Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature
In this era of globalization, Comparative Literature faces new challenges. As an academic discipline, for the past ten years Comparative Literature has had to embrace or often compete with other emerging interdisciplinary studies, including cultural studies, regional studies and translation studies. Today, as new technologies redefine the boundaries of knowledge and globalization draws the world closer together, Comparative Literature faces the added challenge of expanding its boundaries and frontiers to rethink its identity and role as a discipline.
The conference theme “Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature” can be interpreted on many levels. We believe that Comparative Literature needs to move beyond its Western origins to become a productive arena for scholarly work on all literatures across the world. We also believe that Comparative Literature can take the lead in redefining the boundaries of “literature.” Hyper-textual, multi-visual media cultures are changing the ways in which we approach textuality today. In addition, Comparative Literature can become a fruitful site for discussions on nature, the environment, and technology, as well as their impact on human civilization.
In other words, Comparative Literature can and should provide the grounds for new communication, dialogue, and insight in our greatly expanded world. By expanding the frontiers of Comparative Literature, we hope to raise questions about race, region, religion, and ideology in a globalized context, as well as to place literature at the center of all initiatives to change society and human lives for the better.

August 2010