The Culture of Experience: A Conference on Pragmatism and Early Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature

Страна: Канада

Город: New Brunswick

Тезисы до: 15.08.2016

Даты: 02.03.17 — 03.03.17

Е-мейл Оргкомитета:

Организаторы: Rutgers Universit


This conference will bring together scholars from literary studies and history to investigate how pragmatist thought shaped the styles, narratives, and institutions of U.S. literature in the first half of the twentieth century. From the publication of William James’s Pragmatism in 1907 to the death of John Dewey in 1952, pragmatism was the American philosophy. Its insistence that ideas must be grounded in experience, and that experience was a dynamic process, not only found footing in the major philosophy departments but also influenced the course of education, social reform, politics, literature, and the arts. Yet despite the wide influence of pragmatist philosophy during these decades, there has not been an adequate account of how U.S. writers and literary critics participated in the “culture of experience” that pragmatism fostered. Existing studies of pragmatism and literature have either focused on the emergence of pragmatism in the nineteenth century, leaving the period of pragmatism’s ascendency relatively untouched, or they have offered localized studies of the influence of pragmatism on individual writers. Our conference will offer a more far-ranging consideration of pragmatism’s relation to early-twentieth-century U.S. literature. Using the rubric of the culture of experience, we aim to expand the understanding of what pragmatism was—as a philosophy, as a set of cultural tendencies, and as a network of institutions and people—and how it helped to define the production and reception of modern U.S. literature.

Areas of intersection with pragmatism’s culture of experience might include, but are not limited to:

    Modernist aesthetics
    Progressive Era “literature of reform”
    The New Negro movement
    The Popular/Cultural Front
    Literary institutions (magazines, universities, etc.)
    Theater and drama
    Interwar literary criticism and scholarship
    Transnational literature and/or the literature of migration

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