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Critical Speaker Series

The Critical Speaker Series of the Department of English and Comparative Literature features outstanding and innovative scholars in the literary humanities. It showcases their contributions for the larger University community and the public.
For more information, please contact David Baker.

Follow the Critical Speaker Series:


Twitter @SeriesCritical

Instagram @criticalspeakerseries

2020-21 Critical Speakers Series

Theo Davis

Professor of English at Northeastern University


“Enough”: Melville’s Momentary Intersubjectivity

Thursday, September 24, 2020, at 3:30 pm via Zoom

Please register in advance


Encountering Emerson: Looking at Body, Self, and Relation in the Essays

Friday, September 25, 2020, at 3:30 pm via Zoom

Please register in advance


Alexander Weheliye

Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University


Black Life / SchwarzSein

Monday, February 1, 2021, 3:30 pm via Zoom


Black Life

Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 3:30 pm via Zoom




Videos from past Critical Speakers Series





Nan Z. Da (University of Notre Dame): “Tracking Devices: King Lear and Modern China” (March 4, 2020)








Cary Wolfe (Rice University): “Autoimmunities” (September 26, 2019)




Heather Love (University of Pennsylvania): “The Book that Came in from the Cold: Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt” (January 25, 2017)




Jack Halberstam, University of Southern California: “Becoming Feral: Sex, Death, and Falconry” (April 2016)




Alan Liu, University of California at Santa Barbara: “Key Trends in the Digital Humanities: How the Digital Humanities Challenge the Idea of the Humanities” (February 9, 2016)




Laura L. Knoppers, University of Notre Dame: “‘By her owne directions’: Margaret Cavendish, Gender, and Early Modern Medicine” (September 30, 2015)




Pamela Smith, Columbia University: “From Matter to Ideas: Making Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” (April 7, 2014)





Jonathan Kramnick, The Johns Hopkins University: “Presence of Mind” (March 6, 2014)



Michael McKeon, Rutgers University: “The Origins of the English Novel in the Parody of Family Romance” (March 6, 2013)




Mark McGurl, Stanford University: “The Institution of Nothing: David Foster Wallace and Taxes” (November 27, 2012)



Adrian Johns, University of Chicago: “The Invention of Scientific Reading” (April 10, 2012)