Joint Special Issue: (Non-)Geographical Futures of Comp Lit JUNE 30, 2013
Recent understandings of world literature have moved away from a focus on delineating canons of geographically-distributed great works, and towards describing a complex process of influence and reaction between increasingly-porous national and linguistic boundaries. As the discipline that most clearly claims responsibility for understanding literature beyond such boundaries, does Comparative Literature need to follow in the tracks of its object of study and somehow deterritorialize itself? As well, what would such a project mean, in terms of new methodologies, objects of study, disciplinary self-conceptions, development of linguistic and literary competencies, and interdepartmental or international research collaborations?
In April 2012, faculty and graduate students from Peking University and the University of Alberta met for a bilateral colloquium on the subject of how the discipline of comparative literature can continue to reorient itself in a world where the nature of human relationships to geography are in constant reconfiguration. Building on the success of this colloquium, organizers have decided to invite papers for a joint special issue project from the community of comparatists worldwide. Tentatively scheduled for publication in early 2014, all accepted papers will be published in two languages: once in either English or French in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, and once in Chinese in CCLA Journal of Comparative Literature and World Literature.
Possible research topics might include, but are not limited to: the ongoing construction of "world literature"; national Comparative Literature departments and intra-national research projects; the future of postcolonialism, theory and practice; the relation of geographical boundaries to genre boundaries; the online persistence of virtual cultural geographies; transnational transgender; the spatiality of minority and exilic literatures; the relationship of post-national and pre-national patterns of cultural exchange; the unequal institutional distribution of given discourses between departments or between nations; the post-spatial and the post-human; linguistic limits to the "return of the aesthetic"; etc.