A weekly forum for lively, informal discussions of cutting-edge topics in literature and culture

Essays | Podcasts | Video | Poems | Fiction

Fridays 12:301:30 EST, FALL 2020


Each week, we’ll dive into a current topic via one or two pieces designed to get our brain juices flowing. These may be online essays, podcasts, video clips, poems, or snippets of fiction—carefully selected to be both provocative and short, ideally no more than 20 minutes worth of attention before the session begins. The convenor or host for that week will get things going with a few observations, and then we’ll be off and running, following the thread of ideas wherever it leads. At the sessions, you’ll meet students and faculty in English and related fields and find a shared casual space to talk about the texts and issues you care about.

Anyone with a Harvard Key—whether you are currently enrolled or on leave—can join LitLab. All you need to do is logon to the LitLab Canvas page with your Harvard Key, and join the Zoom room. You are welcome to share this invitation with anyone in the Harvard community that you think might be interested. We’ll send periodic updates about the discussions and what’s on the horizon, and any spin-off groups that crop up as we go along.

BYO tea, coffee, snacks, or other nourishment and join us for some enjoyable conversation and pandemic distraction. We can’t wait to see you soon.

Upcoming Sessions

Session 10
Week of November 9

Harvard Reads: Guest Lectures/Speakers, Ibram X. Kendi

This week we’ll watch and discuss a public lecture by a literary figure currently at Harvard. Ibram X. Kendi, currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is an author and professor at Boston University, where he directs the Center for Anti-Racist Research. Kendi's book How to Be an Anti-Racist was a New York Times #1 Bestseller in 2020. He is also the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (2016) and numerous journal articles and op-eds on race in America.

watch: Ibram X. Kendi, 'On Antiracist Research: Its Approach, Its History, Its Impact'

Session 11
Week of November 16

On the Cusp: New and Emergent Media / Digital Humanities

Digitally-generated content is now a huge part of what we read and write--from blogs and social media to internet fan fiction and web-born poems. Digital tools are also increasingly important in the production of knowledge in the humanities. This week, we’ll look at the ways that medium shapes message and how literature involves computing, science, graphic design, media theory, and artificial intelligence. How do web-based media impact the way we read, write, and analyze literature?