UPDATE: [Cultural-Historical] "National Literatures in the Age of Globalization. The Issue of the Canon"

full name / name of organization: 
Liviu Papadima


University of Bucharest
Tudor Vianu Research Centre â€" project LIRCO
31 October â€" 1 November 2008


Keynote speakers:
Prof. Theo D'Haen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
Prof. David Damrosch (Columbia University, USA)

The world we live in is dominated by multiculturalism, by multiple
identity projects and witnesses a huge cultural production. Therefore,
the literary field is always changing, and in the process it transforms
not only the concepts by means of which we analyze it but also â€" more
importantly â€" its relationships to the contemporary cultural environment.
The conference organized by the Tudor Vianu Research Centre (the LIRCO
project) on 31 October â€" 1 November 2008 tackles a topic that has been
placed under intense scrutiny during the past few years: the issue of
cultural identity in the context of globalization. The themes we suggest
for discussion originated in questions such as: which are the instances
that define the concept of `national literature` in the 21st century? How
does the notion of globalization influence literary studies? Can we talk
of a `national literature` otherwise than in relation to a `global
literature`? Comparative literature, cultural studies, literary theory
and literary history are but a few of the disciplines bound to ask such
The conference is structured in 3 sections: the first one, mainly
theoretical, is meant to analyze the construction and functioning of
several concepts widely employed in the recent discourse of comparative
studies (European literature, globalization, canon and cultural
identity); the second one is focused on the image of Romanian literature
in contemporary Western culture and on the former’s strategies of (re)
defining its identity and promoting it on the European/ global market of
cultural goods; the third section â€" organized under the form of a
workshop â€" is oriented towards the educational system as a shaping factor
and a vehicle of the literary canon.

Proposals can be sent for any of the 3 sections of the conference (please
indicate which you prefer) and have to be related but not restricted to
the themes suggested below.

This section is devoted to several theoretical and methodological
questions that address the changes undergone by disciplines such as
comparative literature over the last decades, or the development of new
disciplines such as cultural studies, or the construction of new realms
of study (focused on issues of identity, globalization, and
multiculturalism). The main topic will be the interplay of concepts such
as ‘national’ and ‘global’ in the context of contemporary literature and
theory, from a perspective that would go beyond the traditional
dichotomic approach, in order to investigate how they interact in
building actual literary canon(s). Another major point of interest will
be the consequences of such debates for the literary institutions and for
the literary studies at large.
The debates in this section target especially comparatists, theorists,
specialists in the field of cultural studies.
Suggested topics:
 Identity, canon and cultural policies. Building the canon â€"
contextual/extra-aesthetic influences. The canon and the ethnic
dimension. National/ European/ global canon(s).
 « European literature » - reality, ideology, utopia. Constructing
the field. European literature as a side product of a European cultural
identity (which is itself in-the-making) and/or as a network of national
literatures, either “cosmopolitan” or not.
 Globalization â€" a new « grand récit » ? What does globalization
mean and how is it to be dealt with in the realm of literary studies?
 Writers and borders (linguistic, cultural, geographic…). Exile
and identity. Translations and self-translations, literary marketing
strategies, avatars of canonization, etc.


The relationship between Romanian literature and the Western culture as
well as the former’s situation within European literature have been
constant â€" and almost always debatable - concerns in the Romanian
cultural field ever since the beginning of modernity. The conference’s
second section questions the position of Romanian literature in a global
context, as well as the image of Romanian literature in the eyes of the
West. Thus we are interested in analyses of various marketing strategies
and mechanisms of legitimating Romanian literature abroad (by means of
translations into foreign languages, for instance, and the study of their
reception). We also welcome investigations of the stereotypes at work in
the process of interpreting/evaluating Romanian writers/ literature, and
of the forms of theoretical thinking over the “place of Romanian
literature in the world”.
The second section is meant for specialists in Romanian literature who
are interested in the following topics:

 In and /or out: (re)defining the Romanian literary canon in the
context of globalization. How does the Western canon interact
with “minor” literatures in the age of globalization?
 Cultural strategies of promoting Romanian literature. Case
studies. Romanian writers translated in foreign languages and the
reception of their works.
 Romanian literature and multiculturalism. What are the points of
reference we relate to when constructing Romanian literary canons?
Negotiating Romanian identity with migrant writers. The literature of
ethnic minorities in Romania.
 (Re)shaping the image of Romanian literature within current
frameworks of research: East/ West, minor/ major, centre/ periphery,
identity/ alterity, etc. The complex of periphery and the trap of
backwardness in Romanian literary theory and historiography. The
deconstruction of dichotomist patterns of interpreting the Romanian
literary institutions and their canon(s) â€" a practice to come?


One of the institutions that play a prominent part in building the
literary canon is education at all levels (school, university etc.). The
third section of the conference aims to undertake a comparative research
of the formation of a didactic canon and its functioning in several
European and non-European countries. This section is meant primarily for
specialists in educational policies and the teaching of literature.
Suggested topics:
 The didactic canon and the critical canon.
 Means of legitimating the didactic canon.
 The didactic canon between curricula and the practices of
teaching literature.
 The didactic canon in relation to the beneficiaries of the
educational system.

Scientific Committee: Liviu Papadima (University of Bucharest)
             Mircea Anghelescu (University of Bucharest)
             Mircea Martin (University of Bucharest)
             Bruno Mazzoni (Università degli Studi di Pisa)
             Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu (University of Western Ontario,
             Monica Spiridon (University of Bucharest)

Organizing Committee: Oana Fotache (oana_fotache_at_yahoo.com), Alexandra
Vrânceanu (alexandra_vranceanu_at_yahoo.com), Magda Răduţă

Co-organizer: Romanian Cultural Institute (www.icr.ro )

Paper proposals (title + a 200-250 words abstract in English,
French or Romanian) will be submitted by email to one of the following
addresses by
the 15th April 2008: oana_fotache_at_yahoo.com,
alexandra_vranceanu_at_yahoo.com, magda_raduta_at_yahoo.com (preferably
as a
word document attachment). Please include also a short biographical note
with your: name, institutional affiliation, email, research interests,
relevant publications.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by the organizers by the 10th May
The conference proceedings will be published in a collective volume at
the beginning of 2009.
More information will be soon available on the web site of Tudor Vianu
Research Centre at: www.ciscer.ro .

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Received on Mon Mar 31 2008 - 02:46:02 EST