What People Say about Us

2016 Participants Opinions

We managed to talk about Brexit, James Joyce, and the iambic pentameter over a tub of ice cream on a hot Cambridge afternoon, and still ended up with a smile on our faces. It’s THAT intense! ● You get to live an intense, all-inclusive experience that you can recount later but that will never have the same taste as it did when you lived it. It’s one of those "you had to be there..." ● IWL is more than a traditional exchange program. It is a natural home for research and development, of literature and thoughts, of people and beliefs.


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 and 2016), 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.

2018 IWL Tokyo

Our 8th IWL session will take place at the University of Tokyo at the beautiful Hongo Campus from July 2 through July 26, 2018. Our distinguished seminar leaders include Christopher Bush (Northwestern U), Pheng Cheah (University of California at Berkeley), David Damrosch (Harvard U), Wiebke Denecke (Boston U), Ursula Heise (UCLA), Mitsuyoshi Numano (U of Tokyo), Katharina Piechocki (Harvard U), Jing Tsu (Yale U), Delia Ungureanu (U of Bucharest), Zhang Longxi (City U of Hong Kong). We've secured 45 inexpensive places at several hostels and hotels that will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. We expect to have 46 more places in an inexpensive hotel due to open in April 2018. The application period is November 1, 2017 -- February 1, 2018. 

Click here to download the 2018 IWL flyer.

2017 IWL Highlights



2016 IWL Highlights



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