What Does/Should Citizenship Look Like In Literary Scholarship?

Laura Ellen Scott

This is a tangle of thoughts, so bear with me.

In the writing world we have a culture of support that we call “literary citizenship,” and it includes activities like writing reviews, holding readings, buying books, and finding creative ways to make the world aware of all the great reads that are out there, especially in the indie markets.  We keep tabs on each other, for competitive and inspirational reasons, and when someone drops off the radar, there is at the very least, gossip about their absence. I’ve noticed also that in my academic life (20 years in an English Department), my colleagues and I have more successful, sustained relationships with our alumni who specialized in writing, folklore, linguistics, and media studies than with any from our literature disciplines.

This difference in connection beyond the classroom becomes especially clear when, on an annual basis we ask an…

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