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Workshop: Mark McGurl: Literature and Institutions

When Jun 21, 2017
from 10:00 to 12:00
Where Phil I, GCSC, R.001
Contact Name
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“The Time of Institutions in the Study of Contemporary Literature”

A two-hour workshop by Professor Mark McGurl (Stanford University) is integrated into the symposium “Literature and Institutions.” The workshop will take place on the second day of the symposium.

Prof. McGurl is one of the internationally most renowned scholars on the topic of literature and institutions today. He is interested in the ways in which the university system and the conditions of literary production and expression intersect, and has recently focused on linking this research to current economic shifts in the distribution of literature (e.g.


Workshop description:

Every social institution is a keeper of time, and so in a sense is every literary text. But how should we think about the convergence of institutional and literary temporalities? Taking off from a discussion of Mark McGurl’s essay, “Everything and Less: Fiction in the Age of Amazon”—in particular its assessment of the time-concepts specific to contemporary literary life—this seminar will situate its concerns in the broader context of the methodological questions posed by time in and as socio-cultural practice. Toward that end, two key chapters of Georges Gurvitch’s unjustly neglected work of sociological complexity theory, The Spectrum of Social Time (1958, English trans. 1963), will form the basis for discussion, with the aim of assessing the relevance of what Gurvitch calls “depth sociology” for the study of literature.


Mark McGurl, “Everything and Less: Fiction in the Age of Amazon”

Georges Gurvitch, The Spectrum of Social Time Chs. 2 and 3


The workshop will be followed by two panels entitled “Organizing Principles: Forms, Context, Canons” and “Literature and Media Change.” Workshop participants are warmly invited/encouraged to attend these panels and the entire symposium.

This workshop is open to registration to any member of the JLU.

Please register by sending a message to Sonja Schillings (, who will also provide you with the workshop material.



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