Comparing the Incomparable: International Comparative Literature as Decentered Cross-Cultural Dialogue

deadline for submissions: 
May 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
The Editorial Office of International Comparative Literature, Shanghai Normal University (SHNU)
contact email: 

Comparing the Incomparable:

International Comparative Literature as Decentered Cross-Cultural Dialogue

(An ICL Young Scholar Forum

2021 Series: Panel No. 2)


Conference Time/Venue: Sept. 12, 2021/virtual event

Deadline for Abstract Submission: May 30, 2021

Deadline for Full Paper Submission: July 31, 2021

Contact Person: Ying Xiong,


Organizer: The Editorial Office of International Comparative Literature

Hosts: The Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Shanghai Normal University (SHNU)

The Innovative Team at the Research Center for Comparative Literature and World Literature, Shanghai Normal University (SHNU)


Conceptual difficulties of cross-cultural comparison, such as the untranslatability of periodicity and naming, stubbornly persist even in our age of globalization. To speak of the current status of comparative literature requires us to look back at critical historical moments when individual authors and artists around the globe reached across the monolithic tradition of periodization and regionalization for a consensus of world-making through literary imagination. With that in mind, we see in reciprocal invocations between literary worlds the possibility of unifying fragmented human experiences and feelings by opening up literary history to radical re-sequencing and a proliferation of new names. These include the varied ways in which the European term “Renaissance” has been appropriated and revalorized in modern settings by Irish, American, Chinese and Bengali writers, Ezra Pound’s bold compilation of Cathay, Wordsworth’s poetry as a site for Chinese translators to resuscitate traditional Chinese discourses on nature, and so forth.

This seminar aims to de-center comparison by turning attention to sites of cultural encounter unconfined by an Eurochronology long dominating the world republic of letters. Contributions which somehow speak to the theme of our session, or have a connection to questions concerning the undoing of periodization and regionalization in comparative literature and world literature such as the problem of translation, the unity of feelings, contradistinction and integration in patterns of literary influence, and de-dichotomized studies of culture, gender as well as transmedia storytelling, are particularly encouraged. That said, our first preference is for quality, and prospective attendees should not feel any obligation to adjust their primary research interests. Chinese and English will both be official conference languages, and participants are welcome to present in either language.


*Papers accepted and presented at our conference will receive special consideration to be published in International Comparative Literature (ICL) (Fudan University Press) (ISSN 2096-4897//CN 31-2148/I). ICL is a quarterly, bilingual (Chinese and English), international academic journal edited by the Research Center for Comparative Literature and World Literature at Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China.