July 15-25

Verena Conley, "Environmental Humanities and New Materialisms"

In this seminar we will study what ties environmental humanities to new materialisms. In all their diversity, new materialisms include works that contest Descartes’ taxonomic categories, based on primary and secondary qualities, that informed the politics of colonialism, the separation of nature and culture, the control of women and other minorities since the advent of early modernity. New materialisms rethink what we call subjectivity by stressing the presence of inhuman forces within the human. They draw attention to the entanglements and self-organizing powers of several hon-human processes; explore dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices; reconsider too the sources of ethics, and commend the need to fold a cosmological dimension more regularly into local and global politics.

We will first see how new materialisms reconfigure relations between human, non-human, animate and inanimate, global and local. We will study critical and fictional texts with emphasis on how they cross national and disciplinary boundaries. Our focus will be comparative. Works of fiction include Amitav Ghosh, Ursula Le Guin, Indra Sinha, Anna Tsing, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others. We will complement them with critical readings by Jane Bennett, Rosi Braidotti, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Pheng Cheah, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Brian Massumi, Timothy Morton, Jussi Parikka, Isabelle Stengers, Imre Szeman, Alexander Weheliye.

Verena Conley is Director of Graduate Studies and Long Term Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature and Romance LanguageVerena Conley 2s and Literature in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard. Her research fields include Critical and Cultural Theory; Politics and Aesthetics; Ecology and Technology; Contemporary Fiction and Film. Her books include Spatial Ecologies: Urban Sites, State and World Space in French Cultural Theory (2012); Littérature, politique et communisme: Lire “Les Lettres françaises,” (1942-1972) (2005); Ecopolitics: The Environment in Poststructuralist Theory (2007), Rethinking Technologies, ed. (1993; 1997), Hélène Cixous (1992), Hélène Cixous: Reading with Clarice Lispector, ed. Trans. & introduced (1990); Hélène Cixous: Readings: The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist, Lispector and Tsvetaeva. Ed. Trans. & introduced (1991); Hélène Cixous: Writing the Feminine (1984; expanded edition, 1991), Nancy Now. Ed. With Irving Goh (2013). She is the author os a creative book: The War against the Beavers (2003; 2005). Her recent Articles include "Chaosmopolis," Theory of Culture and Society 19, 1-2 (2002), special issue on "Cosmopolis,"185-198. "Processual Practices," Southern Atlantic Quarterly, 100.2 (Spring 2001), special number on Michel de Certeau, 483-500. "The Passenger: Paul Virilio," Theory of Culture and Society 16, 5-6 (October-December 1999); reprinted in Paul Virilio (Sage, 2000). "Whither the Virtual: Slavoj Zizek and Cyberfeminism," in Angelaki, Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 4. 2 (1999), 129-137. "Becoming Woman Now," in Deleuze and Feminist Theory, Ian Buchanan and Claire Colebrook eds. (Edinburgh, 2000), 18-37. "Hommage à Hélène Cixous," in H.C., Croisées d'une oeuvre (Galilée, 2001), 343-352.

Session 1: Environmental Humanities, New Materialism, Globalization

  • Pheng Cheah, “The New World Literature: Literary Studies discovers Globalization,” What is a World.
  • Jane Bennett, “Vitality and Self-Interest,” Vibrant Matter.
  • William Connolly, Chapter 1; Interlude 1, The Fragility of Things.
  • Lars van Trier, Melancholia (dvd).

Session 2: New Materialisms 2

  • Rosi Braidotti, “Post-anthropocentrism,” The Posthuman.
  • Brian Massumi, “Beyond Self Interest,” The Power at the End of the Economy.
  • Isabelle Stengers, “Between Two Histories,” “The Epoch has changed,” Catastrophic Times.
  • --. “The Cosmopolitical Proposal,” Bruno Latour, ed. Making Things Public.

Session 3: New Materialisms 3

  • Bruno Latour et al, Reset Modernity, “Let’s Touch Base,” “Relocalizing the Global," “Without the World or Within,” “From Lands to Disputed Territories”.
  • Cyril Neyrat, Leviathan.
  • Lucien Chastaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, Leviathan (dvd).
  • Anna Tsing. The Mushroom at the End of the World, “Entanglements,” “Prologue,” “Part 1. What’s Left?”, “Interlude”.

Session 4: Anthropocene Matters

  • Timorthy Morton, “A Quake in Being” Hyperobjects, 1-24; “The Age of Assymmetry,”Hyperobjects.
  • Reza Negarestami, “Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials”.
  • Margret Atwood, “It’s not Climate Change, It’s everything,” Matter, June 27, 2015.

Session 5: Anthropocene Matters

  • Jussi Parikka, “A Media History of Matter,” “Cultural Techniques of Material Media, in The Anthrobscene.
  • Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization.
  • Indra Sinha, “Tape One,” “Tape Two”, Animal’s People.
  • Claire Colebrook, “We have always been Post-Anthropocene,” Energy Humanities, Imre Szeman and Dominic Boyer, eds.

Session 6: Energy Humanities: Modernity, Aesthetics and Ethics

  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, The Climate of History: Four Theses, Critical Inquiry(Winter 2009).
  • Imre Szeman, “System Failure: Oil, Futurity, and the Anticipation of Disaster,” Energy Humanities.
  • Pablo Neruda, “Standard Oil Co.", Energy Humanities.
  • Italo Calvino, “The Petrol Pump, Energy Humanities.
  • Stephen Collis, “Reading Wordsworth in the Tar Sands,” Energy Humanities.

Session 7: Modernity, Ethics and Aesthetics 2

  • Amitav Ghosh, “Petrofiction: The Oil Encounter and the Novel,” Energy Humanities.
  • --. “Stories,” The Great Derangement.
  • Abdul Rahman Munif, Cities of Salt.
  • Ken Saro Wiva, “Night Ride,” A Forest of Flowers, Short Stories.
  • Rob Nixon, “Pipedreams,” Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.
  • Alexander Welehiye, “Introduction,” “Blackness, the Human,” In Habeas Viscus.

Session 8: Environmental Humanities, Extinction and Dead Zones

  • Donna Haraway, “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulhucene,” in Art in theAnthropocene, eds. Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin.
  • Ursula Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest, chapter 2.
  • Anna Tsing et al. “Introduction”, The Art of Living on a Damaged Planet.
  • Karen Barad, “No Small Matter,” The Art of Living on a Damaged Planet, Anna Tsing et al. eds.
  • William Connolly, “Postcolonial Ecologies, Extinction Events and Entangled Humanism” in Facing the Planetary.


David Damrosch, "Globalization and Its Discontents"

This seminar will trace the problematic of global world literature over the course of the modern period, looking at the rise of capitalist markets, the shifting of centers, peripheries, and semi-peripheries, and the interplay of empires and broader global frameworks in the age of (semi-)global English. Works by Molière, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, James Joyce, Higuchi Ichiyo, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Clarice Lispector, Eileen Chang, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Ang Lee will be explored in light of debates over world literature and globalization from Goethe and Auerbach to contemporary scholars including Pascale Casanova, Franco Moretti, Emily Apter, Shu-mei Shih, and the Warwick Research Collective.

David Damrosch is Director of the Institute for World Literature andDavid DProfessor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University, USA. A past president of the American Comparative Literature Association, he has written widely on comparative and world literature. His books include What Is World Literature? (2003), The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh (2007), and How to Read World Literature (2009). He is the founding general editor of the six-volume Longman Anthology of World Literature (2004), editor of Teaching World Literature (2009), co-editor of The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature(2009), and co-editor of a recent collection, Xin fangxiang: bijiao wenxue yu shijie wenxue duben [New Directions: A Reader of Comparative and World Literature] (Peking U. P., 2010).


Session 1: World Literature(s)/Weltliteratur(en)

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from Conversations with Eckermann
  • Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, “World-literature”
  • Erich Auerbach, “Philology of World Literature”
  • Selections from Apuleius, Hafiz, and Goethe

Session 2: Comparing the Incomparable 

  • Marcel Detienne, “Constructing Comparables”
  • Molière, from The Bourgeois Gentilhomme
  • Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Love Suicides at Amijima

Shifting Centers: 

Session 3: Peripheries and Semi-peripheries

  • Franco Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature” and “More Conjectures”
  • Critiques of Moretti by the Warwick Research Collective
  • Higuchi Ichiyo, “Separate Ways”
  • James Joyce, “The Sisters,” “Eveline”
  • Clarice Lispector, “Happy Birthday”

Session 4: Provincializing Europe

  • Pascale Casanova, “Literature, Nation, and Politics”
  • Oswald de Andrade, “The Anthropophagist Manifesto”
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “The Argentine Writer and Tradition,” “Pierre Menard”
  • Julio Cortázar, “Axolotl”
  • Clarice Lispector, “The Fifth Story”

Translation in the Global Market

Session 5: The Uneven Playing Field

  • Georg Brandes, “World Literature”
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “The Translators of the 1001 Nights”
  • Emily Apter, “Untranslatables: A World System”
  • Selections from translations of The Thousand and One Nights

Session 6:  Making a World Author

  • Stephen Owen, “What Is World Poetry?”; “Stepping Forward and Back”
  • Shu-mei Shih, “Global Literature and the Technologies of Recognition”
  • Selections from Wu Cheng’en, Bei Dao, and Mo Yan

Born Global 

Session 7: The Politics of Global English

  • Gillian Lane-Mercer, “Global and Local Languages”
  • Rebecca Walkowitz, from Born Translated
  • Salman Rushdie, “Chekov and Zulu”
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, “The Third and Final Continent”
  • Jamyang Norbu, from The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes

Session 8: From Shanghai to Hollywood

  • Eileen Chang, “Lust, Caution”
  • Ang Lee, Lust, Caution
  • Leo Ou-fan Lee, “Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution and Its Reception”


Dominique Jullien, "Jorge Luis Borges and/as World Literature"

Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires 1899 - Geneva 1986) has become synonymous with world literature. He offers a remarkable case of a writer whose relatively small body of writings, widely translated beginning in the sixties, has profoundly altered the literary landscape, not only in his native Argentina and in Latin America, but also beyond, in a global context. Borges is also unique in shaping both literature and theory in equal measure: his writings have been as influential for contemporary fiction (from magic realism to postmodernism) as for critical theory (from post-structuralism to deconstruction and beyond). With his singular generic diversity, especially his signature blending of fiction and non-fiction, Borges also offers an ideal point of entry into some of the major questions of contemporary literary criticism. This seminar focuses on the ways in which Borges’s writings—stories, essays and poems—engage with key aspects of world literature, including translation history and theory, the dialogue with the Western canon, the legacy of Goethe’s Weltliteratur, and generic hybridity. Alongside major texts by Borges, a sample of texts by writers who either have influenced Borges or have been influenced by him gives a sense of Borges’s crucial position in world literature, while secondary readings also aim to offer a glimpse of Borges’s significance for contemporary literary theory. Readings are in English, mostly from the Penguin edition; Spanish originals of Borges’s texts will be provided for those who can read them.

