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"World Literature as a Construct: Spaces of Dissent", Prof. Galin Tihanov
Tue 21 March 2017, 18:30 – 21:00 GMT
Meet our Professors
The Inaugural Lecture of Professor Galin Tihanov: "World Literature as a Construct: Spaces of Dissent"
A reception will follow the lecture
Where is “world literature”? This seemingly naïve question has no easy answer. How we understand “world literature” – as attestable reality of texts or a prism (a “mode of reading”), as a universal entity of planetary scope or a construct that conceals heterogeneity and multiplicity – has very real implications for the ways in which we try to tell its story. In this lecture, I wish to suggest a grid that could assist in the effort of locating world literature as a construct. This grid is chronotopic and consists of several vectors. One needs to be aware of at least four major reference points: time, space, language, and, crucially, what one could term the plain of self-reflexivity, i.e. how literature itself reflects on, and creates images of, “world literature”, thus opening up spaces for interrogation and dissent from the currently prevalent neoliberal discourses of world literature. The lecture will be an exercise in intellectual history, examining notions of world literature since the eighteenth century; but it will also offer a closer reading and appreciation of a major twentieth-century novel. Geographically, the texts and authors considered in this lecture are drawn from the Anglo-Saxon realm, Central Europe, Russia, and China.
Galin Tihanov is the George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at QMUL. His most recent research has been on cosmopolitanism, exile, and transnationalism. His publications include four books and nine (co)edited volumes, as well as over a hundred articles on intellectual history, comparative literature, and literary and cultural theory. Tihanov is winner, with Evgeny Dobrenko, of the Efim Etkind Prize for Best Book on Russian Culture (2012; for their co-edited A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism: The Soviet Age and Beyond). He is Honorary President of the ICLA Committee on Literary Theory and has been elected to the Academia Europaea. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Institute for World Literature (Harvard University) and is Honorary Advisor to the Institute of Foreign Literatures, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Tihanov has held visiting appointments at Yale University, St. Gallen University, University of Sao Paulo, Peking University, Seoul National University, and the Higher School of Economics (HSE, Moscow), as well as research fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Open Society Fund, Collegium Budapest, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is currently completing a book on cosmopolitanism commissioned by Oxford UP for their “A Very Short Introduction” series and a book titled “Regimes of Relevance”, for Stanford UP.