Appel à communications (31/5): Comparative Criticism: Histories and Methods 25th- 26th September 2013 St Anne’s College, Oxford
An open meeting of the Oxford University Research Network New Grounds for Comparative Criticism (, held in collaboration with the British Comparative Literature Association and funded by The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities, the John Fell Fund, and St Anne’s College.

The way we do comparative criticism affects the histories we tell of it; and the histories we tell affect our practice. Our conference aims to explore this interaction. We will resurrect moments from the history of comparative literature, tracing its relation to national and regional literatures, comparative philology and classical traditions. There will be discussion of the role played by institutions, including Oxford, in shaping the discipline. We will consider the different forms that comparative study assumes iin different locations, and we will explore its connections to translation and area studies, and world literature. Attention will be given to the interplay between the comparative criticism of written texts and that of film, music and visual art. Is ‘comparative criticism’ a distinct formulation that might usefully join ‘comparative literature’, ‘world literature’ and the rest?

The following contributions have been confirmed. Prof Joep Leerssen (Amsterdam) will talk about his work on the soon-to-be-published, first ever history of comparative literary study in Britain (Leerssen and Shaffer, Comparative Literature in Britain: National Identities, Transnational Dynamics 1800

- 2000). Prof Ritchie Robertson (Oxford) will discuss ideas of world literature before Goethe. Prof Mihály Szegedy-Maszák (Budapest and Indiana) will consider the challenges of comparative work from a Hungarian perspective, and Prof Ahmad Etman (Cairo) will describe the state of the discipline in the Arab world. Members of the Oxford research network will explore matters such as translation and comparison, comparison beyond influence, and metaphors of comparison. Representatives of the BCLA will describe the state of the discipline in Britain today.

We now invite proposals for short papers on the following topics:

- Comparative literature and film, music and the visual arts

- The construction of interpretive contexts in comparative criticism

- Methodological intersections between comparative literature, area studies and world literature

Please send a 200 word proposal and a short biog to by Friday 31st May.

The programme will be finalised by mid-June, and registration will open thereafter.

Organisers: Elinor Shaffer (BCLA); Matthew Reynolds, Mohamed-Salah Omri, Ben Morgan, Céline Sabiron (Oxford).