“Systems Theories and the Study of Literature and Culture” introduces the ACLA Forum on systemic and empirical approaches for the study of literature and culture. While both micro- and macro-systemic approaches have been prominent in the study of literature and culture in European scholarship since at least the 1980s, these approaches remain under-utilized in humanities scholarship in the U.S. This essay provides definitions or tenets of systemic and empirical frameworks for the study of literature and culture and aims to show how these approaches highlight the social relevance of the study of literature.

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