About

The Institute for World Literature (IWL) has been created to explore the study of literature in a globalizing world. As we enter the twenty-first century, our understanding of “world literature” has expanded beyond the classic canon of European masterpieces and entered a far-reaching inquiry into the variety of the world’s literary cultures and their distinctive reflections and refractions of the political, economic, and religious forces sweeping the globe. Many people are now interested in teaching courses in world literature and in pursuing research within a global framework, but few programs in comparative or even world literature have yet established ways to train scholars and teachers to do such work on a broad basis. Meeting for four weeks each summer, in locations from Beijing to Istanbul to Harvard and beyond, the Institute is global in its presence as well as its intentions. With its headquarters at Harvard University and partners around the world, the IWL seeks to offer training in world literature in global perspective, and to provide the basis for ongoing community and exchange long after each session ends.

From left to right: Lusia Zaitseva (Harvard), Reine Meylaerts (KU Leuven), Paul Giles (University of Sydney), Jing Tsu (Yale), Homi Bhabha (Harvard), Gisèle Sapiro (CNRS & EHEES), David Damrosch (Harvard, Director IWL), Mistuyoshi Numano (UTokyo), Delia Ungureanu (Assistant Director IWL & University of Bucharest), Zhang Yanping (Harvard).