Call for Papers: New Perspectives on Cultural Contact and Exchange

Eva Kuras's picture

We invite abstract submissions for a colloquium to be held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Date and Time: March 29-31, 2019 (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon)

Venue: Levis Faculty Center, 919 W Illinois St, Urbana, IL 61801      


Keynote Speakers:


Gabriela Currie, University of Minnesota (Music)

           Instrumental Journeys in Premodern Eurasia


Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma (English)

            Aspects of the Culture of Modernism: The Discipline of Economics and the Rise

            of Corporate Capitalism in the Late Nineteenth Century


The colloquium is the culmination of a year-long interdisciplinary faculty-graduate student research cluster sponsored by IPRH: the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Participants in “Transmission, Translation, and Directionality in Cultural Exchange” have been exploring the problematics and methodologies of researching cultural contact and exchange across time and space and at multiple scales. The colloquium is intended to foster spirited conversation among graduate students and faculty who can bring their current research projects, share and receive feedback from participants and faculty respondents across a variety of fields.


We are interested in 20-minute presentations that address key questions: How can we define “cultural contact and exchange?” What forces are at work in the transmission and reception of “cultural artifacts”? How have geopolitics and economics influenced the movement of stories, music, sports, and myriad other forms of cultural production over time? How do the conflicting influences of nationalism, global networks, and changing technologies act to impede and/or facilitate cultural exchange? What kinds of institutions (formal and informal) have had the most impact in fostering cultural exchange? What kinds of evidence can we use to prove that cultural transmission has occurred?


We especially encourage abstracts from scholars working on cultural contact and exchange in premodern eras, as well as non-humanities fields.





  • Cultural contact and exchange via text, orality, music, dance, art, sport, digital media, and beyond
  • Geopolitics and the economics of cultural exchange
  • Historical perspectives on dynamics of cultural exchange
  • Legal perspectives (copyright, ownership of cultural artifacts, etc.)
  • Media of transmission
  • Memory and myth-making
  • Regional and global networks of cultural transmission
  • Technological modes (textual, material, digital, oral, etc.) of cultural exchange
  • Translation, migration, and/or nationalism in cultural contact and exchange


The colloquium will be free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided and the organizers will assist in finding affordable lodging for out-of-town presenters. Please submit a 300-word abstract by January 20, 2018 to .


Questions? Contact Eva Kuras or JiHyea Hwang at .


Organizing Committee:

Professor Robert Markley (English)

Professor Carol Symes (History)

Professor Robert Tierney (Comparative and World Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures)

JiHyea Hwang (PhD Candidate, Comparative and World Literature)

Eva Kuras (PhD Student, Comparative and World Literature)