Sociology-of-Literature-a-Palooza, April 2024


We’re in the midst of a busy month for the sociology of literature at Rutgers English. Usually the only person busy with the soc. of lit. is yours truly, but last week we welcomed a credentialed literary sociologist, Karl Berglund (Uppsala), in a double-header with Justin Tackett (Utah State) at the Initiative for the Book. Justin presented on “Clipped Reading” and the history of the intertitle; Kalle presented some of the findings from his terrific new book on audio readers—including the crucial question of how people go to sleep listening to novels.

This coming week, we have a packed Thursday and Friday in conjunction with the Colloquium on Independent Publishing. We welcome John B. Thompson from Cambridge to discuss his recent Book Wars: I’m on record with my enthusiasm for that book (and his previous work too), so I’m thrilled to have him at Rutgers. He’ll also be part of the broader discussion of independent publishing and the sociology of literature.

And I only just learned that the week after all this, there’s a big Bourdieu-fest happening at NYU! It’s April 25–27, with major figures from the Bourdieusian tradition including Gisèle Sapiro (blurbed by yours truly and also blogged by yours truly), Johan Heilbron, Mustafa Emirbayer, Gil Eyal, and John Guillory among other distinguished names. I’ll be there (when I can) in my specially made “Sociology is a Martial Art” dogi. Anyway, here’s the score for the events at Rutgers:

April 18, 2024
Second Colloquium on Independent Publishing

Academic Building West, Room 6501
15 Seminary Pl., New Brunswick, NJ

1:00 Lecture (in Spanish)
Editar literatura en lenguas originarias en el Perú
Dante Gonzalez Rosales (Pakarina Ediciones)
conversación moderada por Jorge Marcone (Rutgers)

4:30 Plenary Roundtable (in English)
Independent Publishing and the Sociology of Literature
Gustavo Guerrero (CY Cergy-Paris, Editions Gallimard)
Ana Cecilia Calle (Universidad Javeriana, Himpar Editores)
John B. Thompson (Cambridge, Polity Press)

April 19, 2024
Murray Hall, Room 302
510 George St., New Brunswick, NJ

12:00 Seminar with John B. Thompson (Cambridge)
The Digital Revolution in Publishing
hosted by Andrew Goldstone (Rutgers)

Abstract: What are the social forces shaping book publishing today? What new players and new relations has the digitization of production, distribution, and consumption introduced? And how has the book, print and digital, persisted and adapted in the face of the rise of Amazon, Google, and their ilk? John Thompson will discuss his recent book, Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing (Polity, 2021).

Pre-circulated reading from Book Wars: