Transnational Literary Histories and Aesthetics

Taking as its premise the need to reconfigure literary histories beyond and outside of national frameworks, sub-group 1 examines critically the transnational circulation and appropriation of values, narratives and literary forms in diverse locations such as China, North America, France, the Caribbean, North and West Africa, Latin America and the Finno-Baltic region. Focusing on how cosmopolitan and vernacular formations, as well as their dynamic interactions, have shaped literary histories, this group’s central aim is to attend to literary histories visible at scales larger but also smaller than that of the nation-state, thereby interrogating the naturalised connection between the history of the nation-state and the writing of literary history. 

Moving between different scales of analysis as well as distant and close reading methodologies, the group aims to make the vernacular and the aesthetic central to its engagement with transnational literary histories. It takes as some of its main premises that literary forms register and are shaped by various transnational flows, and, furthermore, that vernacular literary cultures give evidence as to how cosmopolitan formations are resisted, accommodated and transformed. Fundamentally, the work of the group shows that investigating questions of form and the vernacular is part and parcel of writing a transnational literary history that takes neither the nation nor the cosmopolitan as its unchallenged starting point.  

Participants: Christian Claesson, Christina Kullberg, Katarina Leppänen, Annika Mörte-Alling, Lena Rydholm, Irmy Schweiger, David Watson

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2 April, 2016