Dominique Jullien is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her scholarly interests encompass 19th and 20th century fiction, with particular focus on Proust, Borges, Orientalism, the Western reception and reworking of the Thousand and One Nights, travel literature, and translation history and theory. She is the author of Proust et ses modèles. Les Mille et Une nuits et les Mémoires de Saint-Simon (Paris: Corti, 1989), Récits du Nouveau Monde. Les Voyageurs français en Amérique de Chateaubriand à nos jours (Paris: F. Nathan, 1992), Les Amoureux de Schéhérazade: variations modernes sur les Mille et Une Nuits (Geneva: Droz, 2009), and the editor of Foundational Texts of World Literature (New York: Peter Lang, “Currents in Comparative Languages and Literatures”, 2011), among others. She has published extensively on Jorge Luis Borges in Comparative Literature, The Romanic Review, Revue des Sciences Humaines, and elsewhere. Her most recent book is Borges, Buddhism and World Literature: A Morphology of Renunciation Tales (Palgrave, 2019).

Session 1: Cosmopolitan Borges 

Introduction to “Global Borges” beyond Argentina and Latin America. “Worlding” Don Quixote: Pierre Menard as an insight into the practice of reading classics globally.

  • From Collected Fictions: “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”, “The Library of Babel.”
  • From Selected Non Fictions: “Kafka and his Precursors”; “The Argentine Writer and Tradition.”
  • Julio Cortázar, “Continuity of Parks” (End of the Game and Other Stories, New York: Collier Books, 1968).
  • Beatriz Sarlo, Jorge Luis Borges: A Writer on the Edge, Cambridge: Verso, 1993 (“Introduction”).
  • Pascale Casanova, “Literature as a World”. In D’Haen, Theo, et al. (eds.) World Literature: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2012.
  • Gérard Genette, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997: Chapter 52 “Pseudosummary in Borges.”


  • Mariano Siskind. “The genres of World Literature: the Case of Magical Realism.” In: Theo D’Haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir. The Routledge Companion to World Literature.
  • Jaime Alazraki, “A new critical idiom: Borges's modernism and the new critical idiom”, in Edna Aizenberg (ed.), Borges and his Successors: the Borgesian Impact on Literature and the Arts (Columbia & London: U. of Missouri Press, 1990).

Session 2: Borges and Translation

A discussion of the central role of translation in Borges’s writing career, theoretical insights and creative process, with particular emphasis on Borges’s two foundational essays that, read together, provide an ideal point of entry into key Translation Studies issues.

  • from Selected Non Fictions: “The Homeric Versions”; “The Translators of the 1001 Nights.”
  • Franz Kafka, “The Cares of a family man”; “The Truth about Sancho Panza” (The Complete Stories, New York: Schocken Books, 1971).
  • Efraín Kristal, Invisible Work: Borges and Translation, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt U. P., 2002: Chapter One “Borges on Translation”


  • Lawrence Venuti, “World Literature and Translation Studies”. In Theo D’Haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir, eds. The Routledge Companion to World Literature.

Session 3: Borges and the 1001 Nights

A discussion of the foundational presence of the 1001 Nights intertext in Borges. Special focus on themes of framing, orality and anonymity, infinite and recursive narration, and destiny.

  • J.L. Borges, Stories, from Collected Fictions: “The Story of the Two Dreamers”; “The South.”
  • Poems: “Someone”, “Metaphors of the 1001 Nights.”
  • J.L. Borges, Essay “The 1001 Nights”, from Seven Nights.
  • Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1982 (first tale: “If on a winter’s night a traveler”)
  • Evelyn Fishburn, “Traces of the Thousand and One Nights in Borges”, in Wen-Chin Ouyang & Geert Van Gelder (eds.), New Perspectives on Arabian Nights: Ideological Variations and Narrative Horizons, London & New York: Routledge, 2005.


  • Philip Kennedy, “Borges and the missing pages of the Nights” from Kennedy, Philip F., and Marina Warner (eds.). Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights. New York: New York University Press, 2013.
  • Sandra Nadaff, “The Thousand and One Nights as World Literature” (The Routledge Companion to World Literature.

Session 4: Borgesian Orientalism

A discussion of Borgesian Orientalism, from Spain to China, with special focus on some Borgesian myths: Al Andalus, the English Romantic Orient, hybrid Orients.

  • J. L. Borges, Stories, from Collected Fictions: “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim”; “The Lottery in Babylon”; “The Garden of Forking Paths”; “Averroës’ Search”; “Parable of the Palace”
  • Poems: “Rafael Cansinos Asséns”; from Jorge Luis Borges: the Sonnets: “Of the Lovely and Varied Andalusia.”
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”, in The Complete Poems, Penguin Classics, 2004.
  • Edward FitzGerald, “Rubaiyat” (selections)
  • Dominique Jullien, “In Praise of Mistranslation: the Melancholy Cosmopolitanism of Jorge Luis Borges”, Romanic Review, 98: 2-3, “Further Inquisitions”, special issue on Jorge Luis Borges, edited by S.J. Levine, March-May 2007.


  • Ian Almond, “Borges the Post-Orientalist: Images of Islam from the Edge of the West”, Modern Fiction Studies 50, 2 (Summer 2004).

Session 5: Borgesian Weltliteratur?

A discussion of the intersection of Borges and Goethe’s foundational idea of Weltliteratur, with particular emphasis on Borges’s reworking of the Goethean notion of “morphology”.

  • Stories, from Collected Fictions: “The Theme of the Traitor and the Hero”; “The Plot.”
  • Poems, from Selected Poems: “Ars poetica.”
  • from Selected Non Fictions: “Forms of a Legend”; “The Dialogues of Ascetic and King”; “The Argentine Writer and Tradition.”
  • Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), “A Consolatory Tale”, Winter’s Tales (New York, Random House, 1942; Vintage, 1993).
  • John Pizer, “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Origins and relevance of Weltliteratur”, in Theo D’Haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir. The Routledge Companion to World Literature (London & New York: Routledge, 2011).


  • Fritz Strich, Goethe and World Literature. London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1949, chapter 1: “The idea.”
  • Erich Auerbach, “Philology and Weltliteratur” (in D’Haen, Theo, et al. (eds.) World Literature: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2012. 

Session 6: Generic Border Crossing: the Cognitive Turn

A discussion of Borges’s signature blending of fiction and non fiction, with particular focus on the epistemological foundation of fictions: the place of knowledge, speculation and encyclopedias in the Borgesian imaginary. Memory, cognition, and the invention of literary genres.

  • from Collected Fictions: “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”; “Funes, his Memory”; “On Exactitude in science”; “Blue Tigers.”
  • from Selected Non Fictions: “John Wilkins’ Analytical Language.” 
  • Samuel Beckett, Molloy (Three Novels, New York: Grove Press, 1958)
  • Reingard Nethersole, “World Literature and the Library”, in Theo D’Haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to World Literature, London & New York: Routledge 2011.


  • Clive Griffin, “Philosophy and Fiction”, The Cambridge Companion to Jorge Luis Borges, Ed. by Edwin Williamson, Cambridge U.P., 2013.
  • Rodrigo Quian Quiroga “In Retrospect: Funes the Memorious”,  Nature Vol. 463, 4 February 2010,.

Session 7: Borgesian Mysteries

A discussion of the Borgesian engagement with and rewriting of the genre of the detective story, with particular focus on the metaphysical mystery and the intertextual connections to Edgar A. Poe.

  • from Collected Fictions: “Death and the Compass”
  • from Selected Non Fictions: “The Labyrinths of the Detective Story and Chesterton”; “The Detective Story”.
  • E. A. Poe “The Murders in the rue Morgue” (online text https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/poe/edgar_allan/p74mu/)
  • Holquist, Michael. “Jorge Luis Borges and the Metaphysical Mystery”, Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, I-II. Robin W. Winks and Maureen Corrigan (eds.). New York, NY: Scribner’s, xiv, 1998.


  • Irwin John, T. “Mysteries we Reread, Mysteries of Rereading: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story” (from Detecting Texts: The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Eds. Patricia Merivale and Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).
  • “Introduction: crime fiction as world literature”, in Nilsson, Louise, David Damrosch, and Theo d’Haen (Eds.). Crime Fiction As World Literature. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.
  • Paul Auster, City of Glass (The New York Trilogy, volume one, Penguin Books, 1987: first chapter).

Session 8 Immortals, Inc.: Reading as Writing

A discussion of the Borgesian theory of reading, with particular emphasis on the Borgesian notion of “precursor” and its relevance for contemporary world literature theory. The place of J. L. Borges in the ongoing debate about “the Classic”.

  • From Collected Fictions: “The Immortal”; “The Maker”; “Everything and Nothing”; “Borges and I”; “Shakespeare’s memory”.
  • From Selected Non-Fictions: “From Someone to Nobody,” “Kafka & his Precursors.”
  • Georges Perec, Life, a User’s Manual (selection from last chapter: chapter XCIX “Bartlebooth, 5”)
  • John Sturrock “Man into Author”, Paper Tigers: the Ideal Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.


  • David Damrosch : “Goethe coins a phrase”, What Is World Literature?, Princeton: Princeton U. P., 2003.
  • Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose (New York: Mariner Books, 2014: “Prime”).


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

What is the impact of space, geography, and mapping on the study of world literature? By bringing cartography and the spatial turn in dialogue with world literature this seminar asks: what can be gained when literary texts and classics of world literature are read “cartographically,” with an emphasis on the tension between narrative and spatial imaginary? How does the question of scale—one of cartography’s main keywords—emerge as one of world literature’s principal challenges? How does the spatial turn not only reevaluate modes of visualization and strategies of mapping, but also redirect world literature? This seminar discusses maps and texts (theoretical and primary) from Antiquity to the 21stcentury, with an emphasis on the early modern period, when cartography first emerged as a discipline. It includes authors such as Homer, Plato, Augustine, Ibn Khurradādhbih, Petrarch, Christine de Pizan, Columbus, Thomas More, Sor Juana, Friedrich Schiller, E.A. Poe, Jules Verne, Jamaica Kincaid, and Ananda Devi. The readings will be accompanied in class by maps from different periods and regions of the world.

