The three winning entries in the John Dryden Translation Competition 2017-18 published in Comparative Critical Studies can be read for free

The three winning entries in the John Dryden Translation Competition for 2017-18 have now been published in Comparative Critical Studies and can be read for free via the BCLA website, courtesy of Edinburgh University Press:

8 May 2019 The significant literary geographies of African festivals: expanding the toolbox of the (world) literary scholar? Claire Ducorneau (University Paul-Valéry – Montpellier 3, RIRRA21)

3:00-5:00, Venue: Room FG01, Faber Building, SOAS University of London23/24 Russell Square  

In an era where cultural festivals multiply, so-called African festivals have spread in Africa, but also outside of Africa, in major cities as well as in little-known villages, for example in provincial France. What are some of their implications and effects in the case of francophone African literature? These events privilege a continental representation of literature, which often reveals itself as problematic when confronted with the complex geographies of the texts and authors represented at these festivals. Using cross-disciplinary methodology, this critical inquiry reads different reallocations of this persistent African matrix through a typology and contemporary examples (Kossi Efoui’s writings, the “Étonnants Voyageurs” and “Plein sud” festivals). As an object of study, festivals bear witness to the necessity of expanding the toolbox of the (world) literary scholar by making use of documentary sources and adopting ethnographic approaches. It reveals a structural tension between an African map and various concrete territories, where local issues matter often more than this continental category, and can affect the form and content of literature itself.

Bio: Claire Ducournau is a tenured Associate Professor in Literature at Paul-Valéry – Montpellier 3 University, and a member of the RIRRA21 research center. Her work centers on francophone African writing, publishing and media. She is particularly interested in how sociological research methods and close textual analysis can be combined to explore African literature in both its aesthetic and material facets, and to reveal how authors engage with power relationships that change over time. This has led to research on topics such as publishing history, cultural festivals, literary prizes, and writing by Ahmadou Kourouma or Amadou Hampâté Bâ. She dedicated her doctoral thesis to mechanisms of production of the African literary canon – her first monograph, La Fabrique des classiques africains. Écrivains d’Afrique subsaharienne francophone (1960-2012), is a revised version published by CNRS editions in 2017. Her current research explores overlooked press archives distributed on the African continent, which challenge the canonical literary corpus mainly published in France. In line with this topic, she has been working on large-scale, collaborative projects with partners in France and abroad, especially in Senegal and in the United-Kingdom. One of these projects led to the digitisation of one of the earliest francophone African women’s magazines, Awa: la revue de la femme noire and an exhibition which launched in Dakar in November 2017.

Contact email:

24 April 2019 Death of Diplomacy as Literary Event Adhira Mangalagiri (QMUL) 5-7 pm

Room FG01, Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square, SOAS, University of London

The study of South-South literary relations in the Cold War world often centers literary exchanges conducted under the auspices of diplomacy. Such an approach risks treating the literary as a passive reflection of the political arena, wherein literary exchange occurs in tandem with friendly political relations. At the same time, however, reifying the literary sphere as the site of political protest can fetishize literature as a mouthpiece of dissent thereby perpetuating the literary critic’s tendency to valorize subversion. I explore this methodological double-bind in South-South literary studies, offering insights from the case of China-India literary relations.

The China-India border war of 1962 has long been read as an end: to the period of state-led cultural diplomacy between China and India in the 1950s, to the spirit of China-India brotherhood that had accompanied such diplomacy, and to visions of the Third World propelled by Bandung ideals. Countering such narratives, this talk reads the 1962 China-India war as sparking a literary event in the Hindi public sphere. I introduce a field of post-war Hindi literary practice that takes the death of diplomacy as a cue for literary liveliness, posing the China-India war as the grounds upon which to rethink the imperatives of literature, the form of fiction, and the stakes of China-India comparison.

Bio:Adhira Mangalagiri is a Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Her research examines intersections between the Chinese and Hindi/Urdu literary spheres during the twentieth century, with a focus on the literary history of China-India comparison.


Organized by the Centre for Modern European Literature at the University of Kent, this summer school will offer intensive training in the principles and practices of comparative literature. Following the success of the inaugural CHASE summer school in comparative literature in June 2018, this second iteration will build on the first event while taking its intellectual focus in a new direction. The programme is designed for humanities students working on comparative research projects who wish to broaden their knowledge of the discipline, and their use of comparative methodologies, in the light of both classical comparativism and more recent theoretical frameworks within the emerging discipline of world literature and the rise of the global South. The summer school will bring together postgraduate students working in the various fields of comparative/world literature, introducing them to leading specialists in the discipline and offering them a valuable opportunity for both intellectual training and institutional networking.

The training programme will be delivered through seminars spread across three days. On the morning of the first day, students will be asked to give brief introductions of their current projects; on the afternoon of the third day, they will give full presentations on how these projects can be enriched by including lessons learned from the summer school. Days one and two will conclude with keynote lectures by figures of international standing, conceived as case studies in the theory and practice of comparative/world literature.
For more on the Centre for Modern European Literature, please see:

Student profile
Applications are invited from postgraduate students, either currently undertaking a PhD or about to start a PhD, working in the field of comparative literature broadly defined. The school is fully funded by CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities in South-East England); accommodation costs and tuition fees of successful applicants will be covered. Students will stay on campus for the duration of the school (3 nights) and will be expected to participate fully in all aspects of the programme.

Application process
Suitably qualified students should submit a brief CV and a one-page outline of their project to: Deadline for submissions is 12 April 2019; admission decisions will be communicated by early May. Up to 15 students will be admitted. Informal enquiries should be directed to: Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalán

Programme Directors
– Ben Hutchinson: Professor of European Literature at the University of Kent, Member of the Executive Committee of the BCLA, and author of Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction (2018)
– Patricia Novillo-Corvalán: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent and author of Modernism and Latin America: Transnational Networks of Literary Exchange (2018)
– Francesca Orsini: Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature at SOAS, Member of the Executive Committee of the BCLA, Editor of Comparative Critical Studies, and PI of ERC project ‘Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies’

Keynote Lecturers
– Rosinka Chaudhuri, Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), Kolkata.
– Jessica Berman, Professor of English; Language, Literacy, and Culture; and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.