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Annual Comparative Literature Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS:  50th Annual Comparative Literature Conference

Tradition and Innovation: Comparative Literature in the 21st Century

April 15-17th 2015

California  State University, Long Beach

Comparative Literature is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field with a global reach. Its roots can be traced to classical philology, but its modern incarnation can probably be found in Goethe’s early 19th-century concept of “world literature” (Weltliterature), in which he refers to the international circulation, reception, interpretation, and influence of ideas and the arts beyond cultural boundaries, an idea both poignant and prescient in our age of global communication.

Interdisciplinary comparative methodologies enable the field to address historical cultural production but also emergent questions about how humans represent and form their identities and how they interpret and construct meaning(s) in historically and culturally specific contexts.  More recently, Comparative Literature provides a space to go beyond “traditional” literature and incorporates film, graphic novels, music, popular culture, digital culture and almost any form of representation as part of its field of study. It also analyzes the discourse that underlies fields not typically associated with the Humanities, such as medicine and engineering–that are produced worldwide, and now have wider distribution and influence than ever.

We invite 250-word proposals for 15-20 minute individual presentations or one-hour panel discussions with up to 4 speakers on any topic that is appropriate for Comparative Literature.   A proposal could be an interpretation of a single text, a comparison of multiple texts, or a thematic or theoretical exploration.

Examples of potential panels:

  • Developing fields of study (i.e., World Cinema, Digital Humanities, Medical Humanities)
  • Comparisons of narrative styles: i.e., between Literature and Film, or in adaptation from text to screen.
  • Genres: fairy tales, travel, mythology, creation stories, historical fictions, superheroes
  • Classics in the 21st Century
  • The importance (or not) of translation
  • Thematic issues and their representation: for example, “technology,” “energy,” “medical care,” “poverty,” “violence,” “the environment,” or “migration.”
  • New literary and cultural voices in the 21st Century
  • Reflections of and resistance to “global” capitalism in the 21st Century
  • Reflections on spatial connections in the 21st Century: the Pacific Rim, the Mediterranean World, Eurasia, the cross-Atlantic

In addition to these potential topics, we are particularly interested in examples of effective interdisciplinary research and analysis, in Comparative Literature or other academic fields.

Send your proposals to


Deadline: March 15, 2015



Previous Conferences (websites):

49th Annual: Connections and Intersections: Interdisciplinarity Within and Among Disciplines, April 24th – 25th, 2014

48th Annual: Popular Culture(s), April 25th –26th, 2013

Plenary Speaker: Hillary Chute

Special Event Screening: “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman”

47th Annual: Drawing the Line(s): Censorship & Cultural Practices, March 1st – 3rd, 2012

Plenary Speaker: Ilan Stavans

B-Word Project Event: Azar Nafisi

46th Annual: The Comic Spirit in the Modern Age, 13-14 April, 2011

Plenary Speakers: Judy Carter and Ray Lacoste

45th Annual: Visual Culture & Global Practices, 4-6 March, 2010

Plenary Speaker: W. J. T. Mitchell

43rd Annual: Arrivals and Departures, 24-27, April 2008

Plenary Speaker: Marjorie Perloff


Archives: Comparative Literature Conferences from 1966 – present

List of Previous Conferences