English beyond England: the elaboration/dissemination of ‘English’ as a literary discipline in the British Isles, the US and Commonwealth countries

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Call for Papers
August 29, 2018 to September 2, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Intellectual History, Literature

14th ESSE Conference, Brno, Czech Republic

29th August – 2 September 2018


Call for papers – Seminar 50:

This seminar explores the forms taken by ‘English Literature’ as an academic discipline around the English-speaking world; that is, in parts of the British Isles other than England,  the United States and the countries of the Commonwealth. It seeks to establish how similar or different the development of the discipline was in each setting and the degree to which each became a vector for the elaboration of specific local or national identities. Matthew Arnold’s construction of ‘literature’ as the expression of a timeless aesthetic ideal was central to the elaboration of the discipline in England; to what extent and in what ways could it be recuperated in other settings to construct alternative or rival gentilities that might serve divergent nationalist agendas? Alternative accounts challenging the primacy of the English universities or the Arnoldian imprint on the discipline are also welcome; as are accounts dealing with more recent diversifications of the contents of “English” or “English Studies”.

Potential participants are asked to contact the convenors by 15 February 2018.