Workshop: Limits of Cosmopolitanism
5 May 2017, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 26, Asian Library (Asienbiblioteket)
Organised by Stefan Helgesson, Elisabeth Herrman, Irmy Schweiger.
Revived and much debated in the wake of accelerated globalisation in the 1990s, the cosmopolitan ethos stands at a crossroads today. The political resurgence of nationalism and isolationism in large parts of the world is evident, yet so is the force of myriad counter-movements – both on an individual and collective level – that resist the closure of societies and identities. By focusing on literary manifestations and representations of envisioned or practical cosmopolitanism (both historically and in the present), this half-day workshop will explore the contradictory and contested dimensions of the cosmopolitan aspiration to belong to a community envisioned as ‘the world’. Cosmopolitanism is certainly necessary in an age of extreme social inequality and Anthropocene climate change – but is it viable? The assumption here is that literature, by dint of its public and transgressive nature, provides a unique and privileged point of entry to grapple with that question.