[UPDATE] Spheres of Influence: Navigating World, Globe, and Planet February 23-24, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
UCLA Comparative Literature

New submission deadline is November 15th, 2011.

Call for Papers:

"Spheres of Influence: Navigating World, Globe, and Planet," UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference Thursday February 23rd and Friday February 24th, 2012.
Keynote: Wai Chee Dimock.

Graduate students in any discipline are invited to submit abstracts for "Spheres of Influence: Navigating World, Globe, and Planet," a conference hosted by the graduate students in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California Los Angeles.
The conference will provide a forum for emerging scholars to investigate the disciplinary concepts of world, globe, and planet and to share their research on any topic relevant to this year's theme.

"World," "globe," and "planet" refer to specific discourses with overlapping concerns. Phenomenology, for example, has frequently been concerned with theorizing the "world"-Husserl's notion of "lifeworlds", Heidegger's concept of "worlding," or Arendt's conception of "worldliness"-in order to investigate how human beings inhabit, manifest, and create worlds through work, social relations, and perhaps most importantly, art and literature. "World" might also invoke Edward Said's concept of "worldliness," or Emmanuel Wallerstein's "world systems theory," or it might refer more generally to "world literature," the term coined by Goethe in 1827 to invoke literature that envisions the intersection of literary practices across worlds, borderlands, and disciplinary boundaries. The term "globe," on the other hand, conjures political and economic concerns specific to the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. It invokes the alleged opposition between local and global, as well as discourses surrounding globalization, the transnational circulation of capital and commodities, and the role of cultural products as they traverse the globe with increasing speed and in increasing quantities.
Where "world" and "globe" refer to man-made discursive spheres, the term "planet" situates earth as material, as one sphere among others that orbit the sun. With this materiality in mind, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak conceived the term "planetarity," defined as the imagining of ourselves as planetary subjects rather than global agents. Planetarity calls for the formation of counter-collectivities against the "transnational popular" of global capitalism, and is also tied to the emerging field of Ecocritical Studies, which examines the environmental impact of an increasingly connected earth.

This conference seeks to ask: What kind of world do literatures create? What kind of comparative projects do these worlds enable? What is the critical valence of the term "world literature" and what are its limitations? Indeed, how do we define "world literature" itself?
How does literature participate in global economies? What is the role of translation in opening or stopping up the global flow of cultural products? Can there be a planetary literature, and what would it look like? What are the political and ethical implications of envisioning planetary literature over world literature or global literature?
Finally, what are the intellectual stakes of differentiating between the world, the globe, and the planet, between globalization, worlding, and planetarity? What are the virtues and limitations of these terms with regard to literature and literary practice?

Further questions to consider include but are not limited to:

* How have notions of world, planet, and globe over changed time and what are the historical factors that may shift our perception of worldiness?

* What are the specific geographic, national, artistic, and literary affiliations of world, globe, and planet?

* How do world, globe, and planet help us account for alternate modes of relation and movement across the world (i.e. migration, diaspora, colonization, transnationalism, exile, the status of refugees and displaced indigenous populations)?

* How might the discourses of local versus global, colony versus postcolony, utopia versus dystopia versus heterotopia, worldly versus otherworldly, terrestrial versus extraterrestrial expand, limit, or modify the notions of world, globe, planet?

* What is the role of geography and cartography in conceiving of the world, the globe, or the planet?

* What is the role of the visuality or of media, for example in satellite imagining, photography, and the internet?

* What specific art and literary practices, styles, and movements engage with world, globe, and planet?

* What can the world, the globe, and the planet tell us about comparative literature and comparative practices in the humanities?

* What is the role of translation? What gets translated and why, and how are translations circulated across the globe?

We are pleased to announce that this year's keynote speaker will be Wai Chee Dimock. Dimock is the William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University. She earned her B.A. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from Yale. Dimock experiments with close readings across a range of geographical regions and time-scales. Her most recent work, Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (2006), received Honorable Mention for both the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association and the Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. A collaborative volume, Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (2007), further elaborates on arguments concerning the intersection between American literature and World literature. She is currently at work on two books: an anthology, American Literature and the World, and a critical work, Many Islams: American Literature and the Diversities of a Lived Religion. Dimock was also a consultant for "Invitation to World Literature," a 13-part series funded by the Annenberg Foundation and produced by WGBH, that aired on PBS stations in the fall of 2010.

Please submit an abstract of 300 words and a current curriculum vitae to spheresofinfluence2012@gmail.com or by mail to:

UCLA Comparative Literature Department
350 Humanities Building
405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951536
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1536

The FINAL EXTENDED deadline for submission is November 15th, 2011.

Questions may be directed to spheresofinfluence2012@gmail.com.