The 8th IWL session took place on the serene campus of the University of Tokyo, erected north of the bustling Tokyo downtown and surrounded by national museums encircling the beautiful Ueno Onshi Park. I had the privilege of participating in this 8th session held in July among more than 120 scholars from 24 countries and 21 institutions.
In this session, the impressive program included four-week seminars taught by David Damrosch (Harvard), Christopher Bush (Northwestern), Pheng Cheah (UC Berkeley), Jing Tsu (Yale), Ursula Heise (UCLA), Mitsuyoshi Numano (U of Tokyo), Delia Ungureanu (U of Bucharest), Zhang Longxi (City U of Hong Kong), and Wiebke Denecke (Boston). Memorable guest lectures were delivered by artists and translators actively engaging with the worldly possibilities of text: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, a web artist duo based in Seoul; Motoyuki Shibata, a renowned Japanese translator; and the bilingual writer imagining between Japanese and German languages, Yoko Tawada.
As a first-year doctoral student, the Institute experience was inspiring both creatively and professionally. I presented developing ideas for my dissertation project on Korean Canadian Literature at the “Sociology and Literature” colloquium in participation with global scholars examining the intersectionality between literature and local and global contexts, including politics, culture(s), institutions, laws, and markets, through their research. The feedback I received from this colloquium offered a diversity of theoretical approaches to consider for my dissertation.
The relationship I built with students and scholars from various institutions also helped me to mark future opportunities for engagement and research dissemination. As one especially helpful engagement, I met doctoral students from South Korea, who offered invaluable advice regarding summer courses and archives pertaining to my research interests in links between modern Korean literature and literatures of the Korean diaspora. Motivated by these interactions, I will be exploring these interests further through a fieldwork research trip in South Korea in the upcoming fall semester!
When I attended the IWL, the summer school was hosted by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in joint partnership with Aarhus University. As in previous years, the institute was attended by over 150 scholars from 50 countries which made for a truly unique experience. The scholars I met and the conversations we had (to say nothing of the reading recommendations!) were the highlight for me, but there was so much that was wonderful about those four weeks.
I spent my seminar time enrolled in “Multilingualism, Translation, and World Literature” with Reine Meylaerts (KU Leuven, Belgium) and “Between Nations: Migrant Writing and the Cultural Meeting in the Text” with Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Aarhus University, Denmark). I enjoyed both seminars immensely but neither more than my weekly Postcolonial Colloquium, led by Tanutrushna Panigrahi (International Institute of Information Technology Bhubaneswar, India). Here I was fortunate to engage with PhD and MA students from South Korea, the United States, India, Austria, and Switzerland, whose work mobilized postcoloniality alongside Middle Welsh and Anglo-Latin Literature, Galician Literature, and Queer Islamic Oralities, to name a few intersections. Our conversations have stayed with me since those Tuesday mornings and I look back at my notes often.
Of our guest lecturers, I was most interested to hear from the then (see: Jean-Claude Arnault scandal) Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius. Her talk, “How to get the Nobel Prize in Literature”, left us all mystified as it revealed very little, if anything at all, about how one “gets” the Nobel prize or how the winner is selected. Everyone spent the following days discussing the lecture only to realize it had achieved its desired effect: further mystification. The fact that I am speaking about this today is testament to its reach!
Vanessa Evans is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at York University. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Calgary and an M.Litt. in Modernities from the University of Glasgow. Vanessa is currently a visiting lecturer at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.
“Want a different ethic? Tell a different story.” –Thomas King
Taking seriously Thomas King’s declaration, this year’s annual roundtable asks what world literature means for the graduate students of York University. This event seeks to create a space where hegemonic narratives can be contested. What might it look like to imagine world literature otherwise (Justice 2018)?
The World Literature Working Group is a student-led initiative that seeks to bring together scholars from a number of departments and disciplines to discuss the world as it pertains to literary, translation, and comparative studies. At this roundtable a panel of graduate student researchers will share ongoing work that sketches the contours of world literature at York University. Guests are invited to attend and are encouraged to participate in this discussion.
