The 20th and 21st Century Workshop (C20/21), sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies, provides a space for graduate students and faculty members across the humanities to present and discuss work in progress that engages aesthetic and cultural objects produced in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as their associated contexts, reception, and theoretical problems.  Although the workshop is open to a variety of disciplinary approaches, it is primarily organized around conceptual questions specific to this historical period, including: the instability of categories like “high” and “low” culture, modernism’s lives and afterlives, the effects of changing media technologies, and 20th/21st century histories of race, class, gender, ability, and sexuality.

As in previous years, the workshop primarily looks at ongoing academic work from faculty and graduate students, including papers for academic publication, dissertation chapters, and conference presentations. Starting this coming year, however, the workshop will actively expand its remit to include non-standard works of prose: grant proposals, papers for “alt-ac” publication, journalistic writing, and other genres of writing that have become increasingly relevant to graduate students as the structure of academic work as changed. This transition keeps with ongoing initiatives at the University of Chicago to better prepare graduate students for the contemporary realities of academic work.

Thus, the 20th and 21st Century Cultures Workshop will provide a space not only for thinking critically about how academic knowledge is produced but also how it is presented—or, sometimes, not presented—to the broader society of which it is a part.

In the 2018-19 academic year, C20/21 is co-coordinated by Rivky Mondal and Jordan Pruett and sponsored by Professors Sonali Thakkar (English) and Alison James (Romance Languages).  We meet on Mondays, from noon-1:20pm, on even-number weeks during academic quarters.

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