How can literature engage readers and speak to matters of concern, inspire attachments, weave affiliations, or forge collectives? How can literature be useful to readers and in society – and what are the dynamics between the actors involved? These are some of the questions that have been explored in the research project Uses of Literature – The Social Dimensions of Literature, which took place at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) from 2016 to 2021 under the guidance of Niels Bohr Professor Rita Felski.
This journalistic report highlights the most important insights, discussions, and results that have emerged from the five years of collaborative research at SDU through interviews with more than twenty scholars. The research presented in this publication covers topics such as narrative medicine, new sociologies of literature, literary perspectives on love, gender and recognition, new approaches to teaching, as well as precarity and the social dimensions of literature.
The report aims to open up the rich portfolio of research that has been conducted at SDU – and make it available to other scholars as well as actors outside of academia, such as teachers, librarians, and readers. Both the report and the research project have been funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.