OCCT MT 2020 Week 3 Updates

In our next Discussion Group session, on Monday Week 4 (2 November), 1-2pm, we will have a joint event with OCCT Review in which we will have the opportunity to meet the editors of the journal, Georgia Nasseh and Joseph Hankinson, and two reviewers, Rowan Anderson and Niamh Burns. After a general introduction to OCCT Review, Niamh and Rowan will discuss with us two recent books they have reviewed, Ariane Mildenberg's Modernism and Phenomenology (2017) and Cross-Channel Modernisms (ed. by Claire Davison, Derek Ryan, and Jane A. Goldman, 2020), on the overarching topic of Transdisciplinary Modernism.

Details regarding registration can be found here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/discussion-group-occt-review-transdisciplinary-modernism.


1. International Book Club - 8pm Wednesday 25th November

The next International Book Club meeting will be on Wednesday 25th November at 8pm (GMT). We’ll be discussing Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s book, Zero (Nordisk Books), translated from Norwegian. The translator, Rosie Hedger, will be joining us live for our discussion, taking place on Zoom. 

The book can be purchased directly from the publisher, who have kindly offered us a discount. You can use the discount code IBCZERO15 to get 15% off at checkout until midnight on the day of the meeting. 

To register, go to our website: https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/international-book-club

Gine Cornelia Pedersen debuted with this explosive novel, which won the prestigious Tarjei Vesaas First Book Award. Compared, in its home country of Norway, with a ‘punk rock single’, the unique lyrical style and frank description of life with mental health problems have come together to create one of the most exciting works of fiction from Scandinavia in recent years.   

Rosie Hedger’s translation of Zero was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2019, and her translation of Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal won an English PEN Translates Award in 2016. Ravatn’s novel was later selected for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, broadcast in January 2017, and was shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for emerging translators in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett. Since then she has worked on a range of projects, more information about which can be found here. She is a member of the Translator’s Association.

2. The American Comparative Literature Association's 2021 Annual Meeting is now fully virtual and will take place April 8-11, 2021.

Submit your paper abstract to one of the 330 proposed seminars from October 1st through 11:59pm EST, October 31st. 

Scroll through the proposed seminars: https://acla.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/2/sessiongallery  You can also search by keyword (including by organizer name) using the search tool on the right side of the screen.

Submit your paper abstract on the following page: https://acla.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/2/home You will be able to select the title of the seminar from a dropdown menu as part of the submission process, so be sure to make note of the title.

Some panels of particular interest are listed here:

Critiquing Critique: Post-Critique, New Realisms, and Materialisms

We inhabit a post-critical moment. In literary and cultural studies, the post-critical turn has yielded new modes of reading, while galvanizing new efforts to think beyond—challenging or perhaps circumventing altogether—the limits of critique. These efforts are not limited, however, to the fields of literary and cultural studies; they track suggestively with new tendencies in contemporary philosophy, namely “New Realism” and its polemic antagonism towards the (loosely branded) legacy of critical theory, which has arguably held a theoretical monopoly in spheres of the humanities not taken with the scientific worldview. Thinkers placed under the banner of “New Realism” (with representatives such as Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, Markus Gabriel, Maurizio Ferraris) share with the post-critical turn in literary and cultural studies a fatigue with the conceptual frameworks of critical theory, as well as a growing intolerance to what might be construed as critical theory’s negativist and, at worst, its politically inactive or corrosive legacy.

It is in this same climate that a profusion of so-called “New Materialist” writing has also materialized (a term attributed to authors such as Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Jane Bennett, Manuel DeLanda). Despite divergent styles of approach, neo-materialist discourses generally share a desire to rethink the linguistic paradigm, and exhibit a skepticism about the prevailing modes of critique in philosophy and in literary studies. Similar to the proponents of post-critique and New Realism, neo-materialist writers negotiate their critical theory inheritances while indexing speculative and experimental alternatives to critique.

This seminar is interested in thinking carefully about these three distinct trends as signaling a broader shift away from deeply ingrained methods of philosophical and literary critique. How can we account for the multiple disciplinary origins of critique and post-critique, as well as their possible futures?

We welcome papers that consider, challenge, or corroborate the antagonism towards critique.

Possible topics may include:

– The speculative turn
– The relevance of critique, post-critique, New Realism, and New Materialism to critical race, queer, feminist, minoritarian, socialist thought
– Critiquing the critique of critique
– The inheritance of Nietzscheanism and the critical legacies of Marx and Freud
– Foucault/Kant (“Fou-Kant”)
– New formalisms (e.g. Levine, Kornbluh)
– The turn to ordinary language philosophy—especially after Wittgenstein, Cavell, Austin
– Corrosive versus affirmative styles of thought
– Modes of reading (reparative, surface, distant, descriptive, intensive, affective) in the context of post-critique
– “Paranoid reading” (Sedgwick) / “diagnostic revelation” (Jameson) / the “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Ricoeur) / “anarcho-vitalism” (Kornbluh)
– The alignment of critique or post-critique with radical and/or liberal (gradualist) reformism
– Experiments with genre / critical moods and modes
– Ecological, vitalist, and vibrant new materialisms
– “Concept-work”: conceptual convention and reinvention (Stoler)
– Transversalist, (trans-)individualist, post-humanist methods
– Forms of “mobile thought” (Foucault)
– The arguable apoliticism/ahistoricism of new realist and new materialist discourses
– Subject-decentering / anti-anthropocentric orientations

Organisers: Athanassia Williamson and Nicole Grimaldi

Translation and Transmission: Greece and the Globe

This panel aims to explore the translation and transmission of foreign texts from outside of Greece into the Hellenic literary sphere, but also, conversely, how Greek texts travel and are disseminated internationally. In this panel, we ask how and why specific cultural works move into and out of the Greek language in the ways that they do. We also hope to question why certain texts are translated, whereas others are totally ignored. We are particularly interested in the role of individual writers as agents in these processes of translation and transmission. Prominent Greek writers – for example, Kazantzakis, Alexandrou, Anghelaki-Rouke – not only have extensive readerships globally, but are often remembered as the spokespeople for non-Greek literature within Greece. However, as purveyors of literature (their own and that of others), these writers are not isolated examples, and their efforts lock into wider political, institutional, historical, and social systems.

We are interested in papers that explore translation and transmission by examining:

- The role of writers and/or émigré authors and expatriate communities as agents
- The importance of cultural institutions, publishers, journals, or political figures/entities
- The significance of subject matter/genre/form/topicality
- Theories of cultural production/literary value (e.g. Casanova, Brouillette, Bourdieu)

Abstracts can relate to texts from the late 19th century to now, and may refer to the Greek islands or Cyprus.

Organisers: Eleni Philippou and Panayiotis Xenophontos

Turning-points: The Poetics of Crisis and Catastrophe

The year 2020 already feels like a turning-point: divided between pre-Covid time and the “new normal” of lockdowns and quarantines. But what makes this moment—or any moment—a turning point? Who decides? Samuel Beckett thought that turning-points were bogus, maintaining, as Michael Sheringham recalls, “that their logic of before and after, up till then and ever since, doesn’t fit with a profound sense that experience is an endless discontinuity” (Sheringham, “On Turning-Points”). But Sheringham held fast to the turning-point as something that made it possible “to think of a life as having a shape, as hanging together around some major articulations.” Less a fact of life than “a device for shaping or quarrelling with oneself — a way of thinking,” the turning-point weaves isolated existence into collective memory. The turning-point might even be said to lend human life a poetic form. Indeed, poetry’s earliest definitions identify it with the versura: a physical turning-point. This seminar will investigate the role of poetry in imagining and navigating those momentous junctures we might be tempted to call “turning-points.” Our focus will be on the forms of response adopted by poets in the face of change, crisis or catastrophe—be it ancient or contemporary, personal or public—and on the possibilities and limitations of inherited forms of organization and expression. We encourage proposals from scholars in late doctoral and post-doctoral stages.