Katharina N. Piechockiis Associate Professor of Comparative Literature atKatharina Piechocki Harvard University. She specializes in early modern literature, with a particular focus on cartography, translation studies, theater and opera, gender studies, and world cinema. Her book, Cartographic Humanism: The Making of Early Modern Europe, is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press (2019).Among her recent cartography-related publications are “Cartographic Translation: Reframing Leonardo Bruni’s De interpretation recta (1424)” and “Erroneous Mappings: Ptolemy and the Visualization of Europe’s East.” Her research, supported by numerous international and national fellowships, brings together canonical texts alongside untranslated and/or less-studied authors and reflects upon the interstices between Western/non-Western literatures and cultures. A former Distinguished Junior External Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (2015-16), she was invited to join the newly founded Europe Center (University of Konstanz, Germany) as a visiting professor in the summer of 2019.

Session 1: The World as Map (I)

  • Homer, Iliad, Book 18, “The Shield of Achilles.”
  • Genesis, 1.1-11.31.
  • Cicero, Republic[bilingual edition], “Scipio’s Dream.”
  • Wisława Szymborska, “Map.”
  • Anders Engberg-Pederson, “Introduction. Estranging the Map: On Literature and Cartography." 

Session 2: The World as Map (II)

  • David Woodward, “Medieval Mappaemundi.
  • Ptolemy,Geography, Book I: “Guide to Drawing a Map of the World." 
  • Peter K. Bol, “Exploring the Propositions in Maps: The Case of the ‘Yugi tu’ of 1136.” 
  • Barbara E. Mundy, “Mesoamerican Cartography.”

Session 3: Charting the Limits of the World

  • Seneca, Medea.
  • Ibn Khurradādhbih, Book of Roads and Kingdoms.
  • Angus Fletcher, The Topological Imagination, Chapter VII: Notes on a Family of Edges.

Session 4: Islands

  • Thomas More, Utopia, Book II.
  • Gilles Deleuze, “Desert Islands."
  • Kamau Brathwaite, Islands (“Jah,” “Littoral,” “The Cracked Mother,” “Caliban,” “Pebbles,” “Islands”).
  • Marc Shell, Islandology.

Session 5: Heterotopias

  1. Plato, “Atlantis." 
  2. Francis Bacon, New Atlantis.
  3. Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, Part I.
  4. Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces.”

Session 6: Offshore and Underwater Geographies

  • Virgil, Georgics [bilingual edition], IV.
  • Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered, XIV.
  • Lionel G. Fogarty, “Advance those Asian and Pacific Writers Poets.”
  • Derek Walcott, “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory”
  • Édouard Glissant, “The Open Boat.”
  • Mark Monmonier, Coastlines.

Session 7: Contested Cartographies

  • Claire G. Coleman, Terra Nullius.
  • Mia Couto, Woman of the Ashes.
  • Zayde Antrim, Mapping the Middle East.

Session 8: Poetics, Territory, Exile

  • Francesco Petrarca, Canzoniere[bilingual edition], Poem 331.
  • Edouard Glissant, “Errantry, Exile.”
  • Jamal Mahjoub, A Line in the River. Khartoum, City of Memory.


Gisèle Sapiro, CNRS and EHESS, Paris: "How Do Literary Works Cross Borders (or Not)?"

Since the mid-19thCentury, translation has become the main channel for the transfer of a text from one culture to another. The canon of world literature is composed of translated texts. However, the circulation of literary works in translation does not happen randomly. It is characterized by asymmetry, inequality, and the hegemony of certain languages. The seminar will explore different models for thinking this phenomenon: unequal exchanges (Casanova), flows of translation and world system theory (Heilbron), cultural transfers and polysystem theory (Even-Zohar), field theory and the economy of symbolic goods (Bourdieu). Three types of factors determining the circulation of literary works will be examined: economic, political and cultural. Attention will be paid to variations in time and space (including the communist and the postcolonial contexts) and to the role of agents: publishers, translators, critics, and other importers of foreign literature. Finally, norms of translation depend on the target culture. How do they shape the reception of the translated texts?

Gisèle Sapirois Professor of sociology at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales and Research director at the CNRS. Her interests include the sociology of intellectuals, of literature and of translation. She is the author of La Guerre des écrivains, 1940-1953(Fayard, 1999; English transl. The French Writers’ War, Duke UP, 2014), La Responsabilité de l’écrivain. Littérature, droit et morale en France (Seuil, 2011), Sociologie de la littérature(La Découverte, 2014). She has also (co-)edited Pour une histoire des sciences sociales(Fayard, 2004), Pierre Bourdieu, sociologue(Fayard, 2004), Translatio. Le marché de la traduction en France à l’heure de la mondialisation(CNRS Editions, 2008), Les Contradictions de la globalisation éditoriale(Nouveau Monde, 2009), L’Espace intellectuel en Europe(La Découverte, 2009), Traduire la littérature et les sciences humaines : conditions et obstacles(DEPS-Ministère de la Culture 2012), Sciences humaines en traduction(Institut français-CESSP, 2014). She currently runs the European Project INTERCO-SSH, assessing the state of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Europe and seeking to outline future pathways for cooperation across disciplinary and national boundaries.

Session 1: The World Republic of Letters: a hierarchized space

  • Pascale Casanova, 2005. “World Literary Space”, in The World Republic of Letters, translated by M. B. DeBevoise.

