Skip to main content
Photo: Dirk Wiemann

Writing the Cosmopolitan Imagination

Genre Transactions in a Globalizing World

Inaugural Conference
University of Delhi
12-13 December, 2016

Under conditions of globalization, people simultaneously think and feel in and beyond the nation and hence inhabit imagined worlds that exceed if not always supersede national or local affiliations. The proposed conference seeks to explore the literary and cultural dimensions of the above phenomenon, as reflected in discussions of an emergent transnational ‘world literature’, contemporary debates over cosmopolitanism, planetarity and global citizenship, as also the recent turn towards genre as an inherently social dimension of literature. While Benedict Anderson’s influential study of the crucial importance of the novel form for the historical emergence of the nation as imagined community remains a productive reference point, the conference hopes to focus on the plurality of genres deployed in literature and other arts that reflect transnational and cosmopolitan worlds alongside that of the nation.

The conference facilitates the exchange of senior and junior researchers in the areas engaged in the areas outlined above, and it aspires to foster conversations based on innovative theoretical approaches that combine discussions of genre theory with the disciplinary perspectives of English and American Studies, Germanic Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Areas of special interest include papers that focus on processes of genre transactions in which

  • the mobility’ of individual artefacts is significantly contingent on the generic identity and intelligibility of the respective work, so that the ‘law of genre’ can be seen at work as it enforces generic conformity (persistence of genre);
  • the reception and appropriation of ‘incoming’ texts enables the transformation and mutation of established genres (flexibility of genre);
  •  the adoption and/or adaptation of entire genres (such as the Oriental Tale in 18th-century Europe or the Tolkien-derived fantasy novel in post-2000 India) engenders a region-specific variety of the genre (generic proliferation).

The conference program can be found here.

For a selection of abstracts, click here.

Photo: Dirk Wiemann