Critical Perspectives Series

The Critical Perspectives series aims to bring the analytical insights of scholars, theorists, and critics working in literary and cultural studies into our English classrooms and broader academic community at UNC Asheville. A complement to our Visiting Writers series, Critical Perspectives draws no hard line between “creative” and “critical” work but gives focus to speakers who model contemporary modes of analysis in literary fields. Series topics correspond with and enrich current classes offered by English faculty, and collectively range across various approaches and subjects (historical, cultural, theoretical, formal) in contemporary literary studies.   

Spring 2021

Kirstin Squint: Wednesday March 24, at 5:30 pm

Kirstin Squint, Whichard Visiting Distinguished Professor at East Carolina University, will present her lecture, “Native Southern Literature and EBCI Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle.” Squint has published and lectured on Native American literatures and cultures and U.S. multi-ethnic literatures, particularly in the Southeast. She is a contributor to the award-winning Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, and is the author of LeAnne Howe at the Intersections of Southern and Native American Literature and editor of Swamp Souths: Literary and Cultural Ecologies.


Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle: Wednesday March 31, at 5:30 pm

Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle will discuss her novel, Even As We Breathe. Clapsaddle, the first enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) to publish a novel, holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her first novel manuscript, Going to Water, is winner of The Morning Star Award for Creative Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium (2012) and a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (2014). After serving as executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Clapsaddle returned to teaching English and Cherokee studies at Swain County High School.


Toril Moi: Tuesday April 20, at 7:00 pm

Can there be something like a “Wittgensteinian” literary criticism? If so, what could it possibly be, given that Wittgenstein sought to make us give up the craving for generality? Through an analysis of “The Avoidance of Love,” Stanley Cavell’s epochal 1969 essay on King Lear, Toril Moi shows that a reading inspired by Wittgenstein will attend to the phenomenology of the act of reading itself. She will discuss attitudes and states of mind such as vulnerability and arrogance and explore that intense sense of conviction that the critic may experience as she reaches her new insights. The Wittgenstein-inspired critic  stakes herself —  her own perceptions and judgments — in the act of reading. But this is nevertheless not a “purely subjective” reading. Rather, as Cavell writes, “The problem of the critic, as of the artist, is not to discount his subjectivity, but to include it; not to overcome it in agreement, but to master it in exemplary ways.”


Past Events