Skip Navigation

Current Groups

Skip Side Navigation

Working and Reading Groups

Working Groups

CLS Working Groups are offered regularly by the Center. Their focus is broad and interdisciplinary. They examine the figures, forms, genres, theories, histories, and/or methodologies that would be of interest to participants from several different fields in literary studies. 

Additional Working Groups may be added according to participant interest. Groups will meet in Dunham College.

Every Second Friday of the Month from 12:30PM-1:20PM on Zoom

Meeting and Zoom Information

Zoom Meeting ID: 975 7951 6307

Password: biG@AS#6

A technique that spans disciplines, close reading has been essential to literary studies but has changed since the New Critics. This group puts our techniques of close reading to work. Each month, participants focus on a page or two from a literary text led by a different moderator who offers a brief presentation on relevant contexts and details and then opens the discussion to the group for close reading and analysis. Texts are chosen by participants. Open to all faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate) interested in literary studies.

Join the CLS listserv ( for readings and meeting information. 

Working Group Contact: David Anderson ( for information and accommodations. 

Center for Literary Studies. Working Group in Close Reading. Every second Friday of the month. 12:30PM-1:30PM. Zoom Meeting ID: 97579516307. Password: biG@AS#6. Zoom link: Email David Anderson ( or CLS (dg@ou.ed) for readings and Zoom information  Please contact CLS or Dr. Anderson ( for accommodations.

This group is on hiatus for 2020-2021.

The close reading working group is about enjoying literature in community. Each month a different presenter distributes 1-2 pages of poetry or prose, offers a few preliminary thoughts on its context, and then leads a discussion. All are invited to join in the work of interpretation. There is no reading prior to the meeting and dissenting views are actively encouraged. Faculty and students are welcomed. This is a chance to hear from experts about the authors dear to them, but also about the power of fresh eyes to see things happening on the page that an expert might miss.

Fall 2020 Theme: Rhythm, Meter, Prosody.

Every Third Friday of the Month from 12:30pm-1:30PM on Zoom

Meeting and Zoom Information

Zoom Meeting ID: 919 2153 4370

Password: 01958376

Exploring theories in the field of poetics, this group meets monthly to read and discuss influential thinkers, concepts, and methods on interest to the attendants of these sessions.

This group will cover a set of essays on prosody and form. We'll start on Jakobson's classic statement on linguistics and poetics, then turn to Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht's discussion of rhythm, embodiment, and epistemology "Rhythm and Meaning," and conclude with a recent work of "historical poetics" on the problem of meter in modernism.


  • Roman Jakobson, "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics" 
  • Hans Gumbrecht, "Rhythm and Meaning" 
  • Ben Glaser, Modernisms's Metronome: Meter and Twentieth-Century Poetics (excerpts)

Join the CLS listserv ( for readings and meeting information. 

Working Group Contact: Justin Sider ( for information and accommodations.

Reading Groups

CLS Reading Groups are affiliated with the Center. Unlike the Working Groups, which are more broadly conceived, the focus of the Reading Groups may be very specific, as narrow as one author or text. These groups may be more disciplinary in focus in their choices of figures, forms, genres, theories, histories, and/or methodologies. The focus of each group depends solely on the participants.

Fall 2020 Meeting: 10/13 @ 1:00PM-2:00PM on Zoom

Contact: Jeannette Davidson ( or Daniela Garofalo (


Meeting and Zoom Information (10/13 @ 1:00PM-2:00PM)


Meeting ID: 923 0029 3786

Passcode: 84658587


In fall 2020, the Reading Group on African American Literature will continue its exploration of the work of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. We will conclude our reading with the last novel of her trilogy, Paradise (1999). Because of the limitations posed by Covid, we cannot provide books for our participants this semester. All are welcome. Here is a description of the novel from a back cover: "They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time." So begins this visionary work from a storyteller. Toni Morrison's first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Paradise opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma."

Fall 2020 Meeting Date: 11/20 from 2:00PM-3:30PM on Zoom

Contact: Katy Krieger (

Meeting and Zoom information (11/20 from 2:00PM-3:30PM)

Meeting ID: 943 2349 9612

Passcode: 67492822

Our reading group will explore playwrights whose works center queerness, Blackness, and queer Blackness. Selections are inspired by a recent article in Playbill and include texts from Aziza Barnes, C.A. Johnson, and Griffin Matthews. We will read scripts, look at the poetic works that inspired performances, and even watch pieces of these productions. The plan is to host this reading group for the entire 2020-2021 academic year, and to cover 3-4 texts per semester. Texts will be provided digitally and will be free to all participants. This reading group will collaborate to come up with a shared time to meet virtually on Zoom to discuss the works--this may be once per month for an hour or once per semester for a longer chat. Details for meetings will be determined by the group and will accommodate all. All are welcome to join this group and participate at any given point.

Contact Katy Krieger ( or Daniela Garofalo ( for information and accommodations. 

flyer, social media post, see description for more information

Fall 2020 Meeting Dates: 10/15 and 10/29 at 4:30PM on Zoom

Contact: Karin Schutjer (

Meeting Zoom Information (Thursday 10/15 and 10/29 from 4:30PM-5:30PM)

Meeting ID: 967 1917 5616

Passcode: MayOpitz

In 1984, the Black American writer and activist Audre Lorde served as a visiting professor at the Free University in West Berlin where she gathered around her a group of Afro-German women (a term they coined together). Among these women was a young poet named May Opitz, who would later become famous under the pen name May Ayim. In the wake of these encounters, Opitz and two co-editors, Katharina Oguntoye and Dagmar Schultz, created a collaborative volume called Showing our Colors (Farbe Bekennen), which combines academic study, personal reflections, and poetry, and which became a founding text of Black German studies. In two meetings we will read the prefaces and introductions as well as material from the final chapter “Racism Here and Now.” (Approx. 50 very readable pages per meeting, which will be provided as pdf.)

Contact Karin Schutjer ( or Daniela Garofalo ( for information and accommodations. 

flyer, social media post, see description for more information

Fall 2020 Meeting Dates: First Friday of Each Month (beginning in October) on Zoom

Contact: Ellen Greene (

First Meeting (10/2 from 12:30PM-1:30PM)

Zoom Information

Meeting ID: 954 4868 6238

Passcode: b4C1k3fL

Second Meeting (11/6 from 12:30PM-1:30PM)

Zoom Information

Meeting ID: 965 2368 4314

Passcode: 4Vr2VqF=

The study of race in Classical Antiquity has emerged as one of the most exciting trends in classical scholarship. Denise McCoskey's book, Race: Antiquity and its Legacy, is, perhaps, the most significant book published on this subject in recent years. This group will read excerpts from McCoskey's book. The book addresses the development of ideas about race in the ancient world. It also traces the ways Greek and Roman racial ideologies continue to resonate in modern life. This is especially relevant, given the appropriation of ancient discourses of race and ethnicity by white supremacist groups. Our group will use McCoskey's book as a point of departure for a wide-ranging discussion of how Classical constructions of race have profoundly affected modern notions of racial identity.  

Email Ellen Greene ( or Daniela Garofalo ( for information or accommodations.

Flyer, posted on social media for reading group

Setting Up a Reading Group

To set up a CLS Reading Group, send a proposal to the CLS board. Once the group has met for a semester and has gained a good number of regularly attending participants (over 5), the group can apply to the board for financial support for refreshments and/or books. The total amount available for each group per year is $200. If space is available, Reading Groups may meet in Dunham College. Otherwise, several spaces in the library are useful for group meetings.