Joshua Gang (University California, Berkeley) and Daniel Wright (University of Toronto) are co-organizing a seminar at the 2016 ACLA Annual Meeting on “Ordinary Language, Ordinary Criticism.” Note that paper proposals are due tomorrow, September 23.
This seminar invites papers on the role ordinary language philosophy might play in literary study today. Building on recent critical discussions of description, denotation, and the hermeneutics of suspicion, we ask: should we understand the languages of criticism and literature as “ordinary”? How might the assumptions of ordinary language philosophy change the ways we think about critical practice? About literature’s broader historical and theoretical relationships to philosophy? Papers from all literary periodizations, national traditions, and methodologies are encouraged.
Topics of interest might include: the relation between literary language and critical language to “ordinary language”; the relation of the literary to Wittgenstein, Austin, Strawson, Cavell, Ryle, Diamond and other figures in ordinary language philosophy; the relation of ordinary language to aesthetic categories, such as form, genre, and medium; how the concept of “ordinary language” has varied over time and in different national traditions; the relation of ordinary language to discourses of sexuality, race, class and other categories of lived experience; language as both evidence and explanation; readings of literary texts by ordinary language philosophers (i.e. Ryle on Austen, Cavell on Shakespeare, Beckett and others); and past engagements between literary criticism and ordinary language philosophy.