What Literally is (the) Literary? – A Workshop

What Literally is (the) Literary? – A Workshop

The students pursuing PhD in English at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay are organizing a two-day workshop titled ‘What Literally is (the) Literary’ on 11th and 12th of January 2016. 

This workshop aspires to explore the use of the word 'literary' in connection with tools, methods, texts, and objects of study. We would like to pose questions, such as, how does the literary play out not just as a metaphor in research but also as an object of analysis and as methodology. And relatedly ask, what the status of ‘literature’ is today.

Beginning with what has traditionally been known as literature, we hope these questions will animate discussions on the distinctions between the ‘literary’ and the ‘non-literary,’ if they are any. This could also be an occasion to put forth a case for the inclusion of the various texts such as documents, photographs and films into the discipline. It also becomes a placeholder to ask how other disciplines use and analyze (literary) texts. Then, is there something called a ‘literary analysis’ which is distinct from a philosophical and sociological analysis? And if so, what are the specific set of analytical tools it equips us with to read the texts? Do these tools in turn make the text 'literary’? Or is the text itself 'literary’? 

Along these lines, it may be useful to explore the use of, say, philosophical and sociological texts in English literary studies or vice versa. For instance, how do we bring in Lefebvre or Foucault into the close text reading of a novel? Or what if we were to use Lefebvre or Foucault as our primary texts? Do we treat these texts differently from the manner in which they are studied in their respective disciplines? If so, have the approaches for analyzing any given text changed over the last few decades within the discipline. If yes, then does this begin to reconstitute our notion of the literary? 

The workshop will be structured around short presentations on the above-mentioned issues from students of PhD of the department. Prof. P Udaya Kumar (Department of English, University of Delhi) will join us at the workshop. He will conduct one or two sessions and will lead the discussions after the student presentations. 

We intend to keep the format of the workshop informal and would like to provide as much space for discussion as possible. We foresee approximately 10 minutes of presentation and extensive discussions. We hope to have around 10 to 12 presentations. 

The workshop is envisaged as first of a series that the English PhD students are planning in the course of the coming semesters, supported by a donation made by Dr. Cara Murray (Department of English, University of Houston-Downtown), who was a Visiting Professor in the Department in 2014. 

Tentative Schedule

Day 1 (11th Jan 2016)

10:00- 10:25 - Introduction

10:25- 10:45 - Tea Break

10:45- 12:30 - Panel 1 (Presentation by students)

12:30- 2:00 - Lunch break

2:00- 4:00 - Panel 2 (Presentation by students)

4:00 - 4:15 - Tea break

4:15 - 5:00 - Roundtable moderated by Prof. Ramesh Bairy

Day 2 (12th Jan 2016)

10:00 -12:30 - Talk by Prof. Udaya Kumar

Event Date: 
Monday, 11 January 2016 - 10:00am to Tuesday, 12 January 2016 - 12:30pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai