Intersecting Global Modernism and World Literature
The recent global turn in modernist studies prompts timely questions about the intersections between global modernism and world literature, and the role that global modernism plays within the study of world and comparative literature. In their article “The New Modernist Studies,” Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz argued for an “expanded” vision of modernism that reconsiders canonical figures and texts, contests canonicity’s traditional limits, and redefines temporal and geographical coordinates beyond Anglophone traditions and Eurocentric frameworks. Scholars such as Laura Doyle, Simon Gikandi, Gayle Rogers, Susan Stanford Friedman, Laura Winkiel, and Mark Wollaeger have variously reevaluated and redefined the legacy of modernism in order to reactivate its potential for innovative comparative and interdisciplinary scholarship. The lexicon elaborated to discuss such modernist expansion increasingly intersects with the theorization of new reading practices, literary networks, translational models, and comparative frameworks advanced in world literature scholarship by Emily Apter, Alexander Beecroft, Pheng Cheah, David Damrosch, Eric Hayot, and Aamir Mufti, etc.
When placed alongside each other, global modernism and world literature converge in, at least, two fundamental ways. First, there is a common interest in defining, explaining, and understanding notions of global and world from various geographical and temporal coordinates and through an inclusion of non-European traditions. Second, this interest often produces competing and irreconcilable articulations of the global in relation to modernism or the world in world literature. How do we reconcile notions of the global/world? How global has modernism truly become? How expansive are the new articulations of world literature? Are there potential limitations in turning to the global or the world to renew fields of study, literary scholarship, theories, methodologies, and archival networks?
This seminar invites papers that examine the tensions and possible sites of productive scholarship between global modernism and world literature. To what extent are these two fields in dialogue or in conflict with each other? Keeping in mind the rather thorny and complicated genealogies of “global,” “world,” “modernism,” and “world literature,” what are some theoretical and practical moves that we, as scholars, can put forth to avoid the pitfalls of imposing or reproducing Anglophone/Eurocentric models? How do local literary or artistic traditions reconcile with notions of global modernism and world literature emerging from U.S. and European academia and primarily articulated in the English language? How do global modernism and world literature challenge or redefine areas studies or national literatures? How do they impact our teaching and professionalization? We particularly welcome papers that provide theoretical articulations alongside case studies.