International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA)

21. World Congress: The Many Languages of Comparative Literature

July 21 to July 27, 2016, University of Vienna, Austria <>

ICLA section 17285: Towards a New World Literature


Since the second half of the 20th century, the concept of “World Literature” has been rejuvenated and re-oriented from Goethe’s original notion of Weltliteratur, understood as a canon of texts that are read globally beyond national boundaries, to an international field were creative practices of mobility meet. Processes of decolonization and of globalization, of migration, and exile have produced a rich body of literature and art that explores and reflects on postcolonial and migrant experiences, diasporic, exile, and refugee conditions. Creative expressions of mobility and exchange lend themselves to the analysis of the complex processes of interactive and dialogic dynamics between and across cultures. These three sessions will focus on significant creative practices and theoretical works about cultural encounters occurring in Europe and various parts of the world in order to study key elements, thematic and aesthetic aspects of this emerging New World Literature. The papers examine major critical approaches to transcultural practices and discuss theoretical foundations of key concepts. Also, they rethink the phenomenon of World Literature and existing and possible new theories of cultural negotiation and translation. 


Session I: Rethinking Exile. Papers focus on new perspective on exile as New World Literature. If an early exile literature research of the 1970s and 1980s years did its best still to describe exile literature as creative practice of resistance or dominated by nostalgia, current discussions broaden this perspective and turn the attention towards the transcultural and transnational dimensions of exile. 


Session II: Between and Across Borders. Papers focus on transcultural creativity interested in the interactive and dialogic dynamics between and across borders following mainly two perspectives: the self-distancing, self-estrangement and self-criticism of one’s own cultural identities, and/or acknowledging the transitory, confluential, and mutually transforming nature of cultures. 


Session III: Encountering the Other (s). Papers focus on creative practices that demonstrate a search for “encountering the other(s)” as a direct expression of their creators transcultural realities or sensibilities, presenting a kind of poetics that is different in its resistance to being appropriated by one single national canon, one monolingual tradition or one single cultural/ethnic expression.


Please submit your abstracts, no longer than 2.000 characters (incl. spaces), in English or German, by 31st August 2015 using the online submission form <>  - Group section number: 17285: Towards a New World Literature. For questions, please contact [log in to unmask]


Gisela Brinker-Gabler
Professor of Comparative Literature
Director of Graduate Studies
Binghamton University
State University of New York
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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