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Session leader: Jack Clift (SOAS)

What is the “world” of world literature? Whose “world” is this, and is it possible to think in truly “worldly” terms about literature? In this session, we will interrogate what it means to speak of world literature in the age of globalisation and explore how recent developments in decolonial thought have prompted a reconceptualisation of world literature as both a textual corpus and a critical methodology. We will trace world literature’s nineteenth-century beginnings, its resurgence in the early twenty-first century and more recent attempts to “ground” the discipline in texts and practices at a local level, considering how world literature might best be formulated to take account of languages and literatures the world over. 

This session will involve small- and large-group discussions and those who register should be able to attend the full session and be prepared to interact with the session leader and the other participants. 

Recommended reading: 

Apter, E. S. (2013). Against world literature: On the politics of untranslatability. Verso. 

Damrosch, D. (2003). What is world literature? Princeton University Press. 

Deckard, S., Lawrence, N., Lazarus, N., Macdonald, G., Mukherjee, U. P., Parry, B., Shapiro, S., & Warwick Research Collective (Eds.). (2015). Combined and uneven development: Towards a new theory of world-literature. Liverpool University Press. 

Laachir, K., Marzagora, S., & Orsini, F. (2018). Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies: For a Ground-up and Located Approach to World Literature. Modern Languages Open, 2018(1), 19. 

Moretti, F. (2000). Conjectures on world literature. New Left Review, 54(1). 

Mufti, A. (2016). Forget English! Orientalisms and world literatures. Harvard University Press. 

Nirvana Tanoukhi. (2009). The Scale of World Literature. New Literary History, 39(3–4), 599–617. 

This training session on world literature is Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation. Co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies).

All welcome

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.