faculty to share diverse scholarship
proceedings will result in electronic book
special conference, March 30-31, organized by the faculty of the
will showcase the full range of today's diverse scholarly approaches
to literary studies. The proceedings will be published later this
year as an electronic book.
"Texts and Contexts," the conference will run from 11
a.m. to 5 p.m., March 30, followed by a reception, and from 9:30
a.m. to 2:30 p.m., March 31. The venue is Clark Hall 147, a multi-media
room where demonstrations of the latest in digital humanities
scholarship can be shown.
conference will feature presentations by scholars working in the
earliest periods to the most modern and representing a broad cross-section
of the English department's current research interests. These
include traditional critical interpretations and theories of how
historical, social and other forces influence literary works.
forum will offer a chance for people working in different scholarly
modes to discuss their ideas with each other," said Michael
Levenson, a professor of modern literature and chair of the English
department. "Literary studies has long struggled with questions
of interpretations of texts and their relation to their surroundings.
This is a chance for us to reflect together on some of those questions."
a time when some venerable English departments struggle to find
shared purposes among their faculty, "this is a major event
in departmental solidarity," Levenson added. "It's
a sign of our commitment to one another."
key aim of the conference is to bridge the "digital divide"
between scholars who have embraced new technology in research
and those less interested in it. Its approximately 20 presentations,
including both traditional articles and multi-media research archives,
will be published electronically as a scholarly book available
on the Internet. Undergraduate students from English professor
John Unsworth's digital publishing class will be closely
involved in creating the book this semester.
conference also coincides with visits of prospective graduate
students. Approximately 20 will get to meet the U.Va. English
department faculty and see the mix of its many subdisciplines.
sampling of what they will experience ranges from a discussion
of "texts and contexts" by Ralph Cohen, editor of the
influential journal, New Literary History, to a talk by award-winning
poet Gregory Orr; from Eleanor Kaufman's study of Herman
Melville's European influences to Lisa Woolfork's interpretation
of slave narrative; and from Anthony Spearing's look at religious
truth and historical context in the medieval period to Stephen
Railton's presentation on electronic scholarship, work that
recently won a major history prize.