Fall Faculty Colloquium 2018

Comparative Literature in the Age of Deglobalization

DIRECTORS: Ani Kokobobo, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Slavic Languages & Literatures; Marike Janzen, Assistant Professor, Humanities; and Luciano Tosta, Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese

Comparative Literature is a type of reading “across linguistic boundaries” that can be concerned with with literary influence or the migration of literary themes beyond national confines. This colloquium foregrounds comparative literary study at a moment in history in which the field offers particularly relevant modes of inquiry. Over the past several decades, “globalization” has served as a key term for scholars across multiple disciplines aiming to make sense of how an increased mobility of capital and people informs the creation of meaning. However, recent processes of “deglobalization” both reflect and require a new framework for understanding cultural practices. This colloquium seeks to illustrate how Comparative Literature, which offers tools for thinking about commonalities across difference, provides precisely this framework.

• How can comparative literature help us reconceptualize authoritarian government and come to terms with the more inchoate incursions of authoritarianism in the present?

• How might the past, or a plural cultural perspective help us interpret the concomitant “hardening” of national identities and the displacement and migration of people in the present?

• How are cultures performed at the level of narrative? How might such an analysis serve as an entry point for a broader analysis of cultural and political performance?

• How might an approach to otherness be more informed from a comparative literature perspective? How might the obliqueness of cultural relativity of otherness across linguistic, national, and even temporal boundaries shed light on how otherness is perceived in our time?

The colloquium will begin with readings about comparative literature methodologies, which will offer insight into the multiple disciplines that shape it, including area studies, translation studies, world literature, comparative literature, literary history, and cultural studies. These readings will set the stage for individual research projects to be presented in the colloquium, with a focus on how Comparative Literature may be just the discipline, or “indiscipline” (as some have called it) to help us combat the new onset of deglobalization, coupled with delusions of national singularity and exceptionalism.

All KU faculty, staff, and graduate students are welcome to attend Colloquium sessions. Meetings will take place in the Hall Center Seminar Room. Meeting times are subject to change. Please consult the Hall Center's website calendar for the most accurate information.

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