The Cambridge Companion to World Literature: Seminar and Book Launch, 30 October 2019

The Cambridge Companion to World Literature
Seminar & Book Launch
Queen Mary University of London, 30 October 2019, 5-7pm Arts Two 3.20 and SCR

You’re warmly invited to join us for the launch of The Cambridge Companion to World Literature to be introduced by Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature, Queen Mary.

The launch will consist of a short seminar and a wine reception with nibbles. Editors Ben Etherington and Jarad Zimbler will be in conversation with contributors Shital Pravinchandra and Charlotta Salmi.

Copies of the Companion will be available for sale for £15 (cash only).

The event is free and all are welcome. Please RSVP to: Ben Etherington b.etherington@westernsydney and Charlotta Salmi

You can also register here:

Download the flyer and poster for the event  here

Seminar (5-5.45PM): Arts Two building, room 3.20
Reception (5.45-7PM): Arts Two building, Senior Common Room

BCLA Annual General Meeting, Saturday 2 November 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the British Comparative Literature Association  will take place on Saturday, 2 November, Room 108, 21 Russell Square from 15.00 – 17.00. This is a reminder that everyone registered as a member of the BCLA is welcome to attend and participate.

A reminder as well, that, after the AGM, the  winners of both the 2019 Arthur Terry Postgraduate Essay Prize and the  2019 John Dryden Translation Competition will be awarded their prizes at the BCLA “At Home” event which will take place on Saturday 2 November 2019 at 5.30 pm at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG.Room L67.  See map for location and directions.  No registration or fee is necessary.

Call for Papers: Literature and Event, University of Warwick, February 15 2020

Keynote Speakers:
 Call for Papers
 Deadline: 10th November, 2020

What is an event? From a theoretical perspective, events are irregular occurrences, moments of great change or interruptions that can potentially alter the already existing course of history, politics and thought. These changes also simultaneously remould, or at least aim to, human perception and language, which makes them an indispensable part of literature and literary thinking. While literature has referred to these calamitous changes directly, by way of description or through diegetic context, on numerous occasions literature has, for various reasons, failed to come to terms with these events or has actively resisted or undercut them. The literary has also been defined, particularly after the post-structuralist interventions, as an event in its own right, with its own strategy and ambitions to affect change. At the same time this relationship has also been entirely dismissed in readings where literature has been thought of as registering the non-events or the micro-events (madeleine cakes for Proust) that would otherwise pass unnoticed in a political or a historical discourse. This conference is addressed to all such relations between literature and its events, but more eagerly to the event that literature itself becomes and the non-event that it said to sometimes emerge from.

This dense, and often challenging, relationship between literature and event(s) has been, arguably, the driving force behind many of the reformulations of the literary carried out in the twenty-first century so far. These changing ‘definitions’ of the literary event or what the event, generally, entails have come from fields as diverse as literary studies, history, political theory, psychology, natural sciences and, more significantly, philosophy. The conference will appeal to scholars from all these diverse disciplines who at some point either have had to define literature/event or had to grapple with its new and elusive stipulations.The questions that this conference aims to address are three-fold:
What is literature’s approach to the event? How does literature respond to event(s), monumental changes, ruptures and transitions? Can literature be understood as an event in its own right?

1. Concept

The papers in the conference can address some of the pressing concepts related to the event directly, such as irregularity, chance, accident, hospitality and non-event, that have occupied literary studies, political theory and philosophy in the recent past. Addressing the literary fold specifically, the conference will be able to build on more recent research by scholars such as Derek Attridge, whose The Work of Literature(2015) understands events as having a singular, disruptive and yet formative presence in literary work, Ilai Rowner, who provides the event with a conceptual and literary history with his The Event: Literature and Theory (2015) and, written in a very different vein, Terry Eagleton’s The Event of Literature (2012).

