News and Events

Upcoming Events

Research Seminar: Transnationalism in Contemporary French literature
Date: Mid August 2013
Chair: Prof. Peter Morgan
Speaker: Dr. Nina Parish (French Studies, University of Bath)

Research Workshop: Goethe's Concept of World Literature
Date: September 2013
Chair: Prof. Peter Morgan
Speaker: Prof. Peter Morgan

Research Conference: Literature and Ecopoetics
Date: Late 2013/Early 2014
Chair: Dr. Peter Minter
Speaker: Dr. Peter Minter, and 12 international colleagues

International Conference: Transnationalism and World Literature
Date: November 2013
Chairs: Prof. Paul Giles, Prof. Robert Dixon, Prof. Peter Morgan, Prof. William Christie
Keynote Speaker: Prof. Djelal Kadir

International Conference: Romantic China
Date: November 2013
Chair: Prof. William Christie

Research Workshop: Civilisational Analysis as Theoretical Underpinning for Transnational Studies
Date: December 2013
Chair: Prof. Peter Morgan
Speaker: Prof. Em. David Roberts (Monash University)

Past Events

World Literature and Transnationalism Workshop
Date: 23 August 2013
Speaker: Bob Cowan, Robert Dixon, Paul Giles, Peter Morgan, Barrie Wharton

Five brief presentations were made during the course of the afternoon and discussion settled on several interrelated topics.

  • Issues of definition of keywords such as “literature,” “world literature,” “transnationalism,” etc. “World literature” was coined by Goethe in a particular European political and social environment and the concept was subsequently popularized in the post-Nazi context as a means of returning German cultural material into global as well as national circulation. Is this context of relevance to contemporary usage? (Peter Morgan)
  • How widely do we understand literature, given the differences in breadth in different cultural contexts and historical epochs? Can we speak of transnationalism before the existence the modern nation-state? Does transnationalism specifically refer to literary comparativity in the age of digital technologies, where contact and connection has been radically accelerated? (Paul Giles)
  • The issue of comparativity in history: to what extent can we talk of “transnationalism” in historical contexts? Is there any point in seeking categories for pre-modern and/or ancient modes of intercultural contact. For example in the Roman world where Greek remained a lingua franca of the educated classes and where “literary” writing was often carried out in Greek as well as Latin? (Bob Cowan)
  • Different models of “world” in world literature: various supra-national, international and/or imperial and colonial structures have operated with concepts of “world” literature, for example the communist world used a concept based on class solidarity rather than ethnicity or language. Is the contemporary post-colonial understanding of world literature and transnationalism compatible with other current models of globalization, for example Islamic global perspectives? Contemporary European societies are grappling with these issues (Barrie Wharton).
  • At what point does a literary tradition become “world literature”? What are the criteria for a national, sub-national or regional literature becoming (perceived as) “world literature”?
  • Australian literature includes a diversity of voices which differentiates it from other literary traditions. Does this render Australian literature a world literature? (Robert Dixon).
  • Translation and the role of the translator in rendering material comprehensible across two or more languages.

The wide-ranging discussions revealed the breadth of issues that arise in terms of the terms of reference and the different cultural and historical understandings of literature as a cultural phenomenon which crosses borders of language, identity, ethnicity, and civilizational self-understanding. Ongoing discussion of these issues in the light of contemporary transnational and world or global literature discussions.

Aesthetic Modernism and the East/West Encounter
Date: 16 August 2013
Speaker: Professor Harsha Ram (University of California, Berkeley)

What might it mean to view aesthetic modernism, political modernity, cultural nationalism as well as crosscultural cosmopolitanism from the perspective not of Paris, London or Vienna, but from the very edges of the European cultural system, in a region such as the "Russian" Caucasus? Most accounts of global modernism assume the centrality of the European metropolis, whose influence irradiates outwards, or assume a “centripetal” account of modernism, as a cultural universe of “peripheral” artists who consolidate a cosmopolitan centre. Can these accounts be modified?

Research Seminar: Archipelagic American Literary Studies
Date: 29 May 2013
Chair: Prof. Paul Giles
Speaker: Prof. Brian Russell Roberts (Brigham Young University, Ohio)

Research Seminar: 'A Dozy City': Adelaide in J.M. Coetzee's 'Slow Man' and Amy T. Matthews' 'End of the Night Girl'
Date: 23 April 2013
Chair: Prof. William Christie
Speaker: Dr. Gillian Dooley (University of Adelaide)

Discussion Group: Karatani Kojin, "Origins of Modern Japanese Literature"
Date: 15 April 2013
Chair: Dr. Rebecca Suter

Research Seminar: ‘Skin Deep’, a Self-Revealing Act: Monologue, Monodrama, and Mixedness
Date: 10 April 2013
Chair: Prof. William Christie
Speaker: Dr Deirdre Osborne (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Reading Group Meeting: Discussion of theoretical issues regarding the possibility of world literature studies, based on Gayatri Spivak, 'Death of a Discipline'
Date: 14 March 2013
Chair: Prof. Peter Morgan