PANELISTS INCLUDE: Shoilee Khan, Angie Park, Zaynab Ali, Carolina De Souza, Tyler Ball
I attended the Institute for World Literature in the summer of 2016 when it was held at Harvard University. The program was attended by over 150 scholars from nearly 50 different countries in all. I enrolled in Eric Hayot’s seminar entitled “The Big and the Small,” which considered the importance of scalar models in world literature; as well as Paul Giles’ seminar on “Cross-temporalities,” which introduced temporal vectors to my analysis. There were plenary lectures given by Rebecca Walkowitz, David Damrosch, and Homi Bhabha. All of the professors regularly held office hours, so I was able to meet with Bruce Robbins, and Margaret Cohen to discuss my dissertation project. I presented my own work at the Postcolonial & World Literature Colloquium to colleagues working in related fields, and received excellent feedback.
Students who attend IWL were provided with a university library card, which in this case gave me access to the largest university collection in the world. Needless to say, I felt as though I’d died and gone to heaven. I used this opportunity to conduct research for a now published article, entitled “Sof’town Slueths: The Hard-Boiled Genre Goes to Jo’burg.”
Although the IWL is a valuable intellectual space, it isn’t just a place for research; there is plenty of opportunity to make connections and have some fun in the process. A short train ride away from Boston are the towns of Gloucester, Amherst and Concord—home to Charles Olson, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, to name but a few. My personal highlight, in this regard, was swimming in Walden Pond before taking a nap in the shade of Emerson’s garden—an experience I will not soon forget!
Socrates is an international, multi-disciplinary refereed and indexed scholarly journal interested in promoting research in Language and Literature, Philosophy, Political Science and Law. They are now accepting submissions for papers and creative pieces that engage with aspects of postcolonialism and postcoloniality for their upcoming special issue, Investigating Postcoloniality and Postcolonialism as the Empire Writes Back.
The deadline for submissions is February 28th, 2018. Click here to see their complete cfp and submission guidelines.
The University of Leeds is hosting an international three-day conference on world literature and its connections to cosmopolitanism, memory studies, and many other aspects of capitalist modernity including refugee crises, neo-fascisms and environmental disaster. Possible paper topics include:
Combined and uneven development
Postcolonialism and decolonial struggles
Literary sociology (e.g., print culture, book market, UNESCO)
Click here to view their full cfp, or here to visit their conference page.
The conference is scheduled to take place June 20th-22nd, 2018, but the deadline for abstract submissions is coming up very soon – January 15th!
The Department of Comparative World Literature and Classics of California State University in Long Beach is currently accepting abstract submissions for their 53rd annual conference, “Borders, Place, and Translations.” Possible paper topics include:
Political places such as the border, the city, the region, and the nation
Personal places in literature, film, and other media
Speculative and conceptual places such as haunted houses, mazes, and fictionalized landscapes
Digital spaces, social media, and the borders of selective community discourse
The concept of borders and their relationship to diaspora studies and identity studies
The locus classicus, or the “places” of literary texts
The relationship of language translation to place
The concept of translation beyond the linguistic
The deadline for submissions is February 2nd, 2018, and the conference will take place April 25th-26th, 2018. Click here to view their complete cfp.
The Colloquium Committee of York University’s English Graduate Students’ Association (EGSA) is now accepting abstract submissions for our annual conference. This year’s conference, “Just Representations: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Justice in World Literature,” will take place May 4-5, 2018. We welcome submissions on a variety of topics relating to the idea of justice in/and world literature. Possible paper topics include (but are not limited to):
Fictional representations of international criminal courts
Issues of justice in world literature
Fascism and eco-fascism
Representing/representations of the Holocaust
Voices of survivors of cultural genocide
Memory and poetics
Post-Apartheid drama and literature in South Africa
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a Canadian context
The case for and problematics of reparations
Indigenous resurgence, resistance, restitution
Critical Race Studies
Please submit a 250-word abstract for a 15-20 minute presentation, along with a short biographical statement, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is February 4, 2018. Click here to see our complete cfp.
As a complement to the colloquium, the theme of the 2019 issue of EGSA’s academic journal, Pivot, will also be “Just Representations.” The journal invites submissions for publication from colloquium participants.