Texas Tech University

The 49th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium

The Word in the World: Culture, Technology, and Discourse in the Twenty-First Century, April 7-8, 2017

The Comparative Literature Program at Texas Tech University invites papers for the 49th Annual Texas Tech Comparative Literature Symposium to be held on April 7-8, 2017.  Embedded in the spirit of comparative study is an enduring investment in critical attention to the importance of medium and message. In his models evoking pedagogic, social, and political change, the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire emphasized the importance of an abiding commitment to codification – a deliberate, reflective choosing of the best method of communication for each theme and its representation. That choice now encompasses an unprecedented number of mediums and an often global reach. Cultural communication and interaction occur across various channels, from internationally viral memes and videos to twitter wars during turbulent political times to social media movements that fuel revolution. During the Arab Spring, Facebook and Twitter were critical tools that enabled organized protest and global broadcasting, despite the governmental control of traditional media outlets. For many people around the globe, You Tube, Candy Crush, Second Life, Instagram, open source software, and Creative Commons publishing are important sources of entertainment, information, and knowledge.  Hence it is critical that we understand the contours of discourse in the context of technological developments and needs of communities from the Global South and North.

As it has always been, the technological is political. It is also social and cultural and imbued with opportunities both to challenge hegemony in its many forms or to reinforce and amplify constructions of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and geographical location which sustain hegemony.

 Just as these developments are multi-faceted, our means of understanding them are grounded at the intersections of book history, global literature, technical communication, material production, digital textuality, film and media studies, and the literature and rhetoric of science and technology. We invite cross-cultural, cross-medium, cross-disciplinary inquiry that address some of the following questions:

  • What new concepts arising out of the intersection of literature and other discourses such as science and technology studies, media studies, urban studies, performance studies, to name a few, are most useful as paradigms of the future?
  •  What are the implications of new forms and modes of literature emerging out of the convergence of textuality, media, and technology such as hypertext essays, blog fiction, Tales on Tweet?
  • Who takes ownership of these collective forms of textuality or, in other words, what happens to the notion of authorship in the twenty-first century?
  • What is “new” in new media and how is this newness constantly remediated in popular culture?
  • To what extent do social media serve as engines of re-memory or realms for reinscribing the pasts of those minoritized by hegemonic constructions?
  • How does technology and medium influence forms of sociality, community, and politics?
  • What generic transformations can we expect in literary and technological forms in the 21st century?
  • How does cultural and critical praxis manifest across the terrain of technological development?
  • How does this inter- and cross-disciplinarity influence pedagogy?

There are no registration fees for this conference.

Comparative literature


For more information about the Comparative Literature emphasis, contact Dr. Yuan Shu or by calling the Department of English at 806.742.2500.

For general information about graduate study in English at Texas Tech University, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies by email or at 806.742.2500 ext. 248.

Comparative Literature Program

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