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CFP: Literature, Geography, Translation: The New Comparative Horizons (Uppsala University 11-13 June 2009)

Comparative literature is currently undergoing critical changes. Transnational and global paradigms of study are emerging to supplant the discipline’s earlier Eurocentric framework; circulation, translation, postcolonialism and “world literature” have become the focus of overlapping debates which expand the horizon of literary studies. The complexity of these theoretical and methodological developments should not be underestimated, however. While “the globe” may be an enticing frame of reference, no one, as Gayatri Spivak reminds us, actually lives there. Or, as Franco Moretti argues, the concept of “world literature” may have have been with us for two centuries, but we still don’t know what it is.The warp and weft of literature as it is written, read, distributed and translated remains the historically dense and often discordant experiences of language, places, intellectual networks, and economic and political inequities. It is, perhaps, only by continually engaging this tangle of specificities that the call for “global” literary studies will prevail.

The Departments of Literature and English at Uppsala University, in collaboration with the University of Oslo, will host a conference in Uppsala, Sweden, on 11-13 June 2009 on this theme. Papers should address, mutatis mutandis, each of the terms “literature”, “geography” and “translation” within a transnational frame. Possible panels may include:

  • Notions of world literature from Goethe to Moretti, Casanova and Damrosch
  • Postcolonial translation
  • Geographies of literary translation
  • Histories of literary translation
  • Transnational literary networks
  • Literature and the circulation of print
  • The local, the national and the global in literary historiography
  • Translating genres
  • Place, space and geography in literature
  • Translingual aesthetics

Confirmed keynote speakers at the conference will be Susan Bassnett (Warwick), Wai Chee Dimock (Yale), Isabel Hofmeyr (Witwatersrand) and Peter Hulme (Essex). Proposals for papers (no longer than 200 words) should be submitted before 1 October 2008 to one of the three e-mail addresses noted below. Notification of acceptance of proposals will be sent out no later than 31 January 2009. Please note: the number of participants is limited.