Testimonials by IWL Alumni from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

October 15, 2021

Lizy Mostowski (ABD Comparative Literature current student): “The Institute for World Literature was a rewarding experience that not only exposed me to new texts and modes of analyses helpful to my area of study; participation in the Institute also allowed me to network with professors and graduate students from around the world that I wouldn't have otherwise met. Though the program was virtual the year that I participated, I found that it was a wonderful mix of seminars, talks, and colloquia that allowed me to learn about the general field of World Literature from leading experts in the field, to discover what sorts of projects and innovations my peers are bringing to the field, and to receive feedback on my own project from my peers.”  (2020 IWL, online)

Ragini Chakraborty (current student, preparing her prelims): "The IWL 2020, albeit a virtual seminar, was a great experience for me as a graduate student. As a third year doctoral candidate, I was introduced to a wide range of critical works over a month’s period. My preferences regarding choice of seminar groups and presentation panels were taken care of and the readings were to the best of my interests. I particularly benefitted from Professor Venkat B. Mani’s seminar as it spoke to my research interest, and I really appreciate his expertise in conducting the seminar so efficiently. The IWL has been helpful in making me think critically, furthering my ability to formulate stronger arguments/research statements. Also, the wonderful network of peers made writing practices easier, with valuable feedbacks and focus on presentation skills." (2020 IWL, online)

Claire Baytas (ABD Comparative Literature and current student): "Attending the Institute for World Literature (IWL) was a very enriching experience for me as a PhD student. I was able to take interdisplinary and innovative seminars that approached literature in conversation with libraries, archives, and cartography; the content of these classes was very different than any of the courses I had taken at UIUC. At the IWL I also enjoyed some of my best experiences as a graduate student with discussion-based learning, particularly in our seminar where every student came from a different country, thus offering a rich variety of perspectives. The IWL was also an excellent opportunity to meet outstanding scholars in one’s field—a scholar I met there, Julia Creet, gave a MillerComm lecture here at UIUC at my invitation." (2019 IWL, Harvard)

Ethan Madarieta (Assistant Professor at Syracuse):
“IWL was fundamental to my graduate education and future career in academia. It is an invaluable opportunity to learn from a global network of literature scholars with dynamic intellectual backgrounds and approaches in close-knit seminars and lecture series. This is something that only happens occasionally in international conferences, but which at IWL is a sustained engagement. IWL creates a unique space for focused and nuanced project feedback and the cultivation of an international network of scholars, at varying levels, in a cohort unrivaled in size and disciplinary scope.” (2017 IWL, Copenhagen)