Is World Literature the new, upgraded version of Comparative Literature (Comp Lit 2.0) or rather an attenuated, impoverished version of the latter? What unites us, and what divides us, especially considering that many World Lit faculty are drawn from Comp Lit backgrounds? How do we, practitioners in these fields, rethink these disciplines for the era when humanities as such are under constant attack? In this session, we hope to discuss our shared ground and our shared challenges. This roundtable is organized by the NeMLA World Literature Working Group as a yearly forum for discussing theoretical and historical issues, pedagogy and curriculum, and new directions in the field of World Literature. This year, as we will explore the boundaries and overlaps between the fields of World Literature and Comparative Literature, we invite papers that explore individual and institutional experiences; reflect on the twin disciplines’ present, past, and future; discuss key concepts and metaphors we use; interrogate how we work through the tensions between major and minor, European and non-European literatures; and navigate issues of translation. The purpose of this yearly forum is to continue building a robust regional network of World and Comparative Literature scholars. Possible topics could include (but are not limited to) experiences of people from Comp Lit backgrounds teaching in World Lit positions; experiences of people from English backgrounds teaching in World Lit positions; worries that World Lit may diminish the presence of Comp Lit programs; and/ or some of the current controversies faced by World Lit practitioners in an era when World Lit may be tokenized or politicized by forces beyond the instructor.
Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and must be submitted by September 30. To submit an abstract, please create a free account through the NEMLA online portal (https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login). The conference takes place March 21-24, 2019 in Washington D.C.
Roundtables at the Northeast Modern Language Association conference are defined on the NeMLA webpage as follows: “3-8 participants give brief, informal presentations (5-10 minutes) and the session is open to conversation and debate between participants and the audience.”