Academic Writing Free-Style
Jane KilbySeminar Room 2
You’ve had an idea. And a quick survey of recent scholarly literature and you discover that others share it with you: there is a growing desire to break away from the traditional protocols of academic writing. Taking this groundswell as its point of departure, the panel will explore the specific challenges and consequences of hybrid creative-critical work. Key questions to be addressed: if we write differently, will we read and think differently? Will writing ‘free-style’ generate new forms and ways of doing knowledge? Can a fusion of creative and critical writing address the political and ethical need for intersectionality and acknowledging difference; for dialoguing with the non-human; for an interdisciplinary speaking with the future? What are the gender politics of academic experimentation: theory boys, writing girls? Is the demand for public scholarship an opportunity for academics to write free-style or a trap? If we experiment with academic form, what do we risk losing? Is ‘dry’ and ‘difficult’ writing necessarily a bad thing? Anti-intellectualism is rife. Is novelty to be welcomed with open arms or questioned as a neoliberal ruse for new markets?
To answer these questions, the panel will offer work-in-progress, discussion of recent developments in the broader field of critical and cultural writing and insight from novelists and poets working in the areas of meta- and creative non-fiction, and experimental practice.
The panel might not stick to a strict order or set-length presentations. Multiple turning-taking will be a possibility. (Promising too much a certainty.)
Words and phrases that might get bandied around: ficto-criticism, non-propositional strategies, flash readings, ‘constrained’ critique, ‘gonzo’ criticism, wild scholarship.
The panel members might change hats. A poem read.
+ Experiments with tone, style, modes of address (dialogic; polyphonic), voice, and tense.
A pressing of the formal limits of academic language and what constitutes scholarly practice.
Required for this panel: tolerance for failure and the loss of a cracking good idea.
Early career researchers especially welcome.
At issue: the vitality of academic writing and our ability to engage readers and listeners in our thinking; to sign them up otherwise.
In sum, the panel members are looking for a free-hand to do as they please.
(NB We promise to be in the right room at the right time on the right day; and to stick, more or less, to seventy-five minutes!)