Overview and Rationale
The conference is an opportunity for scholars and researchers to undertake a critique of academic culture in the Humanities, as these are viewed in their relation to one another. It is an invitation to explore the potential that Comparative Literature has in the “un-worlding” –– to invert Spivak's word –– of the Humanities and of their borders as established by Western paradigms of thought. This “un-worlding” can operate on many fronts, including but not limited to the epistemological, the literary, the artistic and the cultural fronts. Comparative Literature may also help, we believe, in the revision of the conventional descriptions and axioms that have hitherto paralyzed the potentiality of Human Sciences and blurred their apprehension of their subject matter. What makes this enterprise more relevant than ever today is the state of crisis in the Humanities which has now become even more pronounced than it was in the end of the last century, as globalization is increasingly shaping our understanding of literature, culture and the arts. Globalization today raises an enormous quandary to researchers from different horizons; Raymond Boudon speaks of the current challenge to be met by the human sciences as being that of the paradigm. We could be facing the kind of “paradigm exhaustion” on which Thomas Kuhn founds his concept of scientific revolution. In a sense, disciplinary logic has reached an impasse, and “pluralist paradigms” are becoming imperative to all rewarding research. Comparative literature, we maintain here, may have a salutary and empowering impact on the other human disciplines.
The wide and varied range of scholars to whom this call for proposals is addressed share a common concern: questioning the impact of globalization on academic culture in the Humanities.
By the “un-worlding” of the human sciences we mean the creation of a hermeneutics of experience and a mapping of human knowledge which would challenge essentialist concepts and their excessively rationalized axioms. Although focus in the conference is on world literatures and the arts, comparativism is allowed to spread its interdisciplinary wings over a wider range of humanist disciplines, including history, the social sciences, architecture, anthropology and visual culture.
Proposals are solicited in English, French and Arabic.
Themes of the Conference
- Literary History and Theory, Comparative Literature
- Comparative Literature in the 21th Century
- Postmodernity and the Crisis of the Human Sciences
- Comparativism and the Visual & Architectural Arts
- World Literature in the Global Age
- Cultural Translation: New Borders for Critical Theory
- Comparativism and the Social Sciences
- Geo-political Perspectives on Comparativism
- Comparative Studies in History
- Comparative Perspectives on Cultural Anthropology
- Postcolonial Literatures
- Comparative Religions