About Us

Our Mission Statement

The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW) seeks to promote excellence in literary criticism and scholarship, and works to ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments. We encourage the reading and writing of literature, criticism, and scholarship, as well as wide-ranging discussions among those committed to the reading and study of literary works.

Panel Discussion at 2010 conference

Our History

In 1994, a group of professors of literature, critics, and imaginative writers, tired of lamenting the overly politicized debate about literary study in the academy, joined together to create a different kind of organization, one aimed at combating this intellectual partisanship. The founders represented many unique perspectives and literatures from ancient to modern, but shared a common exasperation with the narrow theoretical and sociological discourse that seemed to have gained ascendancy in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the eighties and nineties. We wanted a renewed and enlarged field of study, more freedom of thought and expression, and more lively exchange between scholars and literary artists.

We represented no political agenda. Our members ranged across a broad ideological (or non-ideological) spectrum. What held us together was the desire to create a forum where lovers of the word could carry on spirited literary debate and examine the arts of writing. ALSCW has made an important contribution to revitalizing the study of literature in the United States and beyond, and will continue to do so.

The goals of the ALSCW:

  • to provide space for encounters between scholars, critics, editors, and teachers, and fiction writers, poets, playwrights, and screenwriters;
  • to foster connections between the academic study of literature and the wider literary culture extending beyond the academy;
  • to sponsor and disseminate studies of curriculum and wider topics relating to literature (such as the teaching of composition, and the reading habits of a well-informed, critically alert citizenry;
  • to create links between the teaching of literature in primary and secondary schools, and instruction in colleges and universities;
  • to encourage debate and exchange between and among scholars of ancient and modern literatures, and between and among those who study Western texts and the texts of every culture and continent in the world;
  • to explore the literary dimensions of other arts, including film, drama, painting, and music;
  • to support, encourage, and guide the study of literature.