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                           COMPARED TO WHAT?

                  A Change Maker's Symposium

A Conversation about World Literature in the Future


                      October 20th and October 21st

                           Seelye Hall Smith College



Friday, October 20th, Seelye Hall 201, 4:00-5:45 p.m.
Keynote address by:
Simon Gikandi, Princeton University
"Beyond Globalization:
Comparative Literature in an Age of Doubt"


5:45-6:30 Reception

Saturday, October 21st, Seelye Hall 106

8:30-9:30 Coffee reception

9:30-10:45 a.m.
"Reading for Nuance"
Hannah Freed-Thall, New York University

11:00-12:15 p.m.
"The Fact of Translation and the Future of Comparative Literature"
Brian James Baer, Kent State University

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch break


1:30-2:45 p.m.
"Breaking Discipline: Futures of Comparative Literature"
Karen Thornber, Harvard University

3:00-4:15 p.m.
"Comparative Literature in the Digital Dark Ages"
Michelle R. Warren, Dartmouth College

4:30-5:15 p.m.
"Compared to What? A Conversation about World Literature
in the Future"

Panel-Simon Gikandi, Hannah Freed-Thall, Brian James Baer,

Karen Thornber, Michelle R. Warren



Simon Gikandi is the Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University. He was editor of the PMLA from 2011-2016. His most recent book is Slavery and the Culture of Taste, co-winner of the MLA's James Russell Lowell Award, the African Studies Association's Melville J. Herskovits Award, and a Choice Outstanding Academic title. He is the editor of Volume 11 of The Oxford History of the Novel in English: The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean Since the 1950s. He is currently working on a series of research projects around two themes; the relationship between slavery and the origins of modern culture ; and the institution of the novel from below.

Hannah Freed-Thall , ('02), is Assistant Professor of French Literature, Thought, and Culture at New York University. A specialist of 19th- 21st-century French literature and theory, her research and teaching interests include comparative modernisms; aesthetic theory and the sociology of culture; environmental humanities; queer and feminist theory; and theory of the novel. Her first book, Spoiled Distinctions: Aesthetics and the Ordinary in French Modernism (NY: Oxford, 2015) was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies and the Modernist Studies Association Prize for a First Book, and designated a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Freed-Thall is currently researching a new book project on modernist ecological thought.


Brian James Baer holds a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University. He is currently Professor of Russian and Translation Studies at Kent State University, where he teaches courses on translation and cross-cultural communication at the undergraduate, Master's, and doctoral levels and serves as Director of Graduate Studies. He is author of the monograph Translation and the Making of Modern Russian Literature (2016) and has edited several collected volumes on translation. He is founding editor of the journal Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) and co-editor of the Bloomsbury book series Literatures, Cultures, Translation.

Karen Thornber is Professor of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, where she also serves as Victor and William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center. She is author of two multiple international award-winning scholarly monographs- Empire of Texts in Motion (2009) and Ecoambiguity (2012)-as well as 70 articles/book chapters on comparative and world literatures, environmental and medical humanities, diaspora, gender, indigeneities, transculturation (translation), trauma, and the literatures and cultures of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Indian Ocean Rim. Thornber is also co-editor of four volumes and is an award-winning translator of Japanese literature.

Michelle R. Warren is Professor of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, where she directs the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and is also Assistant Provost for Faculty Recruitment for Arts and Sciences. She is known for her work at the intersection of medieval and postcolonial studies (e.g. Creole Medievalism: Colonial France and Joseph Bédier's Middle Ages, Minnesota, 2011), including theoretical work in philogy, translation, and digital humanities. She has several forthcoming essays that reflect on the future of Comparative Literature from the perspective of medieval studies.





Sabina Knight on NPR's "On Point"

The director of comparative literature, Professor Sabina Knight, speaks on "On Point," a daily news show that airs nationally on 240 NPR stations, with 1.2 million listeners. Listen here.



Sabina Knight interview with Jeffrey Wassrstrom

Jeffrey Wasserstrom interviews Sabina Knight for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Read here.

The New York Times Magazine's "Really Short Book Review" features Sabina Knight

The New York Times magazine featured Sabina Knight's Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction for their "Really Short Book Review." Read here.