Concept Note:

The seminar takes off from a concern not about whether literature matters anymore but rather about how it matters today, exploring the configurations and incarnations in which we think it can survive and thrive. Reading literature is not about understanding through a familiar bag of literary devices emerging from receptionist, cultural, and instrumentalist ways of reading. There is a certain meditative, reflective, and investigative spirit that encourages epistemic embeddings through a deep and fresh reading of texts from across world literature (both in English and works in translation). This involves disciplinary porosity and the understanding of intermeshing discourses, both traditional and post-traditional. Thinking literature across continents is a movement and momentum that entangles paradigms, traditions, thought-structures and culturologics appropriating both Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric ways of reading and knowledge systems. It is a refusal to see literature as a simple product of transculturation or hybridisation that fits within neat binaries; rather, it straddles, mixes and disrupts. This international seminar, urges us to rethink neo-cosmopolitanism, new area studies, the “global modernism” trend in comparatism, Pacific Rim and oceanic/transatlantic studies, and glocalist/altermondialist analysis.

Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • World literature and the global-localtrans Is there a notion of the post-global?
  • What is‘new comparative studies’ or advanced ‘global studies’?
  • Contemporary politics of translationand cross-continental thinking
  • Critical theory and its transcontinental connection with the doing of literature
  • Can there be a transcontinental classroom? What are its pedagogical and performative consequences?
  • Nature of academic freedom in thinking literature across continents
  • Ethics of doing literature across continents and understanding of tradition, inheritance and values


Keynote Speakers:

  • A video address by J. Hillis Miller (Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of California, Irvine, US)
  • Francois Noudelmann (European Graduate School & University of Paris VIII, France)
  • Georges van den Abellee (University of California, Irvine, US)
  • Bruno Clement (University of Paris VIII, France)
  • Birgit Kaiser (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)


The conference will also see the release of the following books:

  • Ashis Sengupta (ed.), Islam in Performance (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • Ranjan Ghosh & J. Hillis Miller, Thinking Literature across Continents (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016)
  • Ranjan Ghosh, Transcultural Poetics and the Concept of the Poet (New York: Routledge, 2017)
  • Ranjan Ghosh, Aesthetics, Politics, Pedagogy,Tagore (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)


Abstracts between 400-500 words should be sent via email to by 31st October, 2016 or by post to:Seminar Committee, Department of English, University of North Bengal, Raja Rammohunpur, P.O. North Bengal University, SILIGURI: 734013  WEST BENGAL, INDIA

Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts is 31st October, 2016. Author information is to be provided on a separate sheet, including name, affiliation, contact address, paper title and author’s bio-note. Please direct any other queries to:

Selected candidates will be informed via email by the 15th of December, 2016.

Registration Fee: 1000 INR, covers stationery, lunch and tea.