Organisers: Liesl Yamaguchi and Adriana X. Jacobs

Epistemic Justice in Literary Studies

This panel addresses epistemic inequality in literary studies: the categories, theories and methods through which we read and conceptualize literature are still determined at the center of global academic production, while peripheral epistemologies often do not circulate beyond national borders and therefore do not take part in the shaping of the discipline.

We believe that attempts to rethink literary studies from outside the Euro-American scholarly traditions should be guided by a spirit of epistemic justice, defined by Miranda Fricker as equal participation in hermeneutic resources and a fair distribution of epistemic trust. Given the disparities in capital shaping the relations between departments, universities, languages, and scholarly traditions across the globe, we ask: What modes of conceptualization, theorization and reading are conducive to foster epistemic justice? What institutional conditions and practices are necessary to redress epistemic inequality in literary studies?

We invite papers addressing the need to revise the fundamental conceptual, theoretical, and methodological assumptions of literary studies towards a more epistemically just discipline. Possible themes include:

- The epistemic affordances of peripheral theories and methodologies
- Ways of reading that promote epistemic justice
- The circulation of theories and methodologies between centers and peripheries
- The role of institutions in creating and maintaining epistemic inequality

Organisers: Victoria Zurita and Chen Bar-Itzhak

Uljana Wolf Across Languages

Texts that do not fit comfortably into the literature of any one language prove to be especially productive for genuinely comparative lines of inquiry. Labelled with terms such as multilingual, translingual or postlingual, non-monolingual texts require approaches that deal with their disregard for clear linguistic boundaries and their resistance to contextualisation within the borders of a specific literary tradition. Situated between languages, genres and modes of writing, the work of Uljana Wolf provides an excellent case study for the theoretical and critical challenges involved in reading texts written and read across languages.

All of Wolf's collections of poetry are written across languages, as signalled by their titles: kochanie ich habe brot gekauft (2005), falsche freunde (2009), meine schönste lengevitch (2013). Wolf also translates translingual texts, such as poems by Eugene Ostashevsky, Matthea Harvey, Christian Hawkey, Erín Moure, and, with Michael Zgodzay, by Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki. Wolf's own work has been rewritten in English by Susan Bernofsky and Sophie Seita. Wolf's essays reflect on her writings across languages and on her work being re-written in other languages, and also engage with, e.g., the translingual poetry of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee.

We invite papers that address any aspect of Wolf's work across languages, such as writing as "writing with", as translation of multilingual texts, or as combining poetry, translation and critical writing.

Organisers: Brigitte Rath and Kasia Szymanska

3. Please join us for our forthcoming series of free monthly workshops exploring creative-critical writing, hybrid methodologies and experimental thinking.

A collaboration between the Critical Poetics Research Group at Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham Contemporary, featuring international guest speakers, this series of workshops provides a new platform for debate, collaboration and innovation suitable for those interested in exploring the relationship between creative and critical theory and practice.

The workshops will encourage deep thinking about pressing contemporary concerns and will involve reading and discussion as well as writing.

Nisha Ramayya, ‘On Listening’ – Wed 11 Nov, 5.30pm–7.30pm https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/whats-on/workshop-critical-poetics/

James Goodwin, ‘On Lysis’ – Wed 9 Dec, 5.30pm–7.30pm https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/whats-on/workshop-critical-poetics-dec/

Johanna Hedva, ‘On Doom’ – Wed 10 Feb 2021, 5.30-7.30pm

Simone White, (title tbc) – Wed 10 Mar 2021, 5.30-7.30pm

J R Carpenter, ‘On Verticality’ – Wed 14 Apr 2021, 5.30-7.30pm

Maureen N. McLane, ‘On the Notational’ – Wed 12 May 2021, 5.30-7.30pm

All workshop sessions will take place online, and places are limited. To sign up please submit an expression of interest (200 words), a visual statement or short oral presentation to Jack Thacker [jack.thacker@ntu.ac.uk] by 5 November 2020. We welcome applications from across disciplinary fields, from beyond the academy, and from all nationalities, as well as from under-represented groups, including trans and queer people, people of colour, and those with functional diversity.

