The Literature & Society Laboratory (Lit&Soc Lab) aims to establish a platform for sharing theoretical and practical knowledge about the relationship between literature and society from across the humanities and social sciences. Mostly, we interrogate the overlap between literary studies, the sociology of literature, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and other related disciplines.
The teamwork is characterized by the overarching metaphor of a laboratory, which reflects the close cooperation and shared “epistemic culture” of the team members; the intensive and dynamic character of the research; and a stable institutional environment. The Lit&Soc Lab is structured according to three circles of collaboration. The inner circle, consisting of five team members, collaborates on a daily basis to create a “collective knowing subject.” To overcome methodological and conceptual as well as embodied and intuitive barriers between the disciplines, the inner circle forms a Kuhnian “normal science” anew on a collective basis. Importantly, there is also an intermediate circle―an international network of Lab Research Fellows. The intermediate circle participates in research as well as workshops and discussions addressing methodological, theoretical, and epistemological questions about the relationship between literature and society. The Lab also welcomes researchers who tackle these questions implicitly on the background of their empirical literature-oriented research. Finally, an outer circle composed of broader international networks relevant to literature-and-society research provides the Lab with institutional backing when organizing guest lectures, symposia, and conferences.
The Lit&Soc Lab was established in January 2024 as a part of the grant project “The Sociology of Literature Revisited: Towards Epistemological Symmetry within Literature-and-Society Research” funded by the Czech Science Foundation (ID 24-12400M, Institute of Czech Literature of the CAS). The Lab works under the Department of Literary Communication and Popular Culture at the Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences.