HT 2018 Week 1 Updates

On Monday of Week 2, the Discussion Group will convene in the (brand) New Library at St Anne's.  The Discussion Group will again be structured as an experiment in comparative reading out of context. It's a fantastic opportunity for graduate students and researchers working on comparative projects to get a fresh perspective on the texts they study by getting other participants to respond to selected passages without the usual background (biographical information, historical context, etc.) that covertly informs our reading. No advance preparation will be needed. As always, free sandwich lunch, fruit and coffee will be provided.



1. The Automaton of Capital, Philosophy and, Patriarchy: On the Tautological Universe of Value and Sign

Spring Academy with Prof. Katerina Kolozova 

2018, April 9th - 12th

Forum Scientiarum, University of Tübingen, Germany
The 2018 Spring Academy aims to examine the epistemic and historical limits of poststructuralist feminism. Have we reached a point when we need to vindicate the use of the notions of the real, the stable and the one, as the constitutive oppositions of fiction, mobility, and multiplicity, to reinvigorate feminism as an international struggle? We shall also pose the question of whether this struggle is fundamentally a socialist one. To tackle these and some other related issues, we challenge in a close reading of the works of Luce Irigaray, Dona Haraway, Karl Marx, Francois Laruelle, Judith Butler and Michel Foucault.

Katerina Kolozova is Professor of Philosophy, Gender Studies, and Sociological Theory at University American College-Skopje and Director and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Social Science and Humanities, Skopje, best known for her work on the non-philosophy of François Laruelle. She is the author of The Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014) and Toward a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Marx and Laruelle (Brooklyn: Punctum books, 2015).

This year's Spring Academy addressed to doctoral/post-doctoral students and advanced undergraduates from all universities will consist of a series of lectures, based on a reader previously provided by Prof. Kolozova as well as presentations by the course participants. Any papers regarding this topic as well as other related themes are welcome.

Submission Information

In order to attend applicants have to submit a completed application form downloadable from our link together with a cover letter stating the motivation to participate and a CV according to usual standards. Those who intend to give presentations must also attach to the application a short abstract (1000 words max.) in order to outline the project or case study to be introduced during the Winter School.

Deadline for the receipt of complete application is January 31st, 2018. A letter of admission will reach successful applicants by February 15th.

For further information about the 2018 International Spring Academy see

Universität Tübingen
Doblerstr. 33, 72074 Tübingen

Universität Tübingen
Doblerstr. 33, 72074 Tübingen


2. Theories and Methodologies for Languages Research

Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Saturday, 27 January 2018, 11:00-17:00

11:00   Postcolonial theory:  Rui Miranda (Nottingham)

12:00   Enlightenment Critique: Adam Sharman (Nottingham)

This session covers not only the typical historico-philosophical critique that one finds in the different Enlightenments, including the Latin American one (and the one that has Latin

America as its object), but also the critique of Enlightenment that one finds in our own times.

13:00   Lunch break

14:30   Gender Studies: Catherine Smale (KCL)

This session will introduce students to different strands of Gender Studies, and allow students the opportunity to explore ways in which Gender Studies theory and methodology may productively inform their own research projects.

15:30   Tea break

16:00   Trans-nationalizing Modern Languages: Naomi Wells (IMLR)

The AHRC-funded Transnationalizing Modern Languages project developed a new model for Modern Languages research which moves beyond the inquiry into separate national traditions, to focus instead on how languages and cultures operate and interact across distinct historical and geographic contexts. As a former researcher on the project, I will explore what a ‘transnational’ approach to Modern Languages research means in practice, by drawing on examples from my own research and discussing with workshop participants how a transnational lens could be applied to their own work.


3. 'Performance, Trauma and Victimhood'

Institute of Advanced Studies - UCL, 26th April 2018 

This interdisciplinary conference explores the role of performance and performativity in the mediation of traumatic effects. With a view to interrogating traditional conceptions of traumatic unrepresentability, it invites papers that explore the potential of performance for altering perceptions of space, time and causality, particularly through the materiality of the audience-artwork encounter. In addition, the conference will ask how victim identities are actively constructed, and ways in which enactments of suffering and victimhood might unsettle or incite unsustainable identifications of the reader/viewer. It also invites participants to address how personal histories and traumatic memory are performed in the medical encounter, and in public narratives surrounding medicine and psychiatry.

The conference will take place at UCL on 26th April 2018, and is supported by the UCL Institute of Advance Studies, Birkbeck, and the Wellcome Trust. It will also feature a curated creative panel and a practise-as-research contribution in collaboration with the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre.

Confirmed Keynotes: Sally Bayley (University of Oxford), Stephanie Bird (UCL)

Date: 26th April 2018
Time: TBC
Location: UCL, London (details TBC)
Contact: Leah Sidi (Birkbeck) and Natasha Silver (UCL),


4.  World Literature and the Archives of Criticism

A one-day colloquium

Saturday 17 March, 9.30am to 5pm

Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Westfield Way

Queen Mary University of London, Mile End campus

In Forget English! (2016), Aamir Mufti presents the idea that “literature”, through the formation of an Orientalist episteme in the late eighteenth century, became one of the prime means of organising cultural difference in a world of expanding European rule. This, to Mufti, is the true genealogy and function of “world literature”. By transforming indigeneity and “the vernacular” into codes of value, earlier cosmopolitan cultural communities (such as the Indo-Persian ecumene) became redefined according to a national logic derived from Europe. An implication of this argument is that all forms of literary criticism emerging in Asia, Africa or Latin America from the nineteenth century onwards themselves participate, as if by remote control, in the reproduction of this episteme. An alternative view would instead insist – as would Reinhart Koselleck – on the inherent semantic instability and layeredness of a concept such as “literature”, wherever it is actualised in concrete historical circumstances. Whatever the case – the complexity of the issue disallows hard and fast answers – it is clear that archives of literary criticism themselves (particularly from the “Global South”) remain largely untapped resources in studies of world literature debates. Inspired by examples set by Rosinka Chaudhuri (2013) and Peter McDonald (2009), this workshop will ask what criticism from different periods and places can contribute to our understanding of the formation of “literature” in a world shaped by entangled histories.

Keynote: Professor Stefan Helgesson (Stockholm), IHSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Stefan Helgesson is professor of English at Stockholm University. His research interests include southern African literature in English and Portuguese, Brazilian literature, postcolonial theory, translation theory and theories of world literature. He is the author of Writing in Crisis: Ethics and History in Gordimer, Ndebele and Coetzee (2004) and Transnationalism in Southern African Literature (2009), has edited volume four of Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective (2006) and is co-editor (with Pieter Vermeulen) of Institutions of World Literature: Writing, Translation, Markets (2015). He is currently leading the Swedish research network “Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures”, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Short papers, which may take the form of 15-20 minute scholarly presentations, or shorter (10-15 minutes) polemical provocations, will be arranged in plenary panels before and after lunch.

If you would like to participate, please send a brief abstract (200 words) and a biographical description to Professor Andrew van der Vlies  ( by 15 February. Registration is online here (preference will be given to presenters): (access with password Helgesson)


5. Winckelmann’s Victims.
The Classics: Norms, Exclusions and Prejudices.

Call for Papers

Ghent University (Belgium), 20-22 September 2018

CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Michelle Warren (University of Dartmouth) – Mark Vessey (University of British Columbia) – Irene Zwiep (University of Amsterdam)

“Der einzige Weg für uns, groß, ja, wenn
 es möglich ist, unnachahmlich zu werden, is 
die Nachahmung der Alten.”
 Johannes Winckelmann

Classics played a major and fundamental role in the cultural history of Western Europe. Few would call this into question. Since the Carolingian period, notably ‘classical’ literature has served as a constant source and model of creativity and inspiration, by which the literary identity of Europe has been negotiated and (re-)defined. The tendency to return to the classics and resuscitate them remains sensible until today, as classical themes and stories are central to multiple contemporary literary works, both in ‘popular’ and ‘high’ culture. Think for instance of Rick Riordan’s fantastic tales about Percy Jackson or Colm Tóibín’s refined novels retelling the Oresteia.

At the same time, this orientation and fascination towards the classics throughout literary history has often —implicitly or explicitly— gone hand in hand with the cultivation of a certain normativity, regarding aesthetics, content, decency, theory, ... Classical works, and the ideals that were projected on them, have frequently been considered as the standard against which the quality of a literary work should be measured. Whether a text was evaluated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depended on the extent to which it could meet the ‘classical’ requirements. Probably the most famous example of someone advocating such a classical norm was the German art critic Johannes Winckelmann (1717-1768), whose death will be commemorated in 2018. His Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums may be considered as the embodiment of the idea that the classics should be the norm for aesthetic or even any evaluation, such as, in Western Europe, it has recurrently cropped up, to a greater or lesser degree, from the Early Middle Ages until modern times.

Almost inevitably, this normativity has implied, shaped and fed prejudices and thoughts of exclusion towards literary features and aesthetic characteristics that seemed to deviate from classical ideals. Throughout literary history, examples occur of literary works, styles and genres that were generally appreciated within their time or context of origin, yet whose quality was retrospectively called into question because they were said not to be in accordance with the classical norm as it prevailed at the moment of judgement. Sometimes, this has even applied to whole periods. The persistence of similar assessments up until today is telling for the impact classical normativity still exercises. Besides, literary texts, though clearly not created to conform to the ‘classical’ standard, have been ‘classicized’ during judgement, being forced by a critic to fit into a classical framework and celebrated for its so-called imitation of antiquity. Even the Classics themselves often had and have to obey to this process of ‘classicization’. Therefore, with a sense for drama, one could say that all these works, literary forms, periods, etc. have seriously ‘suffered’ from the prejudices born from classics-based normativity, being the ‘victims’ of Winckelmann-like ideas concerning ‘classical’ standards.

This conference aims to consider classical normativity with its including prejudices and exclusions as a case-study for cultural self-fashioning by way of European literature. It seeks to explore how the normative status ascribed to the classics and the ensuing prejudices have, from the Early Middle Ages to modern times, influenced and shaped thoughts and views of the literary identity of Western Europe. Therefore, we propose the following questions:
¬       What are the processes behind this normativity of the Classics? Is it possible to discern a conceptual continuum behind the time and again revival of the Classics as the norm for ‘good’ literature? Or, rather, are there clear conceptual and concrete divergences between succeeding periods of such ‘classical’ normativity?
¬       What are the links (conceptual, historical, aesthetic, political, …) between the normativity of the Classics and the excluded ones, both in synchronic and diachronic terms? How does literary normativity of the Classics imply literary prejudices and exclusions?
¬       How has normativity of the Classics with its prejudices and exclusions imposed an identity on European literature (and literary culture)? 
¬       What does this normativity of the Classics with its prejudices and exclusions mean for the conceptualization of European literary history? 

Besides these conceptual questions, we also welcome case studies that may illustrate both the concrete impact of classical normativity and concrete examples of prejudice and exclusion as resulting from this normativity. We think of topics such as
¬       the Classics themselves as victims of retrospective ‘classical’ normativity
¬       the exclusion of literary periods that are considered non- or even contra-classical (baroque, medieval, …) and the clash with non-European literature
¬       literary ‘renaissances’ and their implications
¬       classical normativity and its impact on literatures obedient to political aims (fascism, populism, …)
¬       literary appeal to the classics as a way of structuring and (re-)formulating society (‘higher’ liberal arts vs. ‘lower’ crafts and proficiencies, literary attitudes towards slavery, …) 
¬       …

We accept papers in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Please send an abstract of ca. 300 words and a five line biography to by 15 April 2018.



Dr Eleni Philippou

Comparative Criticism and Translation

occt vlog week