Spectres of World Literature, 8-9 Spetember 2011

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Middlesex University / Institute of English Studies
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Spectres of World Literature

Institute of English Studies, University of London

8-9 September 2011

Over the last twenty years the idea of an ever more integrated 'global village' has become received wisdom. The impact on traditional academic disciplines in the humanities has been profound. In seeking to engage with the changes in the world system usually ranged under the banner of 'globalization', the fields of postcolonial, world and comparative literature have extended the scope of metropolitan literary studies. Yet all too often this has been to the detriment of inter- or multi-disciplinary research attentive to the structural inequalities underlying the production and reception of literary texts in what Franco Moretti (2000) has called the 'world literary system'.

The conference will bring together leading international scholars working in and around these areas who reject the triumphalist discourse of globalization and seek instead to recalibrate the field of world literature from a materialist postcolonial perspective.

We invite papers that consider these themes in the context of the current debates over the reconfiguration of disciplinary boundaries within the humanities and the impact of 'globalization' on comparative, world, and postcolonial literature. We are particularly concerned with the way in which approaches to this issue of 'globalization' have too often fallen back on an image of benign global cosmopolitanism and have failed to properly interrogate the structural inequalities that continue to produce an uneven, hierarchical global order. The aim of the conference is to promote discussion and analysis of both the encoding of such unevenness in narrative production and its effects on the circulation and reception of texts.

Keynote Speakers: Neil Lazarus, Benita Parry, Nicholas Brown, Sarah Brouillette

Interdisciplinary papers are welcome. Topics for papers or panels may include, but are not limited to:

• Narrative address and the 'imagined communities' thesis
• Area studies approaches to analysing the 'book chain'
• Fields versus circuits: theorising world book history
• Interdisciplinary methodological approaches to reading and reception in world literature
• Distant reading: the way forward for a sociology of the text?
• Peripheral Modernity: combined and uneven development and literary form
• Revenant modernities: spectres of failed or future utopia
• Gothic modes: materializing the global uncanny, phantomatic economies
• Genre fiction as world fiction: crime, sf, fantasy, 'weird' fiction
• World literature and pedagogy (especially in developing nations)
• The marketing of world literature

This conference is organised by James Graham (Middlesex University), Mike Niblett (University of Warwick) and Sharae Deckard (University College Dublin).

Individual papers should be no longer than 20 minutes. Please send a 300-word abstract and a biographical sketch of no more than 150 words to James Graham at j.graham@mdx.ac.uk by 25 March 2011.

Proposals for panels (3 speakers) are also welcome: please include a 200 word rationale for the panel and a brief summary of each paper and contributor.

A small number of travel bursaries (of up to £250) will be made available to outstanding scholars travelling to London from outside of Western Europe or the United States. If you wish to apply for one of these bursaries, please include a CV and an additional 200 words making your case.