Session 2: Translated literature in the reception space

  • Itamar Even-Zohar, 1990. “The Position of Translated Literature within the Literary Polysystem.” Poetics Todayvol. 11, n° 1: 45-52.
  • David Bellos, 2011. “Translating Literary Texts,” in Is That a Fish in Your Ear?Translation and the Meaning of Everything. Penguin and Faber, chap. 27.

Session 3: Flows of translations: center and periphery

  • Johan Heilbron, 1999. “Towards a Sociology of Translation: Book Translations as a Cultural World-System,” European Journal of Social Theoryvol. 2, n° 4: 429-44.
  • Lawrence Venuti, 1998. “Globalization,” in The Scandals of Translation. Towards an ethics of difference, London-New York, Routledge, chap. 8, 158-189.

Session 4: The structure of the publishing field and the role of importers

Session 5: Norms of translation

  • Gideon Toury, 1995. “The Nature and Role of Norms in Translation,” in Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 53-69.
  • G.H. McWilliam, 1972. “Translator’s introduction”, in Giovanni Boccacio, The Decameroun, Penguin Books, 25-43.
  • Giovanni Boccacio, 1972, The Decameroun, Penguin Books, preface and tenth story of the third day, 45-47 and 314-323.
  • Lydia Davis, 2010. « A Note on the Translation » from « Introduction », in Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary. Provincial Ways, Viking,XXIII-XXV.

Session 6: The translator’s habitus

  • Daniel Simeoni,1998. “The Pivotal Status of the Translator’s Habitus.” Target10:1, 1-39.
  • Rakefet Sela-Sheffy, 2005. “How to Be a (Recognized) Translator: Rethinking Habitus, Norms, and the Field of Translation.” Target17:1, 1-26.
  • Christine Brooke-Rose, “Between”, in The Christine Brooke-Rose Omnibus, Carcanet Press, 2007.
  • A Conversation with Christine Brooke-Rosey Ellen G. Friedman and Miriam Fuchs. The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Fall 1989, vol. 9.3.
  • http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/a-conversation-with-christine-brooke-rose-by-ellen-g-friedman-and-miriam-fuchs/

Session 7: The meaning of translation: reception and strategies of appropriation

  • Pierre Bourdieu, 1999. “The Social Conditions of the International Circulation of Ideas.” English trans., in Bourdieu, a Critical Reader, ed. R. Shusterman, Wiley-Blackwell, 220-228.
  • André Malraux, 1952. “A preface for Faulkner’s Sanctuary,” (1933). English Transl. Yale French Studies, n°10, 92-94.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, “On The Sound and The Fury: Time in The Work of Faulkner,” (1939) English Transl. http://drc.usask.ca/projects/faulkner/main/criticism/sartre.htm

Session 8: The circulation of texts in postcolonial contexts

  • Pascale Casanova, 2005. “The Tragedy of Translated Men”,The World Republic of Letters, translated by M. B. DeBevoise, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, chap. 9
  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, 1986. “The Language of African Literature,” in Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature, chap. 1.
  • Edouard Glissant, 1999. “Poetic Intention” (1997), in Denis Hollier and Jeffrey Mehlman eds. Literary Debate. Texts and Contexts, NY: The New Press.
  • ‘Abdellatîf La’bî, 1999. “Prologue to the review Souffle” (1966), in Denis Hollier and Jeffrey Mehlman eds. Literary Debate. Texts and Contexts, NY: The New Press.
  • Assia Djebar, 1999. “The White of Algeria” (1993), in Denis Hollier and Jeffrey Mehlman eds. Literary Debate. Texts and Contexts, NY: The New Press.


Mariano Siskind, "About the End of the World: Crises of Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Culture and Theory"

Cosmopolitanism has been an extremely important master-concept to understand modern and modernist processes of global dislocation, disjuncture and displacement, as well as fantasies of totality, communication, and interrelations. Today, the displacement of more than 67 millions refugees, migrants and forcibly displaced persons as a result of environmental catastrophes, economic hardships, and small and large scale perpetual wars and terror in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and East Asia points to the radical dislocation of the symbolic structure we used to call “world”. Can the concept of cosmopolitanism still be useful to interrogate today’s generalized crisis of global displacements and traumatic losses? What is the ethico-political potential today of a cosmopolitanism without a world? This seminar is not about the very real historical suffering and losses of those whose bodies are wounded by the political, military, and environmental upheavals that we will call the end of the world; it is rather about the traces of those experiences that we call art and literature, in a post-cosmopolitan world. It explores the ways in which those of us who care about art and literature attend to these forms as symbolic sites, as we (professors, students, intellectuals, writers, artists) struggle to determine what we can and can no longer do about the end of the world through art as mediation.

In order to work through these notions we will read text by literary writers and theorists including Roberto Bolaño, Giorgio Agamben, Immanuel Kant, Jacques Derrida, Elizabeth Bishop, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Julia Kristeva, Yuri Herrera, David Harvey, Hannah Arendt, Sigmund Freud, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Samanta Schweblin, Mark Fischer, together with visual work by Bouchra Khalili, Francis Alÿs, Subhankar Banerjee, Marco Poloni, Leila Alaoui and Daniel Castro García, and a film by Lars von Trier (Melancholia).

