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CONGRESS SESSIONS

Literature: Just Another Comparative Science Among Others ?

Comparative literature is a discipline where literary texts are considered in terms of their relations to what is beyond or at the border of literature. Many studies have already explored connections between literature and the arts, between literature and social sciences. Given the point of view of our Congress we would like to add to such studies an examination of the connections between literature and so-called hard sciences insofar as these also rely on comparative methods (mathematics, geometry, biology, astronomy...), as well as an investigation of what comparative studies can bring to the definition of the very concept of literature. How differently is such a question raised in the different parts of the world?
Comparable and Incomparable Literary Objects ?

This session will raise two aspects of a single question, which bears on the notion of comparison. On the one hand, are there incomparable objects? To ask such a question entails exploring the limits of comparative literature. It also entails investigating the relevance of a differential comparative approach i.e., a comparative approach that stresses differences, and thus contrasts with the quest for affinities and similarities, which to a large extent lies at the origins of comparative thinking. On the other hand, what can a comparative approach contribute in the context of a monographic study? What benefits can be drawn from comparative methods by criticism when working on a single author? Such questions may allow us to examine the nuances of meaning among the different names our discipline has borne across countries: general literature, comparative literature, general and comparative literature, literary theory.
Comparative Literature and Translation Studies : Is Translation a Critical Approach ?

The recent growth of translation studies is a notable contribution to comparative literature, where translations are an essential tool for teachers and researchers. Beyond its immediate usefulness in presenting texts, in what way does translation represent a critical approach in itself? And how can comparative thinking contribute to a better understanding of the translators tasks? What role h as translation played in the history of the relations between Western and non-Western areas, between centers and peripheries?
New Theories, How and Why ?

How can comparative literature encourage new emerging literary theories? After the nouvelle critique in France and new criticism in the U.S., both of which raised questions concerning the assumptions at work in any critical approach, comparative literature calls for a more general reflection on the processes at work in literary creation. Examining the links between general literature and literary theory, and the relations between Western theories and non-Western theories will be aspects of this question.
Nations and Beyond: Linguistic Areas, Literary Continents, Globalization ?

What are the relations between comparative approaches insofar as they endeavour to positively conceptualize differences on the one hand, and globalization or the global village where it seems that all cultural references are bound to merge on the other? To what extent are categories such as European literature, Western literature, World literature legitimate and useful? How are the broad literary continents defined ? Beyond continental borders, are linguistic areas more appropriate than geopolitical or cultural criteria in defining literary identities ?