Transnational Dimensions of Literature and the Arts

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Department of English, University of Bucharest

The English Department of the University of Bucharest invites proposals for the Literature and Cultural Studies section of its 16th Annual Conference:

Transnational Dimensions of Literature and the Arts

Dates: 5-7 June, 2014
Venue: The Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
Str. Pitar Mos 7-13, Bucharest, Romania

Invited Speakers:

James H. Cox (University of Texas at Austin)
Mădălina Nicolaescu (University of Bucharest)
Azade Seyhan (Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania)
Mads Rosendhal Thomsen (University of Aarhus)

The transnational paradigm has been a very rapidly developing conceptual framework, particularly in the present age of globalization, given the present tendency to transgress national boundaries and to go beyond structures centred on the "national". As Steven Vertovec points out, since the nineties there has been a continuous rise of interest in the transnational in an impressive number of directions: communities, capital flows, trade, citizenship, corporations, inter-governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, politics, services, social movements, social networks, families, migration circuits, identities, public spaces, public cultures. Transnationalism has almost become ubiquitous in social sciences and the humanities and consequently ambiguous or polysemic, so that its use needs further contextualizing. Its close relationship to globalization, to the point where the two terms are often used interchangeably, further complicates the conceptual muddle and calls for a restriction of the area of its meanings.

In the humanities, transnationalism has been employed both to describe situations produced by contemporary cross-border movement and to provide a new perspective on the study of practices, discourses and products associated with this movement. In studies such as Azade Seyhan's Writing Outside the Nation (2001), Mads Rosendhal Thomsen's Mapping World Literature (2008), Steven Vertovec's Transnationalism (2009) or Sten Pultz Moslund's Migration Literature and Hybridity (2010), transnationalism has played an important part in the theoretical discourses around diasporic cultures, postcolonial identities, migration literatures, the issue of reconceptualizing world literature and of remapping the location of national literatures.

This conference proposes both a theoretical discussion referring to the present need to go beyond the modernist fixation with the "national" as the template employed in literary and cultural studies and a more applied approach that insists on the cross-border circulation of motives, texts, writers throughout the history of literary movements.

We invite papers in English addressing (but not limited to) the following topics:

- the transnational circulation of motifs, themes, topics and their interaction and subsequent "hybridization" with local motifs;
- the transnational movement of writers – starting with travellers (travel literature, etc.) and continuing with migrants (diaspora literature, post-colonial literature "revisited", literature of bilingual writers)
- the transnational circulation of texts (translations, adaptations, transmedia adaptations, globalization of texts);
- rethinking national literatures as sites of intersection of transnational movements (see the current rethinking of American literature in transnational terms; can this approach be "exported" and applied to other national literatures?)
- diasporic literatures, postcolonial literatures, ethnic literatures, global literatures in English, literary tourism as products of transnational negotiations of meaning;
- rethinking world literature as a site of transnational exchange, and hence of the meanings of transnational canonical works versus the canonical ones;
- teaching transnational literature, involving the teaching of foreign literatures as different from the teaching of the "national", local/native ones;
- transnational structures of critical reception – world-famous associations such as the MLA, ESSE, MESEA, EAAS, MELUS etc., or prize awarding organizations.

Presentations should be in English, and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion.Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 200 words (including a list of keywords) in Word format, with an indication of their institutional affiliation, a telephone number and e-mail address at which they can be contacted, and a short bio of up to 100 words. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organized by the participant) will also be considered.

A selection of papers will be published in University of Bucharest Review (ISSN 2069–8658; listed on EBSCO, CEEOL and Ulrichsweb; CNCS category B).

Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2014.
Please send proposals (and enquiries) to

The conference fee of 50 euro or equivalent in Romanian Lei is payable in cash on registration, and covers lunches and refreshments during the conference, but not evening meals.

For further details and updates, see .

Enquiries regarding the Linguistics section of the conference, which will be running at the same time as the Literature and Cultural Studies section, should be sent to .

We look forward to welcoming you in Bucharest.

The organizing team
Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru
James Brown
Eliana Ionoaia
Martin Potter
Ruxandra Rădulescu
Ioana Zirra