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Is the “global” in “global literature” the same as the “global” in “global climate change”?

When: Tuesday, 11 April 2017 - Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
WiSER Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
Start time:13:00

The Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) will host this seminar by Daniel Elam from University of Toronto.

He will examine various case studies in literary criticism to highlight the intertwined histories of world literature and the Anthropocene.

Elam will argue for the importance of connecting Erich Auerbach’s commitment to “irdische” literature and criticism and Frantz Fanon’s commitment to “la terre.” Auerbach’s irdische is often mistranslated in English as “secular” although it literally means “earthly,” and he will suggest that we must understand Fanon’s terre as quite literal and therefore not at all synonymous with the famously untranslatable “le monde.

In the age of the Anthropocene, it becomes imperative to think climate change and world literature together – not least because literature in the Anglophone book market pre-packaged as “global literature” has arrived from locations that have already begun to suffer the effects of global climate change.

His argument here is that we already possess historical precedent for this form of literary analysis, and that discussions of global literature have always been, not incidentally, also discussions about the environment.


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