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Texts Travelling beyond the West.

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Organizer: Clarissa Vierke

Co-Organizer: Annachiara Raia

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Texts travelling beyond the West. The recent debate concerning World Literature has sparked again interest in the global circulation of texts. So far, however, the focus has mostly been on Western texts, i.e. the novel in English, French and German, and its distribution in the West being synonymous with the literature market or a very restricted "republic of letters" (Casanova 1999).  We are inviting perspectives on texts which take into consideration those multilingual parts of the world, like Africa and Asia, which have largely been neglected. While the appropriation of Western literature and genres has been studied to some extent, leaving much thorough study to be done. Secondly, and even more importantly, what about texts in non-Western languages which have been travelling far distances and whose textual roots and paths have not been taken into account. What about the Arabic Islamic poetry – a genre neglected in comparison to the novel - which came to East and West Africa - not only orally - and got translated into various African languages and scripts like Wolof, Fulfulde, Hausa, Harari or Swahili? What about Chinese literature in Thailand and Persian texts in India? The aim of the panel is to consider both the circulation of texts as well as what and how they became adapted in specific contexts into new languages and cultural frameworks. Case studies and reflections on non-Western contexts along with the appropriation of Western texts and genres in marginalized areas and the reception of "non-Western" texts in the West are welcome.  

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