Funded by the European Commission (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, 2020), the TOPCRIT project aims to produce a richer, more inclusive understanding of the concept of post-criticism by studying the pioneering role of women in contemporary literary-critical culture. Working at the cutting edge of debate on the functions, forms and futures of criticism, the project will use a combination of interdisciplinary scholarship and innovative technologies to document, investigate and disseminate experimental literary-critical writing by women, providing the first account to date of women’s contributions and challenges to the ‘post-critical’ paradigm. To ensure maximum impact and visibility, project outputs will be shared in formats and contexts designed to influence state-of-the-art academic debate and curricular models. A vibrant outreach strategy has been developed to spark wider public interest in the ways ‘literary’ texts and forms can perform key critical functions, and to strengthen women’s key role in contemporary critical conversation.
The research outputs of TOPCRIT are targeted primarily at international academic researchers in the fields of literary theory and criticism, contemporary literature, and comparative literatures. Research results will be published in indexed academic journals as well as in formats intended for wider consumption, with shorter, snappier versions published in non-academic media outlets such as cultural supplements and magazines. Results will be streamlined and hosted on a bespoke digital platform, including a live bibliography and a forum for discussion and sharing of research. An international conference, local smaller-group presentations, and a public outreach event are envisaged as part of the project itinerary.
The main research arc of TOPCRIT contributes to the fulfillment of Objective 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. In particular, the project contributes to the following targets: 5.1 to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere; and 5.5: to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of political, economic, and public life.
The impact of TOPCRIT will be spread over a period of three years of active research, publication, and dissemination led by the MSCA Fellow, Dr. Elizabeth Sarah Coles, in collaboration with the project Superviser, Prof. Sonia Arribas, with a final research output submitted for publication following completion of the project. TOPCRIT’s academic and public dissemination activities are envisaged to provide both medium- and longer-term sustainability to the project and its research questions, provoking on-going debate and discussion within and beyond the university, as well as individual and collective publications. The impact of the project beyond the period of funding will be extended by means of the online community and research sharing facility hosted by the project’s bespoke digital portal, and, in the years following completion of the project, through the creation of a flagship research group studying contemporary literary-critical cultures, forms, and media.