Transcultural Perspectives in Literature, Language and Culture
International Conference at Le Mans University
in association with the University of Latvia
May 19-20, 2022
Transcultural Perspectives in Language, Literature and Culture in the 21st century
The concept of transculturality, which has greatly evolved since its coinage by Fernando Ortiz in 1940, and its theorization by Wolfgang Welsch, and by Mikhail Epstein in the late 1990s, has been gaining ground as a new field of study in the humanities and social sciences. It has allowed for a fresh rethink of the idea of cultural globalization less from the angle of standardization but in terms of multiple intersections and an exponential development of diversities. “The “transcultural era is upon us,” Richard Slimbach proclaimed in 2005, and traced “transculturalism” as “the quest to define shared interests and common values across cultural and national borders.” Transculturality involves the deconstruction of concepts such as “society,” “class,” “nation,” “culture,” or “civilization” and the analysis of phenomena from various angles insisting “on the multipolarity, multiple perspectives, and transformative dynamics inherent to the research subject” (König, and Rakow).
Centers for Transcultural Studies have been created internationally, and in particular in Europe and the US, such as at the University of Heidelberg, Lancaster University, the University of Jean Moulin 3 in Lyon, or the University of Pennsylvania, each having a special focus or/and offering degrees. The Transcultural Studies Track is offered as an option in BA programs (e.g. American University in Washington) while the University of Michigan offers an accelerated MA program in Transcultural Studies. Obviously, there has been a transcultural rush which can make us wonder how the transcultural perspective has been transforming anglophone studies, and in particular American studies as the transcultural outlook has been eagerly adopted not only in the study of literature but also in linguistics and translation studies.
The works of writers in exile, im(migrants), colonized or from mixed unions have often represented in their relation to language this phenomenon of moving from one linguistic and cultural period to another; this shift was conducive to a singular language, specific to each author. Can we then talk of a transcultural literature or are the linguistic recreation processes too personal to be approached from this angle? How can their specificity fit into cultural studies? Doesn’t it immediately challenge patterns of thought? If Steven G. Kellman theorized literary translingualism, “the phenomenon of writers who create texts in more than one language or in a language other than their primary one,” the shift of focus to culture brought forth the theorization of transculturality in literary studies. While Ariana Dagnino’s study of transcultural writers, in Transculural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility, seems to be based on a sort of individual elitism, Elke Sturm-Trigonakis finally uses the term of transcultural literature for “hybrid texts” of “minorities literatures” within a new frame of reference, namely New World Literature (NWL). Should im(migrant) literature also be addressed under a transcultural perspective? What are the processes that lead from a multicultural perspective to a transcultural one? And should transcultural literature be studied within the frame of NWL, “a separate subsystem within the superordinate literary system, Literatures of the World”? What are the characteristics of transcultural literature? To what extent should it be differentiated from the translingual literature? What is the impact of translingual/transcultural literature on society? Does the “postmonolingual condition” (Yildiz), with its emphasis on the creative interaction between languages, and transcultural literature involve a clean break from the paradigmatic dichotomies of the North and the South,” “the West and the rest” or “the colonized and the colonizers”? What theoretical framework does the teaching of transcultural literature make necessary?
Not only in literary studies but also in translation studies the transcultural turn seems to be the successor of the cultural turn that gained recognition in the 1990s and raises several questions, and in particular the transcultural expertise of a translator. In linguistics, transculturality was adopted and a transcultural communication perspective was associated with English as a lingual franca (ELF) research. Moreover, transcultural communication, as noted by Andeas Hepp, “is part of a continuing academic discussion of globalization and mediatization. We could also address such issues as the role of linguistics in the study of transcultural communication.
This two-day conference, which explores transculturality with a special focus on the US, in two languages, English and French, invites papers on topics related but not limited to:
Genealogies of transculturality and Transcultural Studies
Transculturality and transnationalism
Transcultural literature and book industry
Transculturality and translation
We accept proposals for panels (3-4 speakers) or individual 20-min papers.
300-word abstracts, accompanied by a 100-word biographical note, should be sent as email attachments to
Aristi Trendel Aristie.Trendel@univ-lemans.fr
Indra Karapetjana firstname.lastname@example.org
François Thirion email@example.com
All the papers with positive reviews will be published in the conference proceedings.
Abstract submissions deadline: 15 November, 2021
Notification of abstract acceptance: by 17 December, 2021
Conference venue: Le Mans University, France
Conference date : May 19-20, 2022