2. Testimony

The question of testimony, or its lack, looms large when discussing literature’s response to event. The conference invites scholars to re-think literature’s response to the event and entropy that surrounds us, on the lines that it has been thought about in the last decade. If literature testifies, or tries to testify, to events of insurrections, it also testifies to sexual awakenings, to natural disasters, personal trauma and pain. These testimonies do not find an easy utterance, and despite finding a medium they can be a source of embarrassment, discontent and shame, as argued in Timothy Bewes’ The Event of Postcolonial Shame (2010). The papers in this conference could look at all such events and their importance for literary work, they could also simultaneously expose the impossibility of testimony itself, if not its need in the first place. Taking a cue from Heidegger’s use of the word Ereignis (event)—an event is as much a moment of revelation (Eräugnis) for the literary work as a site of appropriation (Eriegnung) and ultimately loss, which is how this conference wishes to broach the question of testimony too.

3. Literature as Event

Provocations of ideas such as plasticity and contingency, strongly forwarded by the philosophers Catherine Malabou and Quentin Meillassoux, are exciting new responses to the event and what it means for literature. While plasticity destabilizes our understanding of form, and thereby what constitutes as an event, contingency revokes the claims of reason and causal necessity that is often attached to events. In this segment of the conference, the experience of literature—as an act of both writing and reading—will be understood as an event in its own right. Despite the struggle to capture the intensity of the event, or remain faithful to it, literature can, and often does, become the site of change and alterity itself. Papers will be able to take forward the imaginings of a literary event put forward by influential thinkers like Derrida (on Celan) and Deleuze (on Proust), whereby literature is appraised for the transformative encounter it allows in the shape of an event.

The conference invites abstracts that address, but may not necessarily be restricted to, the following areas:

  • Theories of Event and Literary Event 
  • Questions of Testimony and Writing
  • Literature and Change
  • Plasticity, Contingency and Speculation
  • Practices of Reading
  • Fragility and Literature
  • Biopolitical Events
  • Climate‘change’asanundoingofallevents
  • Theories of Non-Event
  • Postcolonialiality and Event
  • Re-definition of event from a world-literature perspective 

Inviting proposals for 20-minute presentations. Please submit at least 350-word abstracts, along with a short biographical note (50-100 words) by November 10th, 2019 to

We hope to support costs of attendance for international applicants. Please let us know if you wish to be considered.

Warwick Research Seminars for 2019-2020: Excavating the Anthropocene

We are pleased to announce a series of Environmental Humanities research seminars organized during the academic year 2019-2020 on the theme of “Excavating the Anthropocene” running at the University of Warwick:

This programme is supported through the IAS Award with the aim of establishing Environmental Humanities as a new field of cross-disciplinary research at Warwick. Each term will treat a different aspect of this topic: “Visualising the Anthropocene” (Term 1), “Sounding the Anthropocene” (Term 2), “Conceptualising the Anthropocene” (Term 3).

The next seminar will be a presentation by the artist Ignacio Costa, Wed, 30 Oct. 2019, 5pm – 7pm. Location: Social Sciences – S2.81 (Please see Warwick Interactive map here for this room)

Presentation of Ignacio Acosta’s work is followed by a reading group:

TJ Demos, “Between Rebel Creativity and Reification: For and Against Visual Activism”, in Journal of Visual Culture (2016):

Annual BCLA Postgraduate Conference 2019

Annual British Comparative Literature Association Postgraduate Conference 2019
Call for Papers: ‘Radical Retellings: Fairy Tale, Myth, and Beyond’
Friday 29th November 2019
St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

We invite postgraduate researchers working in the field of comparative literature, defined in its broadest sense, to submit abstracts for 15-minute papers. Papers may be presented on literature from any cultural context, although the lingua franca of the conference will be English. We welcome broad and creative interpretations of the conference title, including, but by no means limited to:

– Revised and reworked fairy tales and myth
– Modern myths / New myths of our time
– Aesthetics and forms in myths and fairy tales
– The politics of myths and fairy tales
– Non-Western myths and fairy tales
– Postcolonial readings of fairy tales
– Feminist and queer re-imaginings of myths and fairy tales
– Fairy tales and children’s literature
– Fairy tales and myths in other media (film, TV, comic books, music, and video games, etc)

Please send paper proposals of up to 300 words and a short bio to by Friday 25th October 2019.

Full details including for registration, conference support and bursaries are available here