to the problem of poor circulation of ideas (not paper) has to involve making room for something that blogs do well. There has got to be healthier conversation, keeping up the circulation of ideas regarding books and articles. Blogging isn’t scholarship, but scholarship may need blogging in quite a strong sense. (John Holbo, “Form Follows the Function of the Little Magazine” @ The Valve)

Peer-review thus demands to be transformed from a system of gatekeeping to a mode of manifesting the responses to and discussion of a multiplicity of ideas in circulation. (Kathleen FitzPatrick, “On the Future of Academic Publishing, Peer Review, and Tenure Requirements” @ The Valve)

The 2006 report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion urged us to reconsider the primacy of print publications, particularly monographs, in assessing each other’s contributions to scholarship. Most of us recognize that academic publishing in some respects serves institutional needs better than intellectual or scholarly ones; ideally, as Kathleen Fitzpatrick argues, our professional advancement should not depend on “whether the vagaries of any publishing system did or did not allow a text to come into circulation, but rather on the value of that text, and on the importance it bears for its field.” The challenge both conceptually and institutionally, is developing alternatives to a system the protocols of which are so well-established.

Among the recommendations of the MLA Task Force is that we adopt “a more capacious conception of scholarship,” including “establishing multiple pathways to tenure, and using scholarly portfolios,” and that we “recognize the legitimacy of scholarship produced in new media.” Certainly the opportunities for self-publishing and scholarly networking via the internet are transforming our ideas about what is possible as well as what is desirable in academic discourse. Websites, wikis, and blogs may not render the old forms (books, refereed articles, print reviews, conferences) obsolete, but they do make it necessary to identify what the traditional methods—slow, rigid, resource-intensive, and often exclusionary—nonetheless do better than the alternatives, and they should motivate us also to imagine and develop the aspects of our intellectual and scholarly work that can be done more effectively using new forms. Many academic bloggers, for instance, have already discovered the value of what Matthew Kirschenbaum has called a “public academic workbench,” of putting their ideas into circulation faster and among a much wider variety of audiences than conventional publication allows and thus enabling a remarkable immediacy of response and debate. Some bloggers have observed that blog comments can constitute a form of post-publication peer review, offsetting the seemingly intractable problem of quality-control in self-publication.

This panel invites proposals for papers on the changing nature of, and new possibilities for, academic publishing in the era of Web 2.0. Analyses of specific blogging or other interactive or collaborative web-publishing experiences would be particularly relevant. In order to allow time for demonstrations of research or publication in new media as well as discussion among both panel and audience members, slightly shorter papers (15 minutes, or 8-10 pages) are encouraged. A/V needs should be clearly specified in the proposal.

Submissions should be sent electronically by 15 November 2008 to:

Rohan Maitzen
Department of English
Dalhousie University
Rohan.Maitzen@Dal.Ca
Subject: ACCUTE Panel

Please note that submissions must follow the same guidelines as those for the general call (Option 1), as specified on the ACCUTE website. In particular:

  • submitters must be ACCUTE members in good standing
  • an electronic copy of the proposal, a completed copy of the Proposal Submitter’s Information Sheet (available online), and a file containing a 100-word abstract and a 50-word bio-bibliographical note must be submitted to the panel organizer by 15 November
  • proposals (maximum 700 words) should clearly indicate the originality or scholarly significance of the proposed paper, the line of argument, the principal texts the paper will speak to (if applicable), and the relation of the paper to existing scholarship on the topic

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