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Glocal Cosmopolitanisms

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Organizer: Nicoletta Pireddu

Co-Organizer: Christina Kkona

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The term “glocalization” seems to come from a Japanese compound word that first designated the adaptation of agricultural techniques to local conditions before it entered the business and marketing field to refer to the adaptation of goods and their advertising to local markets. The British sociologist Roland Robertson took it up, “a little embarrassed,” in 1995. The adjective “glocal” was coined after the substantive, while “globalization” and the French “mondialisation” appeared long after “global” and “mondial.” The prior implied unity of “the world” was paradoxically belied when interconnection made it finite, but the same interconnection required the formation of many composite nodes.
         Cosmopolitanism, for its part, cannot be a purely passive consequence of cultural globalization, often resisted by nativisms and neo-nationalisms seeking to preserve separate traditions. By focusing on “glocal cosmopolitanisms” in literary production, reception and theorization, this seminar transcends the hypostasis of globalization and the extinction of particulars feared by Auerbach. It explores conscious if not necessarily free and deliberate otherings and integrations that neither juxtapose nor dissolve the idea of localism and globalism (Kebede) and that are neither agonistic nor consensual.
Although in recent years, these relational, “non-linear” cosmopolitanisms (Beck) have received substantial attention in sociology, they have not been fully addressed yet by the disciplines of comparative and world literature. Both persistent Orientalism (in Said’s sense) and emergent Occidentalism tend to see the glocal as a modern colonial appropriation or imposition, depending on where and when it occurs—even though Sandhya Rao Mehta made a valuable effort to “connect the dots” in her Language and Literature in a Glocal World, writing that “an intersection between the worlds of the global and the local—the glocal—increasingly bec[omes] the norm.”
Is glocal cosmopolitanism divisive or unifying? The fluctuating balance between the globalization of particulars and the particularization of universals is at stake. Emphasizing singularity within commonality, preserving diversity against the cult of radical difference denounced for instance by Patrick Colm-Hogan, glocal cosmopolitanism might constitute the dynamic condition for the construction of a planetary literature.
Within this framework, seminar contributors are invited to address instances of glocal cosmopolitanism in theory, literature, and culture, engaging with their ideological, aesthetic, and ethical implications.
Expanded versions of papers presented in this seminar will also be considered for publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Migrating Minds. Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism.

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