Welcome to the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism

Study Group Interest form and email sign up here

Meetings: Tuesdays 6-7pm on the 4th floor Student Activities Center (333 E Campus Mall) in room 4001

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SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN (due March 8th and 15th): please see our submission guidelines page for more details.

Our Fall 23 Edition is HERE

A huge thank you to all of our contributors, collaborators, and of course, our staff, for putting together our 13th Edition, Resistance.

Print copies are available for pick up in and around the Madison area. See our instagram for more details.

About Us

The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism is an international publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We operate first and foremost as an abolitionist study group. Through our lessons, readings, and discussions, we aim to create a foundational understanding of ecological abolition, the carceral state, and systemic harm. This foundation then influences how we curate an anthology of works for publication. We (in both the study group and the magazine) are committed to investigating why things exist the way they are and how else they might be.

For years, we have worked to showcase efforts from the brightest student minds from across the country. We have aimed to provide a forum for undergraduate students to publish their scholarly work and engage in the contemporary literary debates ongoing in the academic community at large. Until the Spring of 2022the MJLC consisted of 8-15 academic articles chosen for their originality, eloquence, internal coherence, and quality of engagement with academic scholarship.

Following Summer of 2022, we have expanded our form to better carry out our intended purpose. Literary criticism is never isolated to an academic setting or format. Literary criticism examines things as they are and asks why it is/was established in such a way. It consists of asking questions, dreaming big, engaging in conversations, producing art, and thinking critically in all environments. To better showcase the vast potential of literary criticism and promote the study of critical thinking, the MJLC has transitioned from being a publication to being a study group that works to create. We have transitioned from being a collection to becoming a collective. 

Meeting once a week, the MJLC is composed of students, activist stakeholders, and community members from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Our group engages in contemporary literary debates in the form of open forums, discussions on weekly readings, and written reflections. Simultaneously, our group’s executive board works to read and review submissions in poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, academic essays, and art. 

Our final journals hope to serve as an anthology whose production is a form of literary criticism itself. It will soon be composed of submitted works, staff-written features, and collaborative spreads with other community organizations. We cannot wait to share our forthcoming journals with you. 

“The journal is not confined to a single literary perspective or system of analysis; rather, it strives to reflect the richness and diversity of critical thought that thrives at the undergraduate level.”

– Ria Dhingra

An Abolitionist Effort

When we say the word “abolition,” what often comes to mind is the destruction of prisons, defunding the police, or criminal justice reform. But that is only part of what we mean by abolition. For us, abolition begins when we ask ourselves:

1. What would a world look like in which the Carceral State did not exist? 

2. What practices and resources would have to exist in order for this world to function? 

3. Where do those practices and resources already exist in our current world?

We define abolition as asking why and dreaming of more. 

In our study group and magazine, we use abolition as a method and a practice, not just a topic about prisons and incarceration. This practice of asking questions is an approach that can inspire a vast range of creative and critical activities on just as wide a range of topics. These questions in particular are broad enough to provide a framework for our group to cover any and all applicable topics. We believe that writing that gets to the root of questions and imagines other kinder, freer paths towards the reduction of institutional harm, is abolitionist. In such writing, even if abolition is never mentioned, it will have been practiced. If you could dream of a world with less harm – what would it look like? 

For more information, you can see our research and educator toolkits here or check out our external resources page!

Contact Us

email us with any questions at mjlc_rso@wisc.edu