OCCT MT2020 Week 1 Updates

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to move our events online. Our first event, on Monday Week 2 (19 October), will consist of a welcome session (12:30-1pm) in which we will have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and get to know each other, followed by a poetry reading (1-2pm) with poet Jennifer Wong. Jennifer will be reading from her recent collection Letters Home, which has been named the Wildcard Choice for Spring 2020 and examines what it means to be returning home, whether it is a location, a country, or a shared dream or language. There will be a Q&A after the reading.

Details regarding registration for the welcome session and poetry reading are available here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/discussion-group-poetry-reading.




1. 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:

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


2. 67th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies

Registration now open > https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/22834

Thursday, 22 and Friday, 23 October 2020


Online Programme

Thursday, 22 October 2020

10.00-10.15 Registration / Login

10.15-11.15 Panel 1: Illuminations: New Readings in German Romanticism

Svenja Glass (University of Kent): Language – Metaphor – Poetry: The Relevance of Mathematics in German Romanticism

Jonny Elling (University of Bristol): ‘Now lending splendour’: Luminous Rivers and the Figure of the Poet in Percy Shelley’s ‘Mont Blanc’ and Novalis’s Heinrich von Ofterdingen

11.15-11.30 Break

11.30-12.30 Panel 2: Investigating Archives and Exhibitions

Sophie Bayer (University of Edinburgh): The Ernst Levin Collection

Clare George (Miller Archivist/Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies at the IMLR) introduces the IGS Archives

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break

13.30-15.00 The 2020 Sylvia Naish Lecture (Chair: Godela Weiss-Sussex, IMLR)

Katherine E. Calvert (University of Sheffield): The Idealised Mother and the Socialist Movement in Weimar Germany


Friday, 23 October 2020

10.30-10.45 Registration / Login

10.45-11.15 Panel 3: Bildung, Family and Gender: Ideas in Transmission and Flux from the Baroque to Goethe

Sofia Derer (University of Heidelberg): Translation and the Strasbourg Lutheran Church in the Devotional Writings of Johann Michael Moscherosch

11.15-11.30 Break

11.30-12.30 Panel 4: Outsiders and the Other: Counter-Culture, Marginalisation and Resistance in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries

Francesco Albé (University of Cambridge): ‘Wir sind alle sehr exponiert’: Homosexual German Émigrés during National Socialism

Sifei Qin (University of Erlangen): Das Außenseitertum im Werk Wilhelm Raabes

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break

13.30-14.30 Panel 5: Images of Society: From Photographic Records to Political Visions

Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett (University of Leeds): The German Green Party as ‘the leading force of the leftcentre’: ‘radical’ pragmatism or gentrified protest?

Shivani Chauhan (University of Oxford): Gegen den Strudel des Vergessens: Identifying Mnemonic Threads of Post-Memorial Project and Reading Family Photographs in Sie kam aus Mariupol (2017) by Natascha Wodin


All are welcome to participate. Registration essential at https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/22834


3. Eco-Translation: Comparative Literature and the Environmental Humanities

2 December 2020

15:00 – 17:00 GMT




Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation

Postgraduate workshop co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)


Discussants: Florian Mussgnug (UCL) and Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway University London)
Chair: Ruth Cruickshank (Royal Holloway University London)

Global warming demands new forms of linguistic and conceptual inventiveness that can alert readers to unfamiliar and counterintuitive scales. As ecocritic Timothy Clark has suggested, much environmental damage happens at a scale that cannot be fully expressed by traditional realist modes of literary representation. It is brought about by individual human actions which are not ecologically significant in themselves but which collectively, across space and over time, threaten much of what we value about humanity and the more-than-human world. In the context of the climate crisis, this relation between individual observable causes and vast global effects marks a stark challenge to familiar anthropocentric narratives. It demands an unprecedented ability to move between counterintuitive scales and to communicate the unfamiliar. Writerly and critical attention to nonhuman subjectivity – a creative process that is also known as inter-species translation – marks a particularly important aspect of this new cultural and political agenda. 

In this workshop, we will read and discuss three chapters: by Timothy Clark, who has linked scalar literacy to the political critique of anthropocentrism; by cultural theorist Michael Cronin, who has stressed the significance of translation, beyond its linguistic origins, as a powerful metaphor for inter-species exchange; by Kari Weil who invites us to explore the apparent paradox of posthuman autobiography. Eco-translation, as defined by Cronin, and posthumanism, for Weil, foreground the importance of the more-than-human world, not as a mere backdrop or context for human stories, but as a co-constitutive presence that intersects with human culture and society in a single, volatile temporal force field. Translation, which “on the face of it appears to be a pre-eminently human activity”, thus comes to express extended forms of ecological relatedness (Cronin 2017: 13). Dramatic shifts in the common perception of distance, proximity and context, according to Cronin and Weil, are not only a persistent feature of cultural and linguistic translation: they also define our planetary habitat in times of anthropogenic crisis.

Preparatory Reading
Timothy Clark, “Scalar Literacy”, in The Value of Ecocriticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 38-56.
Michael Cronin, “Translating Animals”, in Eco-Translation: Translation and Ecology in the Age of the Anthropocene (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 67-93.
Kari Weil, “Autobiography”, in Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Posthuman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 84-95.


4. The School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews, welcomes PhD applications in a wide range of research areas across its seven language departments (Arabic & Persian, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish) and Comparative Literature programme.


With 46 research active members of staff, the School of Modern Languages has a vibrant research culture which spans a wide range of national cultures and cross-disciplinary themes including:

  • creativity and performance
  • history, politics and society
  • medieval and early modern studies
  • medical humanities and cultures of science
  • postcolonial and transnational studies
  • translation studies and linguistics
  • gender and sexuality studies
  • memory studies.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 the School was ranked first in Scotland in terms of its publications with over 70% of its outputs rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


To find out more about our research, please visit: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/modern-languages/research/


To learn more about potential supervisors and their areas of expertise, please visit: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/modern-languages/people/


We warmly invite expressions of interest from students planning to apply to the Scottish Graduate School in Arts and Humanities (https://www.sgsah.ac.uk/). Proposals submitted by 23rd November 2020 will be considered for submission to the SGSAH AHRC PhD scholarships competition. The application process involves several stages and we recommend that you contact us as early as possible to discuss your ideas.


Other sources of funding for which applications may be considered include: Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities, Carnegie PhD Scholarships, and the School of Modern Languages PhD scholarship. A limited number of competitive fee waivers are also available.


To find out more about funding opportunities, please go to:  https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/postgraduate/scholarships/research-scholarships/


To discuss potential applications and find out about the support we can give applicants, as well as for advice on expertise available in the School and enquiries about self-funded projects, please contact Dr Elodie Laügt at langsdopg@st-andrews.ac.uk

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