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2018 Fall Faculty Colloquium Faculty Participant

Deadline: Monday, March 26, 2018 11:59pm


The Hall Center sponsors colloquia that are designed to enliven the intellectual atmosphere of the University of Kansas and contribute to the growth of KU scholars. The colloquium directors determine the theme, provide intellectual leadership and guidance, act as coordinators and facilitate feedback to participants on their presentations. The participants each present a paper and contribute to the discussion.



Six or seven KU faculty members and one or two KU graduate student from any social science, arts, humanities, or related discipline will be selected. Faculty participants will receive $1000 (via payroll, minus taxes) and the graduate student will be awarded $500.


THEMEComparative Literature in an Age of Deglobalization

DIRECTORS: Ani Kokobobo, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures; Marike Janzen, Assistant Professor of Humanities; and Luciano Tosta, Associate Professor of Brazilian Literature & Culture.


Why does KU need Comparative Literature?" The most basic way to define Comparative Literature is as a type of reading "across linguistic and cultural boundaries," which could be concerned with literary influence or the migration of literary themes beyond national boundaries. Currently, Comparative Literature exists as an interdisciplinary field that engages with theoretical discussions such as globalization, transnational studies/ transnationalism, translation, postcolonialism, literary criticism, critical theory, cultural studies, and critical university studies, topics that are relevant for many disciplines beyond the scope of literary studies. Although Comparative Literature has not existed at KU for some time as a stand-alone program, robust Comparative Literature scholarship and teaching is taking place here. Nevertheless, we see the need to foreground comparative literary study during this specific moment in history in which the field offers particularly relevant modes of inquiry.

In the past several decades, "globalization" has served as a key term for scholars across multiple disciplines, both in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, who aim to make sense of how that increased mobility of capital and people informs how humans create meaning. However, recent processes of "deglobalization," for example, states' rejection of transnational cooperation and embrace of ethnonationalist identities, both reflect and require new frameworks for understanding cultural practices. What we seek to illustrate in this colloquium is that Comparative Literature, which offers tools for thinking about commonalities across difference, provides precisely this framework. Indeed, the methods of Comparative Literature characterize much of the work currently being done in public humanities trying to grapple with the challenges of our present. This includes a recent series started by the Washington Post, "Made in History," which considers how historical comparisons can help us understand the present, as well as recent studies of how literary works or historical scenarios can help us understand the Trump phenomenon. The Comparative Literature framework is looking increasingly more relevant.

We hope to harness this national energy in our colloquium by showing the importance of comparative thinking in order to address deglobalization, including, in broadly conceived terms, problems that plague our present, like authoritarianism, migration, and intolerance to otherness. Some, but by no means all, areas of interest include the following:

 * How can comparative literature help us reconceptualize authoritarian government? How does authoritarianism in literature or other cultural production help us come to terms with the more inchoate incursions of authoritarianism in the present?

* How might the past, or a plural cultural perspective help us come to terms with the concomitant "hardening" of national identities and the displacement and migration of people in the present?

* How are cultures performed at the level of narrative? How might such an analysis serve as an entry point for a broader analysis of cultural and political performance?

* How might an approach to otherness be more informed from a comparative literature perspective? How do different cultures define otherness? How might the obliqueness of cultural relativity of otherness across linguistic, national, and even temporal boundaries shed light on how otherness is perceived in our time?

Outcomes: We hope to gather a group of scholars from KU for our colloquium and identify relevant research interests, while also inviting scholars from outside the university to join our efforts for a workshop we plan to organize after the Colloquium itself. We have already written a call for papers with a focus on how Comparative Literature with its emphasis on how ideas traverse linguistic and cultural boundaries may be just the discipline, or "indiscipline" (as some have called it) to help us combat the new onset of deglobalization, coupled with delusions of national singularity and exceptionalism. Because our ultimate objective is to produce an edited volume, we will seek 6000-8000 word articles for the purposes of the workshop. Ideally, colloquium participants will have a draft to work with already. Deglobalization has not received much critical attention among humanities scholars, so our workshop and the edited volume we will produce will be truly cutting edge, and could help place KU Comparative Literature and KU humanities at large on the map.


 Be a graduate student in good standing or hold a tenured or tenure track faculty appointment at the University of Kansas, including faculty in phased retirement.


 Colloquium participants are required to:

1.   Attend all colloquium sessions, read and be ready to discuss all papers submitted by colloquium members;

2.   Contribute a paper for discussion at one colloquium session;

3.  Act as discussant for one paper presented by another colloquium member;

4.   Provide a written version of their paper for possible inclusion in a published volume.


All application materials must be submitted through the Hall Center Competitions Portal.  Paper submissions will not be accepted.  For an application to be verified as complete, and thus forwarded for committee review, applicants must:

1. Create an account or log in to an existing account.

2. Select the Apply Now button next to this competition. 

3. Complete the Applicant Information form in the Portal. 

4. Upload the following materials as 2 separate PDF or Word files:

a. Curriculum Vitae (not to exceed 2 pages) that includes:

* Record of applicant's education, including the dates when degrees were awarded;

* Record of applicant's employment;

* List of applicant's publications, including page numbers for journal articles and book chapters; and

* List of applicant's awards and grants received during the last five years.

b. Statement of Interest not to exceed two double-spaced pages, with one-inch margins and twelve-point type. Endnotes are included in the page limitations. The narrative should indicate how the colloquium theme and questions outlined above relate to a proposed paper based on research that is to be shared with the colloquium for a critique. Be as specific as possible about the proposed research paper's focus, content, and contribution to the applicant's field of study.

5.  Once the application materials are complete, submit them for review by following the on-screen instructions for final submission.   

No extraneous materials will be considered.



A committee appointed by the Hall Center Director and including the Colloquium Director selects the colloquium participants according to the following criteria:

1. Merit of the statement of interest and the participants potential for interdisciplinary work;

2. Quality of the conception, organization and description of the statement of interest; and

3. Likelihood that the applicant's participation will lead to a significant contribution to knowledge in the pertinent genre, tradition or field upon publication.



Applicants should direct all questions about the Fall Faculty Colloquium to Sarah Bishop, Interim Associate Director of the Hall Center (4-7823; sarahbishop@ku.edu), or Colloquium Directors Ani Kokobobo (4-2346; akokobobo@ku.edu), Marike Janzen (4-0165; ), or Luciano Tosta (4-1122; lucianotosta@ku.edu).

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