Sunday, January 7, 2018

CFP:Comparative Cultural Studies Conference- 29-31 August 2018,, Budapest, Hungary.

Call For Papers:

The comparative studies journals Comparative Literature Studies (Penn State University), Neohelicon (Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary), and Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art (East China Normal University, Shanghai), with support of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, will sponsor an international conference at the Institute of Musicology in Budapest, Hungary, from 29-31 August 2018, on the topic of “Comparative Cultural Studies.” Featured speakers are: Astrid Erll (Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany); Sabine Doran (Penn State University, USA); and Yehong Zhang (Tsinghua University, China).

Conference Theme:
In a 2005 special issue of Comparative Literature Studies devoted to the topic of comparative cultural studies, Michael Bérubé mused that “there does not seem to be any reason why cultural studies and comparative literature have had so little to do with one another.” And yet, such was the case.  One reason could be that the former has even less unity than the latter. In France, cultural studies might mean the literary sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel de Certeau; in Britain the attempt to understand culture as a “structure of feeling”; in North America the study of mechanisms of social inequalities attributed to race, gender, or disability, and so forth. Another reason may be the fact that comparative literature remains largely within the modality of close reading and the valorization of texts as aesthetic objects. In those cases  where cultural studies works primarily with texts, on the other hand, its task is to analyze them as embodying the “social life of subjective forms” at a particular moment of their circulation (Richard Johnson). Just as frequently, however, cultural studies pays scant attention to texts (at least as traditionally conceived) in favor of analyzing  the processes of cultural production or reception.

Is Bérubé’s assessment “still” true? Is the divide still there? Are there scholars who compare cultural phenomena across language areas, and comparatists who use the methodologies of cultural studies? Does the current fragmentation of cultural studies into a seemingly endless variety of “studies” sub-fields (Memory Studies, Border Studies, Biopolitics, Anthropocene Studies, Thing Theory, etc.) advance or hinder the possibilities for comparison?

Papers given at the conference will be considered for publication in a special issue of one or more of these journals devoted to this theme.
  1. Research that actually “does the work” of cross-cultural comparison. Examples include: comparing conceptions of “disability,” “race,” or “gender” as these are conceived within different cultures; glocalizations of transnational media; cross-cultural (mis)understanding.
  2. Theories of culture or critiques of theories of culture (e.g. Adorno, Gramsci, Jameson, Lotman, Macherey) with broad application. Examples include: how do cultures remember – and forget?; “minor” or “small” literature?; can Border Theory be applied to any border?
  3. Reviews of the work done in one or more “studies” sub-fields with potential import for various language areas. Examples: current controversies in translation studies; why study the Global South? Frankfurt School – Third Generation.

We also welcome submissions of entire panels, workshops, or roundtables related to the conference theme.

The organizers of this conference welcome abstracts in English or French submitted by 31 March, 2018. At least three different types of contributions on comparative cultural studies in the form of 20-minute papers in French or English:

Questions? Questions concerning conference logistics, should be directed to Peter Hajdu. Questions on  conference theme, topics, etc., should be directed to Thomas Beebee.

Contact Info: 
Thomas Beebee, Editor-in-Chief, Comparative Literature Studies
Contact Email: