Thursday 19 November 2015, ‘Literary Cosmopolitanism: Theory and Practice’

When: Thursday 19 November 2015

Where: Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 46 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Cosmopolitanism, etymologically derived from the Greek for ‘world citizenship’, offers a radical alternative to the ideology of nationalism, asking individuals to imagine themselves as part of a community that goes beyond national and linguistic boundaries. Together with the cognate concepts of inter-nationalism and trans-nationalism, cosmopolitanism has become a widespread and contentious term within literary studies, affecting our understanding of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature in particular.

This one-day graduate workshop is designed to introduce doctoral students to the current critical debate on cosmopolitanism. It will consist of a seminar based on pre-circulated critical material followed by the opportunity to relate the discussion to the participants’ individual research.

Programme
11.15    Arrival and registration
11.30    Session 1: ‘Theories of Cosmopolitanism: Seminar Discussion’
Pascale CASANOVA, ‘World literary space’ (The World Republic of Letters)
Homi K. BHABHA, ‘Unsatisfied: Notes on Vernacular Cosmopolitanism’
Immanuel KANT, ‘Idea of a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose’
1.30     Lunch
2.30     Session 2: ‘Literary Cosmopolitanism and Literary Studies: From Theories to Practice’
2.30     Small-group discussions
3.30     General discussion
5.00     End

‘Literary Cosmopolitanism: Theory and Practice’ is part of the AHRC-funded project The Love of Strangers: Literary Cosmopolitanism in the English ‘Fin de Siècle’ (PI Stefano Evangelista, Oxford University). It is a collaboration between the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Birkbeck, University of London and Oxford University. The workshop will be led by Stefano Evangelista, Ana Parejo Vadillo, and Clément Dessy.

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