And Contexts": U.Va. English Department Conference and Electronic
Book Will Show Interplay of Diverse Scholarship
March 20, 2001--
A special conference, March 30-31, organized by the faculty of the
University of Virginia's English
department, 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. Friday, March 30, followed by a reception, and from
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31. The venue is Clark Hall
147, a multi-media room that allows demonstrations of the latest
in digital humanities scholarship.
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. "The field of 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.
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 one by an award-winning poet, Gregory Orr;
from a study of Herman Melville's European influences, by Eleanor
Kaufman, to an interpretation of slave narrative, by Lisa Woolfork;
and from a look at religious truth and historical context in the
medieval period, by Anthony Spearing, to a presentation on electronic
scholarship by Stephen Railton, whose work was recently a winner
of a major history prize.
Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856