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Harvard Institute for World Literature, 2-26 July 2018, University of Tokyo, Japan

Publish Date: Nov 18, 2017

Deadline: Feb 01, 2018

Event Dates: from Jul 02, 2018 12:00 to Jul 26, 2018 12:00

2018 Program Overview

Our 8th IWL session will take place at the University of Tokyo at the beautiful Hongo Campus from July 2 through July 26, 2018, in collaboration with the Department of Contemporary Literary Studies, Faculty of Letters(現代文芸論研究室).

 The Institute for World Literature is a four-week program, taking place in a different academic center of world literature each year. The Institute has four major components:

  • Seminars, meeting four afternoons weekly, led by our Institute faculty; participants take one seminar during the first two weeks of the program and a second seminar for the second two weeks.
  • Colloquia, meeting in small groups one morning each week, in which the session’s participants will present a paper related to one of the overarching, general framings of World Literature.
  • Plenary lectures by the IWL faculty and distinguished guest lecturers, surveying the history and fundamental concepts of the field, and presenting new directions in comparative and world literary studies.
  • Panels on professional issues, including publishing and the job market.

Please note that both the seminars and colloquia are REQUIRED components of the IWL program.

With participants coming from about three dozen countries, all events at the Institute take place in English.

Our intense four-week program includes a total of ten two-week seminars taught by leading names in world literature today, together with outstanding guest lectures and the opportunity for participants to share their work in colloquia, as well as panels on publishing and the job market. The program will be supplemented by outings and cultural events to build community beyond the boundaries of the formal sessions. Our participants will have 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 are taught by a mix of distinguished senior faculty and innovative younger scholars of world literature:

  • Christopher Bush, Northwestern University
  • Pheng Cheah, University of California at Berkeley
  • David Damrosch, Harvard University
  • Wiebke Denecke, Boston University
  • Ursula Heise, UCLA
  • Mitsuyoshi Numano, University of Tokyo
  • Katharina Piechocki, Harvard University
  • Jing Tsu, Yale University
  • Delia Ungureanu, University of Bucharest
  • Zhang Longxi, City University of Hong Kong


July 2-12

Christopher Bush, Northwestern University: " The Avant-Gardes in the World"

Pheng Cheah, University of California at Berkeley: " World Literature and Cosmopolitanism in Postcolonial Globalization"

Mitsuyoshi Numano, University of Tokyo: "Somewhere in Between: Boundaries, Resonances, and Interactions in Time and Space"

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

Jing Tsu, Yale University: "Multi-Scale Literary Studies"

July 16-26

David Damrosch, Harvard University:  "Globalization and Its Discontents"

Wiebke Denecke, Boston University: "World Literature and the New Global Humanities"

Ursula Heise, UCLA: "Science Fiction and the Imagination of Planetary Futures"

Delia Ungureanu, University of Bucharest: "Localizing Time in World Literature and World Cinema"

Zhang Longxi, City University of Hong Kong: "From Comparison to World Literature: Readings and Conceptual Issues"

Our program includes also several plenary lectures offered by our faculty. Our guests are all noteworthy figures who have made major contributions to world literature and to the discipline of comparative literature, challenging and redefining from different perspectives the boundaries and key issues of classical and modern philology, literary theory and criticism. Our program includes also panels on publishing and the job market.

In addition to attending seminars, our participants will give a paper or present a work in progress or a recent project within one of our eight colloquia groups organized around broad themes: World Literature and Production, World Literature 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 each week with their peers under the leadership of one of our postdoc or faculty participants, they will have the opportunity to share their work with their peers, receive valuable feedback from scholars all over the world working on similar topics, and develop new projects including future ACLA seminars.

Our participants’ work will benefit from using the resources of the General Library and of the Library of the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology/Faculty of Letters on the Hongo Campus.

We've prepared a good number of informal optional outings at a low cost and various literary events on weekends, as well as poetry readings and panel discussions. We’ve arranged for 40 inexpensive rooms located at hotels and hostels not far from the university campus (20-45 minutes’ commute on the subway) and we expect to have 55 more places in an inexpensive hotel due to open in May 2018.

The application period is November 1, 2017 – February 1, 2018. 

Tuition & Financial Aid

Full tuition for the 2018 IWL is $1,800 USD. Institutional Affiliations provide guaranteed places for two participants. Participants from Institutional Affiliates will receive a discount of $900 on tuition.

Please note: The tuition fee does not cover transportation, accommodation, meals, or the cost of visits to museums or other informal outings. Participants are responsible for arranging and funding their own transportation, accommodation, and maintenance during the IWL.

Financial Aid

One of the main goals of the IWL is to bring together students from various international and socioeconomic backgrounds. For this reason, full and partial tuition scholarships are available for students from soft-currency or developing nations, or who demonstrate particular financial need. Applicants are asked to submit a separate statement with their application containing a detailed description of their financial situation (annual salary, net yearly income, or other circumstances), as well as, in relevant cases, proof of residence in a soft-currency or developing nation. Letters of financial need and additional documents must be included in a single file and uploaded onto the application form within the “Financial Aid” field.

For more information click "Further official information" below

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