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(Re)Creating A Global Literary Canon

Call for Papers, International Conference

Organised by Peggy Levitt and Wiebke Sievers 

14th-15th December 2017, University of Vienna

Our conference seeks to explore how and under what conditions canons are successfully challenged and/or how cultural production is being sanctified in different ways. What is it that enables an author from the cultural periphery to ascend from national to regional or globalfame? What new forms of codification are emerging? Our approach is consciously interdisciplinary. We seek to involve writers and institutional actors in the global literary field in a conversation with people who study them. We want to bring comparative and world literature scholars in dialogue with sociologists and anthropologists. The conference will also organize some public events including public lectures and readings by some of our participants.

We envision the main topics for our conference to be:

  • The State of the Field: What is the intellectual thinking behind new anthologies of world literature being produced inside and outside the West (i.e. China andJapan)?
  • Agents and Publishing in the global north and south: Who are the gatekeepers? What do they look for? How can independent publishers remain viable in the current economic climate? What role do international organizations like foundations and UNESCO play? How does this vary across languages?
  • Book Fairs and Literary Festivals in the global north and global south: Who comes to these events? How are they supported? What is their role in creating reading publics?
  • Prizes, scholarships and other support structures: How do these work? Who are thejudges? What are they looking for?
  • Authors and Critics: How to overcome national and global literary hierarchies?
  • Studying the production and consumption of literature: What do these programs look like in the global north and south? Are they doing anything differently than they did before? What explains how anthologies are constructed? How do we think about these issues when literacy itself is dramatically changing (i.e. reading online, texts that include visual culture, graphic novels, etc.)?
  • Comparative perspectives: How does the globalization of the literary world speak to/drive forward/thwart the globalization of music and art? How do these processes vary by region?

We invite paper proposals that deal with the above or other topics related to our general framework. Proposals should be sent to Wiebke Sievers by 15 April 2017. The proposals should include the name and affiliation of the author and a short biography as well as the title and abstract of the proposed paper. The abstract should be no longer than 450 words and should explain the topic, the main conclusions (or the state of the work in progress) and the theoretical and methodological approach of the proposed paper.

Proposers will be informed of whether their paper has been accepted by 1 June 2017. Draft papers are due by 15 November 2017. There may be some funding to offset travels costs but it will be quite limited.

The conference language is English.

We particularly encourage scholars from beyond Western academia to apply.

We aim to publish the results of the conference in an interdisciplinary scholarly publication.

Download the full Call for Papers here. 


The conference is supported by the Kommission der Migrations- und Integrationsforschung, the IMISCOE standing committee Popular Art, Diversity and Cultural Policies in Post-Migration Urban Settings (POPADIVCIT) and the Forschungsplattform Mobile Cultures and Societies