Locations and Orientations in World Literature

The terms locations and orientations appear, at first, to have very different qualities: a location operates as a fixed, spatial dimension whereas an orientation implies movement across both spatial and more abstract dimensions, such as ideology, or identity. Sub-group 2 posits, however, that the two terms might be productively read as co-constitutive. That is to say, the ways by which literature locates itself reveals various orientations that may reinforce or, indeed, destabilise that very location. Alternatively, literary orientations, towards say, a home, a diaspora, the world, might reveal surprising aspects about how literature registers its locatedness. The wager here is that in attending to the centrifugal and centripetal movements back and forth between location and orientation one might mobilise insights into the ways in which the cosmopolitan-vernacular exchange operates in world literature. Geographical foci to be developed in the group include new urban literary forms in eastern and southern Africa, "migrant" writing in Sweden, African women's writing and American muslim novels.

Participants: Bo G. Ekelund, Ashleigh Harris, Adnan Mahmutovic, Paula Uimonen, Helena Wulff

21 March, 2016