We encourage active engagement in the sessions and preference will be given to applicants who are able to commit participation to the full programme. We welcome active engagement in the sessions. Selected reading materials will be provided to workshop participants.

Organised in collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary, this workshop programme is accompanied by the Five Bodies poetry series, a programme of public readings which brings together some of the most outstanding British and international poets to share unexpected ideas, experimental drifts and multiple voices following a long-standing tradition in poetry writing that melds perceiving, sensing, feeling and knowing as knowledge-making practices. 

For more information please visit: https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/whats-on and http://www.criticalpoetics.co.uk/five-bodies-critical-poetics-workshops/

4. New nonprofit initiative, Borderlines Open School for Advanced Cross-Cultural Studies. These courses are open to anyone with interest in the topic, including the general public, undergraduate/graduate students, and teachers and professors.

Below are just a few of the online courses offered in Winter/Spring 2021 that may be of particular interest to subscribers of comparative-literature. Most courses are seminar-style, and are capped at 20 students.

Poetry Translation Masterclass - https://borderlinesopenschool.org/courses/p/translation
Instructor: Rebecca Ruth Gould (University of Birmingham)
January 15–February 5, 2021; Fridays 5–7pm ET
This course offers an introduction to the art of translating poetry from a practitioner’s perspective. It is designed for poetry lovers and translators of all backgrounds—ranging from those who have never translated before but are interested in understanding what it is all about, to those who have been translating for decades and are eager to reflect on their craft in a group setting, to poets seeking to hone their craft by closely reading poetry in translation. No knowledge of a foreign language is required. All poems (by Persian poets Hafez and Bijan Elahi, Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, and others) will be read in English. Alongside focusing on the craft of poetry translation, students will expand their awareness of world poetry.

Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant": Memory, Literature, Genocide - https://borderlinesopenschool.org/courses/p/buriedgiant
Instructor: Meghan Vicks (CU Boulder; Borderlines Open School)
Section A: January 14–February 4, 2021; Thursdays, 8:30–10:30pm ET
Section B: January 16–February 6, 2021; Saturdays, 3–5pm ET
In this course we will closely read and discuss the entirety of The Buried Giant. We will carefully consider the various ways the novel is structured upon canonical texts through comparative analysis with excerpts from Gilgamesh, Homer’s Odyssey, Beowulf, the Arthurian legends, and Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. We will also study how the novel makes use of a recent historical debate over the potentially genocidal interactions of Briton and Saxon peoples in early medieval Britain. Finally, we will read Ishiguro’s Nobel Lecture (which he delivered in 2017 upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature), and ask how this Lecture refines or reconfigures our interpretation of The Buried Giant.

Why Lovecraft? Why Now? - https://borderlinesopenschool.org/courses/p/whylovecraft
Instructor: Rebekah Sheldon (Indiana University)
January 4–February 1, 2021; Mondays, 7–9pm ET
In this course we will focus on the New Weird, a group of 21st-century authors who are rewriting Lovecraft’s oeuvre and taking his images in dramatically new directions. For some of these writers, especially women authors and writers of color, Lovecraft’s ideas have sunk too far into the groundwork of American culture to simply cancel him. These writers tend to use shifts in narrative perspective to expose the colonial logic that informs Lovecraft’s tales and to give voice to characters that Lovecraft refuses, ignores, or makes into signs of degenerate evil. For other writers of the New Weird, it is the cosmic indifference of the Weird, its sense for the strange animacy of nonhuman life, that makes the genre worth revisiting. These writers find in the Weird an appropriate aesthetic strategy for intuiting the new realities of the Anthropocene. Beginning with the first episode of Lovecraft Country and several definitions of the weird, occult, uncanny, and eerie, this course will focus on two novellas that exemplify the range of the New Weird: Victor LaValle’s novella The Ballad of Black Tom (2016) and Jeff VanderMeer’s novella The Strange Bird (2017).

To learn more about our courses and this new initiative, please see our About page (https://borderlinesopenschool.org/about) and our FAQs (https://borderlinesopenschool.org/faqs). You may also email me with any questions.

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