Workshop on current theories and methods in literary and cultural studies - March 29, 2017

Prof. Elizabeth Freemann (UC Davis): "Rhythmanalysis, Good Sex, and the Performance Art of Gerard & Kelly". 
This talk will examine several performance installation pieces: Tino Sehgal’s "Kiss" (2002) and three responses to it by LA-based performance duo Gerard & Kelly. I will read them as meditations on the rhythms of so-called “good,” heteronormative sex and the role of rhythm in alternatives to the latter. The purpose of this talk is in part to foreground what Henri Lefebvre has called “rhythmanalysis” – the use of the body as a metronome to both analyze and intervene in dominant tempos of the present – as one of what I call the “sense-methods,” or modes of carnal and visceral knowledge and knowledge-transmission. 

Background reading: Henri Lefebvre: "The Critique of the Thing" (chapter 1) and "Dressage" (chapter 4), Rhythmanalysis. Space, Time and Everyday Life, translated by Stuart Elden and Gerald Moore, with an introduction by Stuart Elden, Continuum (2004).

Prof. Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Aarhus University): "Pattern recognition".
Through a series of examples, this presentation considers some of the uses of computational approaches to humanities: seeking patterns in larger corpora and engaging with “the great unread”, getting a different perspective on changes over large periods of time, and understanding cultural impact better. In an era of ubiquitous digitisation, digital humanities is still a maturing field that presents obvious opportunities as well as dead ends, as well as a number levels in which scholars can engage with new ways of establishing and analysing a body of material. Following Franco Moretti, I will discuss operationalizing as a key challenge to stay true to the original research questions.

Background reading: Ted Underwood: "Seven ways humanists are using computers to understand", The Stone and the Shell (2015) (blog), Franco Moretti: "'Operationalizing': or, the function of measurement in modern literary theory", Literary Lab, pamphlet 6, Dec 2013, Stanford.

Assistant Prof. Patrick Fessenbecker (Bilkent University): "On Being Profound". 
There is a kind of literary and artistic criticism that is perhaps dying.  It is the development of an overt connection between a text and a pressing theoretical issue, one in which the critic uncovers the ways the work of art speaks to a topic of contemporary interest. Although this interpretive technique has been marginalized in recent work--by a renewed formalism on the one hand and various alternatives to close reading on the other--and has arguably never received a full articulation and defense--it's worth preserving. Such a critical method captures an important truth about aesthetic experience: the ideas a work of art expresses are often not subsumed by or somehow opposed to its overall effect, but the central element in what it means to value and enjoy it. To put it in a word, we value and enjoy such works of art because they seem profound.  In this essay, I take profundity seriously as a category of aesthetic experience, contrasting it with the other categories Sianne Ngai has recently traced, and offer a defense of an aesthetic criticism based on this approach.  

Background reading: Sianne Ngai: "Introduction", Our Aesthetic Categories, Harvard University Press (2012).

Time: March 29, 2017 - 9.45 AM -
Venue: Odense Adelige Jomfrukloster, Albani Torv 6, 5000 Odense C

For enquiries please contact Project Coordinator Pernille Hasselsteen -

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