2014 City University of Hong Kong

The Institute held its fourth summer school session from June 23 through July 17, 2014, at City University of Hong Kong. Our ambitious four-week program included two sets of five two-week seminars taught by leading names in world literature today, together with outstanding guest lectures and opportunities for participants to share their work in affinity groups, as well as panels on pedagogy, program development, publishing, and the job market. The program was supplemented by outings and cultural events to build community beyond the boundaries of the formal sessions. Our participants had the chance to examine critically the latest challenges of this comprehensive and rapidly developing field, from its theoretical concepts and the history of the discipline to its forms of practice today embedded in a world market. Our seminars were taught by a mix of distinguished senior faculty and innovative younger scholars of world literature:

  • Dudley Andrew, Yale University
  • David Damrosch, Harvard University
  • Theo D'haen, Catholic University, Leuven
  • Jacob Edmond, University of Otago
  • Svend Erik Larsen, Aarhus University
  • Leo Ou-fan Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Ronit Ricci, Australian National University
  • Karen Thornber, Harvard University
  • Zhang Longxi, City University of Hong Kong

Our 2014 guest lecturers were Professors Krishan Kumar (University of Virginia), Glenn Most (Scuola Normale, Pisa) and Gisèle Sapiro (CNRS and EHESS), three noteworthy figures who have made major contributions to the discipline of comparative literature, challenging and redefining from different perspectives the boundaries and key issues of classical and modern philology and sociology. Special panels composed of IWL faculty and participants discussed professional issues of building syllabi, designing and redesigning world literature courses and programs, and strategies for moving into the job market and for publishing.

In addition, our participants had the opportunity to share their current work together within our six affinity groups organized around broad themes: World Literature: Production and Circulation, World Literature and Translation, Postcolonialism and World Literature, World Cinema and World Literature, Premodern Literature and World Literature; Politics, Poetics and World Literature. Meeting once or twice each week with their peers, our participants discussed and refined current dissertation or book projects.

Our participants’ work benefited from using the resources of the Run Run Shaw Library of the City University of Hong Kong, renowned for its wide-ranging collection including more than a million volumes in print and over 2.4 million volumes of electronic books, as well as other media resources.

To feel the pulse of the city and its surroundings, we organized casual outings (free or at minimal cost such as museum entrance fees). Our participants visited the special collections (including antique maps and maps of China of the Late Qing Dinasty) at the library of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Visiting Victoria Peak and Victoria Harbor were among the high peaks of our program.