The Locations of (World) Literature : Perspectives from Africa and South Asia Colloque

Organisateurs : Laetitia Zecchini, Francesca Orsini (SOAS, University of London)

Ecole Normale Supérieure
45 rue d’Ulm, Salle Dussane

The Locations of (World) Literature : Perspectives from Africa and South Asia

Organized by Francesca Orsini (SOAS, University of London) and Laetitia Zecchini (CNRS, Paris) with the support of the labex TransferS (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Collège de France, PSL), and as part of the ERC funded project « Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies : For a New Approach to World Literature ».

The aim of the conference is to look at the ways in which modern and contemporary South Asian and African writers who produce their work from specific locales consider their place in the world, in world literature, in the wider geographical regions (Africa, South Asia, etc.) or national literary histories in which their work is often read or identified with. How do these writers work through, use, challenge or re-invent the macro categories (region, nation, sub-continent, continent, world), with which literary histories are written and literary cartographies constituted ? What is the relevance of these geographical categories, and how are they often reallocated or realigned ? What worlds do these literatures simultaneously inhabit and create ?

By postulating the plurality of the literary geographies/cartographies to which many South Asian and African writers belong, we postulate that these situated practices are also worldly, and always already connected to wider “significant geographies”, whether real or imagined.

We mean to :
- Analyze the ways by which ideas or representations of what it is to be an “Indian”, “South Asian” or an “African” writer correspond to or contradict the writers’ own practices and representations ;
- Study the unpredictable networks (linguistic, imaginary, literary, etc.) and connections that writers and works of literature invent ;
- Reconsider the doxa on world literature today, with its binaries (centre/periphery, local/global, etc.) and hierarchies ;
- Invite papers on literatures that are generally disconnected from each other (Anglophone vs. Francophone literatures ; the so-called “vernacular” or regional languages of South Asia and Africa vs. literatures in French or in English, etc.)

We welcome papers on the following broad topics :
-  the geographical imagination of specific works, authors, languages, and traditions : what are their “significant geographies” ?
-  “India” and “Africa” as spatio-literary constructs
-  varieties of travel writing
-  the role of Indian/African critics in producing modern literary cartographies/ cosmogonies
-  multilingualism : do multilingual locals produce and inhabit different “significant geographies” ?
-  the way journals and magazines create literary geographies (through correspondence, book reviews, etc.)
-  institutions or networks : associations of writers

Confirmed Participants : Sara Marzagora, Karima Laachir, Xavier Garnier, Peter D. McDonald, Fatima Burney, July Blalack, Clarissa Vierke, Karin Barber, Mélanie Bourlet, Elara Bertho, Amatoritsero Ede, Soofia Siddique, Gisèle Sapiro, Tristan Leperlier, Francesca Orsini, Laetitia Zecchini

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