Colloquia

Colloquia are discussion forums on broad themes at the heart of world literary studies today, including the production, translation, circulation, and sociology of world literature, and the intersections of world literature with postcolonialism, world cinema, poetics and politics. Smaller than the seminars, colloquia are groups of about 10-12 people that meet without the supervision of an IWL faculty member and under the leadership of one of the IWL participants who is in charge of organizing the weekly meetings. Colloquia meet four times during the session (once a week) and usually two or three people present a twenty-minute paper based on a dissertation chapter, a draft essay, a book project, etc. Ideally, the presentation will be given orally rather than read, in order to engage more in the conversation/forum format of the colloquia. For each presenter, the group leader will assign a respondent, who will give a five-minute comment on the material presented, and then the group leader will open up the floor for questions and discussion.

In mid-April, the colloquium leader will contact the group to gather the titles and abstracts and then group them thematically into the four sessions before sending the group's schedule to the IWL Assistant Director, Dr. Delia Ungureanu (deliaungureanu@fas.harvard.edu) by June 1, 2019.

Together with the seminars, the colloquia are a required core component of our program, ensuring that every participant will have the opportunity to present their work and actively engage with their fellow participants.

This year's colloquia are organized around eight World Literature topics:

  • Politics, Poetics and World Literature
  • Postcolonialism and World Literature
  • Premodern Literature and World Literature
  • Sociology of World Literature
  • World Literature and Production
  • World Literature and Translation
  • World Literature and Circulation
  • World Cinema and World Literature

Participants will be placed in an appropriate colloquium group based on their preferences expressed in the application form and on abstracts of the work that will be uploaded onto the application form.

Colloquia are groups led by one of our participants. IWL invites applications (by March 25, 2019) from our postdoctoral and faculty participants to act as a colloquium group leader for the duration of our summer session. The group leader will be in charge of collecting the abstracts from the participants in the colloquium, organizing the weekly meetings, and sending the schedule to the group and to the IWL Assistant Director no later than June 1, 2019. After the program ends, the group leader will write brief a report about the group's activity and send it to IWL by September 1, 2019, to be posted online for the use of next year's participants. Colloquium group leaders will receive $250 for their work organizing and chairing the weekly meetings of the colloquia. Those interested are invited to send their CV and an expression of interest to iwl@fas.harvard.edu. The IWL Executive Committee will then select the group leaders by April 1, 2019.

If you want to apply to be a group leader, check out our Colloquia Leaders Memo

To get a better sense of how these colloquia groups function, but also of their benefits and challenges, check out the group reports put together by our group leaders following our seventh summer session at the University of Copenhagen: 

  1. Politics, Poetics, and World Literature 1
  2. Politics, Poetics, and World Literature 2
  3. Politics, Poetics, and World Literature 3
  4. Politics, Poetics, and World Literature 4
  5. Postcolonialism and World Literature 1
  6. Postcolonialism and World Literature 2
  7. Postcolonialism and World Literature 3
  8. Sociology and World Literature
  9. World Literature and Circulation
  10. World Literature and Translation 1
  11. World Literature and Translation 2
  12. World Literature and World Cinema

Once the colloquium groups are announced in early April, we will create groups hosted on Google Groups for each colloquium.

In the past, participants in such groups have often continued to work together on projects, including proposing a panel for the next ACLA conference.