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ICLA 2016 : International Comparative Literature Association Congress 2016 - The many languages of comparative literature


When Jul 21, 2016 - Jul 27, 2016
Where Vienna
Submission Deadline TBD
Categories    comparative literature

Call For Papers

ICLA 2016

Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée/
International Comparative Literature Association
XXIst Congress, July 21 – July 27, 2016
University of Vienna, Austria



The many languages of comparative literature

The comparison of literary texts from different cultural spheres and in different lan-guages was at the origin of comparative literature. Even after comparatist paradigms have changed and developed, and after comparative criticism has expanded consider-ably, the crossing of borders between languages is still essential to the discipline.

For the first time, the theme of a congress organized by the International Comparative Literature Association will be “language” – language in all its meanings and embedded in various contexts: as a “national“ idiom, the basis of literary texts, as source-language and target-language in literary translation, as the set of languages forming “world literature” in its literary manifestation (and as the canon of languages “world literature” is actually concentrating on). And language – both written and spoken – is not just the self-evident medium of all objects of comparative literature, but also the indispensable meta-language of scientific discourse and poetological terminology. The multilingualism of comparative literature is both a challenge and an opportunity: from its beginnings, the polymorph diversity of world literature has constituted the attraction and surplus of comparatist reading; on the other hand, even the most ac-complished polyglot comparatist can master only a relatively small range of languages. This fact conditions the discourse more than might be apparent in a knowledge culture increasingly influenced by the English language.

The congress will also focus on language in its broadest sense: the usage of language by social and ethnic groups as vectors of literature, the language of themes and discourses, language as a literary subject, language as the expression of central problems and ideas negotiated in the various literatures of the world, and even in its metaphorical sense, as “languages” of styles and forms. As an infinite code with constant need for decryption, the international sign system of literature perpetually reproduces the myth of the confusion of tongues and sets new tasks to multilingual mankind: its liter-ature and its criticism.


A. The arts as universal code
Languages of form and genre
Languages of style
Language in the 2nd degree - quotation, intertextuality and metareference
Comparing the arts: art as a universal language
Language and literature – general semiotics
Different media, different expressions

B. Language – The essence of world literature
The Tower of Babel: myths about language
Languages as a literary topic
Languages of the world – languages of world literature – world language?
Nation and language
‚Translational‘ literature
‚Major‘ vs. ‚minor‘ languages
The comparison of languages – one origin of literary comparatism
Expressing regionalism
The language of power – the language of resistance
Literary translation: histories, methods, markets

C. Many cultures, many idioms
Language and culture
Cultural images and their linguistic representation
The language of the „others“
Language and identity
Multilingualism as a traditional phenomenon
Multilingualism as a contemporary phenomenon
Multilingualism - problem or opportunity
Who is speaking? Comparatism and the social sciences
Hybridity and comparatism
Crossing cultural borders

D. The language of thematics
How to speak about themes? Terminology of Thematics
Meaning – interpreting texts in a comparatist framework
The renaissance of metaphor studies
Language of the sexes – languages of gender
The languages of emotion
The language of concern – international ecocriticism

E. Comparatists at work – professional communication
The knowledge of literary criticism and its various codes
The evaluation of literature – the language of criticism
Comparatism as a verbal procedure - how to compare with words?
Speaking about: The metadiscourse of literary historiography
Digital humanities
Analytical philosophy and logics in the critical discourse
Spoken and written discourse
The multilingual library of comparative literature
The comparatist’s dictionary: International terminology


Individual proposals may be submitted for congress sessions (one session = 3 papers = 90 min.).

All topics presented above may be considered as suggestions. Congress sessions will be composed according to the number and variety of proposals. In general, two types of proposals are possible:
1) individual proposals for papers to be presented in congress sessions,
2) proposals to organize group sections.

1) Individual proposals may be submitted for congress sessions. They will be assessed by an international committee and, if accepted, assigned to a particular congress session.
2) Individuals may also submit proposals for group sections (such as seminars, work-shops, round tables). If the group section is accepted, the group section applicant will independently invite individuals to submit proposals and participate in these group sections. Group section applicants will chair their respective groups. Large group sec-tions may require various meetings, scheduled by the congress organization, possibly on different days.

Individual proposal submission due (congress sessions): August 31, 2015
Acceptance notice due: December 31, 2015
Group section proposal submission due: May 31, 2015
Group section acceptance notice due: June 30, 2015
Individual proposal submission due (group sections) August 31, 2015
Acceptance notice due: December 31, 2015

Proposals must be written either in English, German, or French.

Please submit your proposals online via the ICLA 2016 website


ICLA members:
Early bird fee 170 € until February 29, 2016
Regular fee 190 € until May 31, 2016

Early bird fee student 65 € until February 29, 2016
Regular fee student 95 € until May 31, 2016

On-site registration 200 €

On-site registration 200 €
Accompanying person 100 € until May 31, 2016

Please register online via the registration form on the website

Registration will be open from April 1, 2015 until May 31, 2016. All registrations made after this point will be considered on-site registrations.

Due to the significant currency fluctuations in the last year, congress fees must be paid in Euros. We would like to draw your attention to the currently favourable ex-change rate of the US dollar.

Registered participants may take part in the complete ICLA 2016 scientific pro-gramme. Official congress languages are English, French, German.


The congress will take place in the Main Building or nearby buildings of Vienna Uni-versity. The registration and information desk will be situated in the entrance hall of the Main Building, which is also the location for coffee breaks.


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