Skip to Content

Cardinal Points: Literatures of the Global South

«Back To Seminars

Organizer: Alfred Lopez

Contact the Seminar Organizers

To fly from Mexico City to New Delhi, one must make one or two stops in Europe; perhaps Schiphol or Munich. To read Rabindranath Thakur in Spanish, this volume’s editors must likewise ‘stop’ in Europe, since we will not be able to find a translation directly from Bengali—translations into Spanish have only been made from English renderings. Whether to displace epistemologies, cosmologies, or bodies, from South to South, it seems one must always stop North.

This seminar, organized by co-editors of The Routledge Companion to Literature and the Global South (2023), will present ways of thinking that bypass the North and establish connections between dwellers from all those geographies that were—and are—mined and abused by a capitalist/colonialist logic of exploitation. In doing so, this volume recognizes the Global South as a category of analysis, and a marker of ontology, that enables coalition across geographic lines of difference throughout the hemisphere least-responsible but most-harshly affected by climate change, unvolitional mass migration and displacement, and exploitation of both human labor and natural resources. 

Yet as has been well-established over the last fifteen years of scholarship, the Global South is not a ‘place’: We encounter it most viscerally today among those populations identified by this volume’s senior editor in a long-ago manifesto as “those who have experienced globalization from the bottom.” Thus in order to avoid reproducing the systemic inequalities and oppressions against which we write, this seminar will be intentional about questions of access and equity—the existential worries of writers and thinkers who find themselves outside the circuits of scholarly circulation and dissemination that define Global North academia. Our seminar will emphasize knowledge production from positions (geographical and epistemic) historically dismissed as marginal: premodern, uncivilized, uninformed, or unworthy in whatever way. We will insist on the local and the interstitial.

In short, this seminar will present an overview of Global South literary studies at a key moment in its development—a snapshot of the field in its second decade. We hope to attract panelists from around the world, including institutions in Asia, Africa, South/Central America, and the Caribbean, as we did in our 2023 Routledge Companion. We expect to largely avoid the institutional ‘usual suspects’, doubling down on our conviction that a field calling itself Global South studies cannot be taken seriously if its primary contributors hail from AAU & Times Higher Ed universities. We likewise plan to feature work from rising and independent as well as established senior scholars. As well as a representative range of current methodologies and approaches.


«Back To Seminars