‘The Value of Literature’

Accommodation options in Melbourne

December 1, 2022
CHASS Congress of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences,
University of Melbourne

In recent times the value, or ‘value for money’ of research in Literary Studies has been openly questioned in levels of government and some parts of the media. So too, new modes of data collection and attempts to quantify research quality at individual universities and at national and international levels, are requiring those doing research into literature to carefully consider where they publish and the topics of research they address if they continue to publish or apply for grants at all. While Australia continues to produce works of literature of a high level and the status of creative writing itself is less openly questioned, the role and importance of literary scholarship and criticism and the teaching of literature at universities has come under significant pressure in the public sphere. Fewer column inches are available to consider the importance of literature in major news outlets, and far less funding for literary or scholarly journals is available through funding bodies. Literature and deliberation over its value, which so decisively shaped the social networks and intellectual character of the modern public sphere, is now noticeable by its absence.

Date and Location: December 1, Malaysian Theatre, The Glyn Davis Building, University of Melbourne
Webinar Link:

Conference Program


Anthony Uhlmann (WSU)
‘Ranking systems and understandings of value in relation to Literary Studies’
Suzie Gibson (CSU)
‘Literature and the question of “value”’
Robert Clarke (UTas)
‘By Association: Professing the Values of Literary Studies and the English Discipline’

11-11.30 Morning Tea


Hannan Lewsley (WSU)
‘The Novel as an Ecological Actor: A Reparative Poetics’
Angela Italiano (UWA)
‘From chaos to quests: the evolution of mental illness representation in coming-of-age fictional narratives’
Chris Conti (WSU)
‘Teaching the Value of Literature’

1-2pm Lunch


Andrew Dean (Deakin)
‘The Hole That We Dug?’
Joe Hughes (UMelb)
‘The Value of Critique’
Simone Murray (Monash)
‘Between Impressions and Data: Negotiating Value at the Literary Studies/Sociology Frontier’

3.30-4pm Afternoon Tea


Catriona Menzies-Pike (WSU)
‘Literary Goods and Services: Ten Years of Complaints about the Sydney Review of Books’
Evelyn Araluen (Deakin)
‘Literature’s intervention in colonial patriarchy’