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. Past guest lecturers and keynote speakers include Gayatri Spivak (2011), Orhan Pamuk (2012), Homi Bhabha (2013, 2016, 2019), Gisèle Sapiro (2014), and Jérôme David (2015). Our seminars are taught by a wide range of scholars working across disciplines. Past seminar leaders include Susan Bassnett, Franco Moretti, Bruce Robbins, Gisèle Sapiro, Lawrence Venuti, Rebecca Walkowitz, and many more. Read more.

2016 IWL: David Damrosch, “What Isn’t World Literature?"

Franco Moretti's 2015 IWL Lecture, U of Lisbon: "Patterns"

2016 IWL Highlights



The Written World: David Damrosch & Martin Puchner

Homi Bhabha Keynote 2019 IWL

Yoko Tawada, IWL Tokyo Lecture: “A Dream of Multilingual Poetry”

The World of World Literature: Pheng Cheah and David Damrosch

2018 IWL Highlights

  • Akamon Red Gate

    8th IWL, University of Tokyo, July 2-26, 2018

    Akamon Red Gate

  • Cheah Damrosch

    Opening Event: The World of World Literature

    Conversation between Pheng Cheah and David Damrosch

  • Opening dinner Tokyo

    Getting together for the opening dinner

    ... and anticipating our exciting seminars, colloquia, and guest lectures

  • Chris Bush

    Christopher Bush, "The Avant-Gardes in the World"


  • Pheng Cheah

    Pheng Cheah, "World Literature and Cosmopolitanism in Postcolonial Globalization"


  • David first part

    David Damrosch, "Globalization and Its Discontents"


  • Ursula Heise

    Ursula Heise, "Science Fiction and the Imagination of Planetary Futures"


  • Mitsu seminar

    Mitsuyoshi Numano, "Somewhere in Between: Boundaries, Resonances, and Interactions in Time and Space"


  • Katharina seminar

    Katharina Piechocki, “Rethinking World Literature through Cartography and the Spatial Turn”


  • Jing Tsu seminar

    Jing Tsu, "Multi-Scale Literary Studies"


  • Delia seminar

    Delia Ungureanu, "Localizing Time in World Literature and World Cinema"


  • Zhang Longxi seminar

    Zhang Longxi, "From Comparison to World Literature: Readings and Conceptual Issues"


  • Colloquia Tokyo


    Sharing your work and elaborating new projects in a friendly environment

  • YHCHI 2

    Guest lecture: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries


  • Tawada lecture

    Guest lecture: Yoko Tawada

    "A Dream of Multilingual Poetry"

  • Motoyuki Shibata

    Guest lecture: Motoyuki Shibata

    "The Task of the Translator"

  • Ursula talk

    Ursula Heise, "The Novel and the City in the Anthropocene"

    Plenary Talk

  • Jing Talk

    Jing Tsu, “The Cosmic Smalls: Who is at the Center of Literature?”

    Plenary Talk

  • New Voices 2

    New Japanese Voices. A Conversation with Japan's Leading Young Novelists

    Kawakami Mieko, Ono Masatsugu, Hirano Keiichiro

  • Panel on Publishing Tokyo

    Panel on Publishing

    Sean Seeger, Zhang Longxi, David Damrosch, Delia Ungureanu

  • Job Market Tokyo

    Panel on the Job Market

    Hao Lan, Wiebke Denecke, Marie Ostby, Ben Holgate, David Damrosch

  • Questions

    A vibrant intellectual environment

  • Closing dinner 2

    ... and the best adventures are yet to come

2017 IWL Highlights