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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.

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2021-22 Critical Speakers Series


The Critical Speaker Series is excited to announce our fall schedule. This year, we’re offering a multimodal presentation format, with some speakers presenting via Zoom and others joining us in person.

On Wednesday, October 6 (4 PM), we’ll welcome Dr. Anjuli Fatima Raza-Kolb via Zoom for a talk entitled “Indian Country.” The following afternoon, on Thursday, October 7 (4 PM), Dr. Raza-Kolb will hold a Zoom workshop for ECL graduate students and faculty entitled “Where Was 9/11?” Dr. Raza-Kolb is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where her research and teaching focus on postcolonial literature and theory, the history of science and the environmental humanities, poetry and poetics, and gender and sexuality studies. Her recent book, Epidemic Empire: Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror, 1817–2020, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2020, investigates the metaphorical connection between terrorism and contagion and applies a postcolonial literary perspective to the global War on Terror. Look for an email from CSS over the coming week with information about how to register for both events.

On Thursday, November 4 and Friday, November 5, we’ll be joined in person by Dr. Dorothy Hale. Dr. Hale is Professor of English at Berkeley, where her research and teaching focus on the Anglo-American novel, theories of the novel, and problems of novelistic form. Her most recent book, The Novel and the New Ethics, published by Stanford University Press in 2020, explores how the contemporary emphasis on the social value of the novel has its roots in modernism’s emphasis on narrative form, and especially in the work of Henry James. Look for an email from CSS later in the semester with the titles of Dr. Hale’s talk and workshop, both of which will be held at 3 PM in Greenlaw Hall’s Donovan Lounge, Room 233.



Dr. Anjuli Fatima Raza-Kolb

Indian Country.

Wednesday, October 6 at 4:00pm via Zoom



Dr. Anjuli Fatima Raza-Kolb

Where was 9/11?

Thursday, October 7 at 4:00pm via Zoom





Videos from past Critical Speakers Series



Alexander Weheliyem (Northwestern University)
: Black Life / SchwarzSein (Monday, February 1, 2021)





Theo Davis (Northeastern University)
: “Enough”: Melville’s Momentary Intersubjectivity (Thursday, September 24, 2020)





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)