Literary Theory

  • Founded
  • Seminar Number

This seminar has had a long and distinguished history at Columbia. Originally called Theory of Literature (469), it was revived under its current title in 2006 with a view to pursuing the relations between literature, philosophy, and the politics that pervades our cultural production and its study. For some time now, literary studies has been engaged in wider theoretical approaches to texts and to the very idea of literature and criticism, and the seminar hopes to take philosophical stock of this tendency as well as to try to bring to it, wherever possible, more creative and more rigorous angles. These goals will initially be pursued broadly and ecumenically and should it turn out that one or other theme surfaces, which demands our sustained focus, the seminar will very likely take it up for a whole year, approaching it from different angles. For the most part, one of the members will circulate a paper, introduced for the seminar by another member, but occasionally, we will invite a speaker from outside the membership.

Professor Bruce Robbins

Victoria Wiet

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.



09/26/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:15 PM
Orwell's Jews
Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of Birmingham

Respondent: Hannah Gurman, New York University

11/07/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:15 PM
Thinking against humanity
Ayça Çubukçu, London School of Economics

12/03/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:15 PM
Towards a New Critique of Political Economy
Etienne Balibar, University of Paris X and Columbia University

01/24/2019 754 Schermerhorn Extension, Columbia University
7:15 PM
Sustainable Forms: Revaluing Routine in Labor, Gender and Art
Caroline Levine, Cornell University

Respondent: Philip Kitcher, Columbia University

02/25/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?
Nancy Fraser, The New School for Social Research

Respondent: Barnaby Raine, Columbia University