Annual workshop of the AILC / ICLA Research Committee on Literary Theory
23.06.2017 – 24.06.2017


Ort: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum
Kontakt: Stefan Willer

Aufgrund der aktuellen Wetterbedingungen hat sich das Programm verändert!

Der Vortrag von TERRY EAGLETON muss leider ausfallen.


The English language has a way of differentiating ›criticism‹ and ›critique‹ that is absent from other European languages. As is often explained, ›critique‹ rather refers to the philosophical tradition of critical thought—as in »Critique of Pure Reason«—whereas ›criticism‹ denotes its more down-to-earth applications, such as literary criticism. Even though this distinction obviously underrates the complexities of literary evaluation, it has been and is being used to introduce value judgments with respect to literary criticism itself. To cite a blunt example: »criticism finds fault/critique looks at structure«, »criticism is spoken with a cruel and sarcastic tone/critique's voice is kind, honest, and objective«, »criticism is negative/critique is positive« (Judy Reeves, Guide for Writers and Writing Groups, 2002).

As simplistic as these dichotomies may be, they address long-standing epistemological and ethical problems. On the one hand, according to Rodolphe Gasché, critique in the history of modern philosophy, starting with Descartes, »entails a new and radical negativity of thought.« On the other, it can be labelled essentially positive, as in Heidegger, who states that the Greek verb ›krinein‹ means »to lift out that of special sort« and thus designates »the most positive of the positive« (cf. Gasché's introduction to his Honor of Thinking, 2007). Between these extremes, a vast field of distinctions opens up, especially for literary and/or textual criticism. According to Friedrich Schleiermacher's reflections on Hermeneutik und Kritik (1810s–30s), critcism is both a judgment (»Gericht«) and a comparison (»Vergleichung«); it can be doctrinal and historical, lower and higher, documentary and divinatory, referring both to letter and spirit. Ultimately, for Schleiermacher, every slip of the tongue is a critical case, given that thought and speech diverge. Criticism hence becomes relevant for finding ›faults‹ in the broadest sense, but in a highly differentiated manner. Thus, the English distinction of ›critique‹ and ›criticism‹ can induce some more specific research into the techniques and theories of drawing distinctions.


UPDATED PROGRAM. Changes are marked **. Terry Eagleton's talk on "Critique and Postmodernism" had to be cancelled.


Friday, 23 June 2017
Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

9.30–10.45 (Chair: Stefan Willer, ZfL Berlin)

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Matthew Reynolds (University of Oxford): Inventive Criticism
  • **Michel Chaouli (Indiana University Bloomington): The Truth Told Urgently

11.00–13.00 (Chair: Sowon Park, UC Santa Barbara)

  • Jernej Habjan (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts Ljubljana): World Literature between Criticism and Critique. 1848, 1945, 1989, 2001, 2008
  • Yvonne Howell (University of Richmond): »Kritika« is not »critique«. Drawing Distinctions in Russian Aesthetic Terminology

14.45–16.00 (Chair: Robert Stockhammer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

  • **Raphaël Baroni (Université de Lausanne): Behind the Claim of Objectivity. When French Structuralists Created a Blind Spot by Making Covered Criticism of Plot Dynamics
  • Eva Geulen (ZfL Berlin): Is it Possible to Criticize Forms of Life? A Critical Discussion of Rahel Jaeggi

16.15–17.30 (Chair: John Zilcosky, University of Toronto)

  • Walid Hamarneh (University of Richmond): Translation Studies. From Criticism to Critique
  • Robert Young (New York University): Translation as Critique in Das Kapital

18.00–19.00 (Chair: Stefan Willer)

  • **John Zilcosky: Critical Ethnographies: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Anthropology


Saturday, 24 June 2017
Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

9.30–10.45 (Chair: Robert Young)

  • **Anne Duprat (Université de Picardie Amiens): Literary Quarrels in Early Modern and Classical Literature. Critique or Criticism?
  • **Phillip Rothwell (University of Oxford): The Poet as Critic

11.00–12.15 (Chair: Sowon Park)

  • Divya Dwivedi (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi): Criticism, Critique and the Ontology of the Literary
  • Stefan Willer: Bruno Latour's Anti-Critique as a Phenomenon of Literary Criticism