Literature scholars dedicate themselves to the study of language because we appreciate the power and value of beautifully crafted words. Yet, much writing by literary scholars is dry, dense, and jargon-laden. For a short while, Philosophy and Literature even hosted a “bad writing contest” to draw attention to this fact. UNF’s “Creative Criticism” initiative promotes a more thoughtful approach to literary knowledge production. Pieces shared in this space will create new knowledge about literature, paying close attention to aesthetics, form, and content, while pushing or defying the generic expectations of the traditional academic essay. These student projects will either examine a work of literature or that use literature to examine something else in the world: the writer’s own life, a historical moment, the concept of language itself… the possibilities are manifold.
While creative criticism has become an increasingly recognized approach to literary study in recent years, there are still very few opportunities for writers to share creative and analytical work with a wider audience. This project within UNF’s Digital Humanities Initiative allows student writers to share their careful undertakings with a broader public beyond our classroom walls. In this process, this project also aspires to encourage literary scholars around the world to play with form, to energize their prose, to question conventions, and to make new literary knowledge exciting again!
Jennifer L. Lieberman is an assistant professor of English. An interdisciplinary teacher-scholar, she specializes in American literature and culture, science and technology studies, gender and women studies, and critical pedagogy. Her first book, Power Lines: Electricity in American Life and Letters, 1882-1952 was published by MIT Press in 2017. She is currently working on a new project about incarceration, technology, and literature that grows from her years of experience in prison education outreach. Her writing has been inspired by creative-critical organizations, including a group at Cornell University called HAW! (Historians Are Writers). By initiating this project, she aspires to demonstrate that humanistic knowledge can simultaneously be sophisticated and creative. For more about Dr. Lieberman, visit http://www.jennilieberman.com/