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Literature and Theory: Theories of World Literature cancelled

ENGL 2401.401
also offered as: COML 2401
TR 12-1:29pm

Over the past three decades especially, “World Literature” has moved to the center of literary studies, asking teachers and students to re-examine fundamental concepts, categories, and practices, including periodization, nationalism, specialization and expertise, canonicity, translation, monolingualism and the rise of “global English,” comparativism, area studies, postmodernism and postcoloniality, literacy, access, and digitalization. In this advanced seminar, we’ll start by looking at the nineteenth-century origins of this phenomenon in Goethe’s influential concept of Weltliteraturand the invention of the field of Comparative Literature We’ll then quickly review the twentieth-century history of literary studies, including the rise of “theory,” before concentrating our full attention on the rapid twenty-first-century escalation of interest in the meanings, values, and conditions of “world literature.” Because the course is taught in English, we’ll be particularly concerned with the meanings and consequences of “global English.” And we’ll explore the broader effects on literary studies of twenty-first-century phenomena such as digitalization, new media, identitarianism, neo-liberalism, multinational corporate hegemony, and the crisis of higher education. Fundamental questions of limit, scale, and boundary will help coordinate our evaluation of diverse works by some of the most influential theorists of “world literature,” including Emily Apter, David Damrosch, Jacques Derrida, Theo D’haen, David Gramling, Franco Moretti, Aamir Mufti, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Yasmin Yildiz. Requirements will include a few short response papers, an in-class presentation, and a research-based, idea-driven final essay.


English Major Requirements
  • Sector 1 Theory and Poetics (AETP)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes