SCE was founded in 1975 "to encourage cooperative inquiry and research
Among its founding members,
Leroy Searle, James Sosnoski, and Patricia Harkin were
important in giving the Society direction during its early years,
first at the University of Washington, Seattle (1976-81) and later
at Miami University of Ohio (1982-90). The oldest and for many years
the only scholarly society devoted specifically to theory, it was
instrumental in the institutionalization of theory in North American
Literary Studies, and has gone on to innovate across traditional boundaries
of the humanities and social sciences.
SCE is organized around collaborative, often interdisciplinary research
"projects" initiated and operated by its (approximately 800) members.
It has consistently been in the vanguard of such study, organizing
programs in such areas as:
the teaching of both theory and cultural studies
the role of men in feminism
disciplinarity and professionalization, especially of literary
relation of authorship and the institutions of intellectual property
relations of literature, culture, and economic
most active current standing projects include Intellectual Property
and the Construction of Authorship, New Economic Criticism, Cultures
of Writing, and Woman, Nation, Narrative; new projects on Trust, Institutions
of Aesthetics and Globalization and the Image are in their formative
stages. There is no limit to the number of projects the SCE can support,
and we are eager to hear your suggestions for new, fundable initiatives
or for new directions within standing projects.
facilitate these initiatives, the executive office of the SCE can
often furnish administrative and financial assistance. New projects
typically get underway at one of the regional MLA meetings, and are
often developed at one or more of the SCE's standing sessions at the
MLA convention. Ideally, from that springboard, projects will then
be the subject of a dedicated conference or symposium (which the SCE
will gladly help facilitate in material ways) and will in due course
produce one or more publications.
An extended history of the society is available as part of the Modern Language Association's audit of Allied and Affiliate Organizations.