A World Literature Institute

September 2010

Often seen largely in economic or political terms, globalization is having profound effects on cultural production as well. With its intimate link to language and place, literature provides particularly rich manifestations of the cultural tensions and opportunities that globalization fosters. Interest in the teaching and scholarly study of world literature has grown rapidly in recent years, both in the United States and in many parts of the world, yet few scholars have been trained in broad approaches to literature beyond a single country or region. The workshop explored the establishment of a summer institute for world literature, laying the groundwork for a program that would bring together advanced graduate students and young faculty from around the world to study and debate new approaches to world literature both in teaching and scholarship. An initial meeting of a group of interested faculty in 2009 yielded a tentative plan for a month-long summer program, to rotate among Harvard, Beijing University, and Bilgi University in Istanbul, thus having a global presence in practice as well as in principle.