Mariano Siskind is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures andMariano 2019 Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He teaches nineteenth and twentieth century Latin American Literature with emphasis on its world literary relations, as well as the production of cosmopolitan discourses and processes of aesthetic globalization. He is the author of three dozen academic essays and of Cosmopolitan Desires. Global Modernity and World Literature in Latin America (Northwestern University Press, 2014; translated and publish in Spanish as Deseos Cosmopolitas in 2016). He has edited Homi Bhabha's Nuevas minorías, nuevos derechos. Notas sobre cosmopolitimos vernáculos (2013) and Poéticas de la distancia. Adentro y afuera de la literatura argentina (Norma, 2006) (together with Sylvia Molloy). In 2019 he will publish two monographs Latin American Literature and World War I: Global Modernism and Cosmopolitan Distance and About the end of the world. The Demise of Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Culture), as well as an edited volume titled, World Literature, Cosmopolitanism, Globality: Beyond, Against, Post, Otherwise (together with Gesine Müller).

Session 1: What has ended? What exactly have we lost?

  • Elizabeth Bishop’s “One art”. Warsan Shire, “Home”.
  • Roberto Bolaño, “Mauricio (The Eye) Silva” / “El Ojo Silva”.
  • In class we’ll analyze art by Bouchra Khalili, Francis Allÿs, Subhankar Banerjee, Marco Poloni, Leila Alaoui, Daniel Castro García and Daniel Richter.

Session 2: What was cosmopolitanism? What was the world?

  • Martha Nussbaum, “Patriotism or Cosmopolitanism”.
  • Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Cosmopolitan patriots”.
  • David Harvey, “The New Cosmopolitans”.
  • Pheng Cheah, “What is a World?".
  • Silviano Santiago, “The Cosmopolitanism of the Poor”.
  • Achille Mbembe, “Afropolitanism”.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “The Argentine Writer and Tradition”.

Session 3: The end of the world, crises of cosmopolitanism I: the (im)possibility of hospitality

  • Immanuel Kant, “On Perpetual Peace”.
  • Jacques Derrida, “A word of welcome” (in Adieu to Levinas).
  • Julia Kristeva, Strangers to ourselves (selections).

Session 4: The end of the world, crises of cosmopolitanism II: the refugee and the end of universal rights

  • Hannah Arendt, “The perplexities of the Rights of Man”, and “We refugees”.
  • Giorgio Agamben, “Beyond human rights” and “What is a camp?”.
  • Lyndsey Stonebridge, Placeless people. Writing, Rights and Refugees.

Session 5: The end of the world, crises of cosmopolitanism III: modern day slave labor in the Gulf

  • Deepak Unnikrishnan, Temporary People (Book 1).
  • Richard Smith, “Dubai in extremis”.
  • Veha Nora, “A tale of two creeks: cosmopolitan productions and cosmopolitan erasures in contemporary Dubai”.

Session 6: Going nowhere, barely surviving: border crossing without a world

  • Yuri Herrera, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo / Signs preceding the end of the world.
  • Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, Border as Method, or, The Multiplication of Labor.
  • Jason de León: The undocumented migration project (http://undocumentedmigrationproject.com).

Session 7: The end of the world, literally: ecological crisis and the Anthropocene

  • Samanta Schweblin, Distancia de rescate / Fever Dream.
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of history: Four Theses”.
  • Roy Scranton, Learning how to die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (selection).

Session 8: Dystopian imaginings: screening the end of the world. Plus a coda: mourning the world and our melancholic humanities

  • Mark Fisher, “It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”.
  • Melancholia (Dir. Lars von Trier, 2011).
  • Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia”.
  • Wendy Brown, “Resisting Left-Wing Melancholia”.


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

Two rising disciplines of the past couple of decades – world literature and world cinema – developed in parallel rather than in conjunction, despite sharing a body of theoretical knowledge and the need to adapt their objects to a globalized world. This seminar reexamines the points of intersection between these two disciplines and the possibilities for the “world” in “world literature” and “world cinema” to overlap to a larger extent than is currently thought. Does world cinema, both as an object of study and as a discipline, originate in world literature? Could world cinema, despite its much shorter history, circulate texts of world literature in a fresher way? Exploring these and other questions, this seminar will look at cinema and literature as temporal arts that find their specificity in the ways they engage with different culturally embedded representations of time. We will focus on films that take time not only as theme but as structural principle and as a means of creation and worlding. Discussions will include conceptual intersections between the national, the transnational, the global and the world, the circulation of cinema and literature between the avant-garde and mainstream circuits, and the relation of simultaneity and/or sequentiality between world cinema and world literature. Sources include literary texts by Proust, Woolf, Basho, Cao Xueqin, Arseny Tarkovsky, and Yourcenar, and films by Martin Scorsese, Stephen Daldry, Raúl Ruíz, Andrei Tarkovsky, Akira Kurosawa and Wong Kar-wai. Secondary readings include texts by Raúl Ruíz, Andrei Tarkovsky, Pheng Cheah, Dudley Andrew, Peter Cooke, and Esther C.M. Yau.

Delia Ungureanu is Assistant Director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature and Delia Uassociate professor of literary theory in the Department of Literary Studies at the University of Bucharest. She is the author of From Paris to Tlön: Surrealism as World Literature (Bloomsbury, 2017), and of Poetica Apocalipsei: Razboiul cultural in revistele literare romanesti (1944–1947) (The Poetics of Apocalypse: The cultural war in Romanian literary magazines, 1944-1947, Bucharest UP, 2012). She has published essays on canon formation, modern poetry and poetics, Shakespeare, and Nabokov, and has coedited with Thomas Pavel Romanian Literature in Today's World, a special issue of the Journal of World Literature. She is currently finishing her third book, Time Regained: World Literature and Cinema that will be published by Bloomsbury. Together with Gisèle Sapiro she is coediting a special issue of the Journal of World Literature dedicated to the memory and legacy of Pascale Casanova.

