EWL Professor Champions “The Value of Literary Studies” in Honors Day Speech

March 15, 2018
  • Dr. Julie Huntington, EWL
  • Dr. Julie Huntington, EWL
English and World Literatures professor Dr. Julie Huntington gave the keynote address at the 2018 Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society induction ceremony on Tuesday, March 13th as part of Marymount Manhattan College’s Honors Day.

As a lifelong student of literature, I love that the field of literary studies is constantly adapting in response to the contexts and conditions that surround the processes of reading, writing, production, and publication. I value the challenge and the stimulation. That being said, literary critics and philosophers are forever attempting to catch up with the innovative imaginaries expressed by writers on the pages of literary texts. The best writers, so it seems, are always so unfathomably yet incontestably ahead of their times. As such, literary critics are constantly retracing these meandering and often frenetically cadenced steps, striving to settle into a pace perhaps unattainable as the surrounding conditions and contexts that position critics in their respective geopolitical, linguistic, socioeconomic, cultural, and subcultural places in the world shift, a times dramatically but most often imperceptibly. For example, it wasn’t until 1994 that critic Mark Dery coined the term “Afrofuturism” in his essay “Black to the Future” even though African-American and African musicians, artists, and writers had been imagining and expressing Afrofuturist ideals and aesthetics for decades and arguably (… there’s a potential research article here… wink wink…) for centuries before. Through the study of literature, there is always the potential for insight, innovation, and impact. As readers, writers, and critics, students of literature are equipped with the tools to live each moment of a life less ordinary: fully, imaginatively, rhythmically, aesthetically, sensorially, analytically, empathetically… It’s a field of boundless possibilities… There is no limit.”


Read Dr. Huntington’s full speech here