Literature and Global Responsibility

Stefano Bellin's picture
Call for Papers
October 31, 2021
United States
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Languages, Literature, Political Science, Race Studies

Dear colleagues,


Please find below the details of a CFP for a panel of the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, which will take place at National Taiwan Normal University on June 15-18, 2022.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at


Many thanks,





Organizer: Dr Stefano Bellin (University of Warwick)


Deadline for abstract submission: 31 October 2021


More information on the ACLA Annual Meeting available at


Please note that The ACLA Conference Committee will review all seminar proposals and notify seminar organizers of acceptance or rejection on or around December 15, 2021.


Seminar title: Literature and Global Responsibility


Seminar Abstract: Many of the problems of today’s world are global in nature and scope, and thus need to be approached in a global fashion. Yet, as the reaction to the current pandemic shows, we struggle to think and act in truly global terms. This seminar will explore how literature can help us to develop a theoretical framework that enhances our understanding of global responsibility. ‘Global’ stands here both for worldwide and comprehensive: it draws attention to our global relations of interdependence and to the complex networks of actions and inactions that create the conditions of possibility for oppression. Focusing on literary case studies that illuminate some the most consequential forms of global injustice (e.g., imperialism, human rights violations, wars, narcopolitics, exploitation, and ecological disaster), this seminar aims to foster a debate on the macro-structures that enable and perpetuate global injustice. The goal is threefold: to explore which forms of literary writing are better suited to cultivate a sense of global responsibility; to debate how and to what extent ordinary citizens are responsible for large-scale forms of violence and injustice that, although vast and global in their nature, involve us in very tangible and material ways; and to discuss how our imagination can be engaged critically in order to come to terms and resist our own complicity with systemic violence and oppression.


Some of the key questions this seminar seeks to address are: How can literature facilitate our critical and political engagement with forms of violence and injustice that are global in nature and scope? Which literary tools are more effective in developing our political imagination and sense of responsibility? How can literary texts sensitise us to our implication in large-scale structures of violence and oppression? How can literature address the representational challenges posed by forms of violence and injustice whose causes are dispersed, incremental, and relatively invisible? To what extent can we afford – in social, political, and psychological terms – to feel responsible in a ‘global’ sense? How can literature help us to clarify and bring into focus the notion of ‘global responsibility’?


This seminar welcomes scholars working in all languages, geographical areas, and theoretical frameworks, and encourages proposals that take an interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary approach.





Contact Info: 

Dr Stefano Bellin (University of Warwick)