Session 1: What is the “world” in “world literature” and “world cinema”?

  • Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures. 1st ed., New York, Scholastic Press, 2007.
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo(2012).Pheng Cheah, “Introduction.” What Is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature. Duke UP, 2016..
  • Lúcia Nagib, Chris Perriam and Rajinder Dudrah, “Introduction” to Theorizing World Cinema. Ed. by Lúcia Nagib, Chris Perriam and Rajinder Dudrah. I.B. Tauris, 2012..

Session 2: National, Transnational, World

  • Selections from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Oxford UP, 2008. Trans. Margaret Mauldon. Part I: Ch. VI, Ch. IX,. Part II: Ch. IX. Part III: Ch. 1, Ch. V.
  • Selections from Posy Simmonds’ Gemma Bovery.
  • Anne Fontaine, Gemma Bovery(2014).
  • Reviews of Anne Fontaine’s film.
  • Mette Hjort, “On the plurality of cinematic transnationalism.” World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives. Ed. by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman. Routledge, 2010.

Session 3: World Cinema vs. Hollywood

  • Selections from Woolf,Mrs. Dalloway. Oxford UP, 2000. Ed. with an introduction and notes by David Bradshaw.
  • Selections from Woolf’s Orlando. Annotated and with an introduction by Maria DiBattista. Harcourt, 2006.
  • Stephen Daldry, The Hours (2002).
  • Interview with Stephen Daldry: “Hollywood? I’ve never even been there.” February 10, 2013.
  • Peter Cooke, “World Cinema’s ‘Dialogues’ with Hollywood.” In World Cinema’s ‘Dialogues’ with Hollywood. Ed. by Peter Cooke. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Session 4: Is world literature the birthplace of world cinema?

  • Selections from Proust’s Swann’s Way. The Modern Library: NY, 2003. Trans. by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. Revised by D.J. Enright.
  • Selections from Proust’s Time Regained.The Modern Library: NY, 6thvol..
  • Raúl Ruíz, Le Temps retrouvé(1999).
  • Raúl Ruíz, “Fascination and Detachment” and “The Face of the Sea.” Poetics of Cinema II, Dis Voir, 2007.
  • Patrick M. Bray, “The ‘Debris of Experience.’ The Cinema of Marcel Proust and Raúl Ruíz”. The Romanic Review.101:3, May 2010.

Session 5: World cinema turns East: Japanese poetry, a possible model for the cinematic image

  • Selected poems by Arseny Tarkovsky.
  • Selected haiku by Basho from The Art of Haiku: Its History through Poems and Paintingsby Japanese Masters. Ed. Stephen Addiss. Shambhala, 2001..
  • Selections fromTales of Ise: Lyrical Episodes from Tenth-Century Japan. Translated, with an introduction and notes, by Helen Craig McCullough. Stanford UP, 1968.
  • Andrei Tarkovsky, Nostalghia(1983).
  • Andrei Tarkovsky, “After Nostalgia” and “Imprinted Time”. Sculpting in Time. University of Texas Press, 1989..
  • Dudley Andrew, “An Atlas of World Cinema.” Framework: The Journal of Cinema & Media45.2 (Fall 2004)..

Session 6: Thinking transnationally: from Hong Kong cinema to world cinema

  • Dante, “Paolo and Francesca.” The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Ed. and translated by Robert M. Durling. Introduction and notes by Ronald L. Martinez. Vol. I: Inferno. NY & Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
  • Selections from The Prose Lancelot.
  • Wong Kar-wai, In the Mood for Love (2000).
  • Lyrics for Zhou Xuan’s “Age of Bloom” and Bryan Ferry’s “I’m in the Mood for Love.”
  • Esther C. M. Yau, “Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World.” At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World. University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

Session 7: World cinema and world literature: a structural relation

  • Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone. Vol. I. Selections from Chapter I and Chapter V in full + Appendix. Trans. by David Hawkes. Penguin Books. 2012.
  • Interview with Wong Kar-wai on 2046by Mark Salisbury, published on londonnet.co.uk.
  • The Northern Beggar and Southern Emperor in a Pleasant Forest: Dialogue with Wong Kar-wai”, Lin Yao-teh. Wong Kar-Wai: Interviews. Edited by Silver Wai-ming Lee and Micky Lee, 2017.
  • Ken Provencer, “Transnational Wong.” A Companion to Wong Kar-wai. Ed. Martha Nochimson. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.

Session 8: Is world cinema a new type of world literature?

  • Marguerite Yourcenar, from Oriental Tales: “How Wang-Fô Was Saved,” “Our-Lady-of-the-Swallows,” “The Sadness of Cornelius Berg,” “Postscript.” New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985.
  • Marguerite Yourcenar, selections from Dreams and Destinies. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
  • Akira Kurosawa, Dreams(1990).
  • Martin Scorsese, “Akira Kurosawa”. Architectural Digest. Los Angeles 65.11 (Nov 2008).
  • Dudley Andrew, “Time Zones and Jetlag: The Flows and Phases of World Cinema.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives. Ed. by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman. Routledge, 2010.