The Society for Critical Exchange

2006 MLA Convention
Philadelphia, PA

Call for Papers

The Society for Critical Exchange, 1976-2006
An Anniversary Exchange about the Future of Theory and the Role of the Society

The Society for Critical Exchange, North America's oldest scholarly organization devoted to advancing collaborative, cross-disciplinary research in theory, will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary at the MLA convention in Philadelphia, December 27-30, 2006.

The SCE has been a trailblazer in Literary Studies. A leader in the dissemination of theory in the 1970s and 80s, it has also modeled the new more collaborative modes of research that are beginning to be embraced more generally. In the 1990s it spearheaded the trend toward interdisciplinarity. Its fostering of collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries led to pathbreaking meetings and publications that have exerted an impact on research and teaching both in literature and in other disciplines like the law and economics. The Construction of Authorship (1994), The New Economic Criticism (1999), The Question of the Gift (2002), to name just a few of its publications, grew out of sustained collaboration among scholars from diverse disciplines. Moreover, the work of a number of these collaboratives has been ongoing, in some instances even exerting an impact on current events. For example, the influential Bellagio Declaration issued from the project on Intellectual Property and the Construction of Authorship, whose work will be carried forward at another conference this year, "Con/texts of Invention," which will convene scholars working in the law, in the history of science and technology, and literary and cultural studies to extend and deepen the "critique of authorship" by exploring our concept of invention in the context of the diverse historical developments and institutions that have fostered and been fostered by it.

What should be the goals of the Society for Critical Exchange going forward? With the success of its chief aims and commitments - the mainstreaming of theory and spread of the more collaborative cross-disciplinary modes of research it has advocated - what should an organization like the SCE do next? We seek five to ten minute presentations including both provocative reminiscences aimed at helping to chart the Society's future and visionary and concrete proposals for projects it might sponsor, contributions it can make, the function(s) it ought to serve.

We anticipate organizing a double (3-hour) meeting in the late afternoon of December 28 or 29 so that formal and informal critical exchange may be facilitated by good food and drink. The event, to be held at a convention (or nearby) hotel, will be free to SCE members in good standing and open to MLA members generally for a small charge.

Prospective panel participants are urged to browse the SCE website to learn more about the Society's history before submitting a proposal. One-two page proposals accompanied by a one-page CV should be sent by 3 March 2006 to Martha Woodmansee (







return to top