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Classics and/as World Literature - 03-04/06/2016, London (England)



The aim of this two-day international conference is to explore (1) how Greek and Latin classical authors, often in modern-language translations, have historically functioned as part of the colonial curriculum and (2) their status relative to Comparative Literature and World Literature.


World Literature has been advocated as new approach to the study of literature in a globalised age, and as one which avoids the nationalist and colonialist pitfalls of studying literatures in traditional departmental and disciplinary formations. But prominent advocates of World Literature have as yet evaded the challenge presented by the ancient Greek and Roman literature to their conceptual framework.Histories of World Literature progress from Gilgamesh immediately to Dante and skip everything in between.


This conference is designed to address that lacuna and emphasise the rightful place of ancient Greek and Latin texts, imperialist warts and all, at the heart of the 21st-century international World Literature syllabus.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 03-04/06/2016


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO:  King´s College London (London, England)


ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Department of Classics, King´s College London


INFO:  web -

INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE: Venta de entradas aquí/ Ticket sale here/ ticketing qui




3rd  June

10:00  COFFEE and Registration

10:30  Welcome Edith Hall (KCL) and William Fitzgerald (KCL)

11:00-12:30 Session 1   Chair, Russell Goulbourne (KCL)

11:00  Michael Silk (KCL)  Introductory Address:  Problematising 'World Literature' (but not 'Classics'?)

11:30 Andrew Laird (Warwick):Aztec Humanists: Uses of the Classics by Nahua Writers in Early Colonial Mexico

12:00   Nicholas Ollivere (Oxford) The Road to Morocco: Reading Back to the Classics via Sartre


13:30-15:00    Session 2       Chair, Sebastian Matzner (KCL)

13:30  Emily Greenwood (Yale):Local World Classics: A Manifesto

14:00  Pramit Chaudhuri (Dartmouth) Outsourcing: Classics in World Literature and Digital Humanities

14:30  Ayelet Haimson Lushkov (University of Texas at Austin) Broad Classics: Damnatio Memoriae on the Global Stage

15:00 TEA

16:00-17:30 Session 3       Chair, William Fitzgerald (KCL)

16:00    Justine McConnell (Oxford)Riddling Mirrors: Comparing Oral Poetics in Ancient Greece and Contemporary South Africa

16:30    Keynote 1, David Damrosch (Harvard) Hellenistic World Literature: Apuleius and Walcott Read the Greeks

18:00    Drinks Reception in RIVER ROOM

Includes toast to celebrate of publication of Justine McConnell & Edith Hall (eds.) Ancient Greek Myth and World Fiction since 1989 (Bloomsbury 2015).

1930    Speakers’ dinner in local restaurant, hosted by Department of Comparative Literature

4th June

10-00-11:00   Session 4     Chair, Dan Orrells (KCL)

10:00  Henry Stead (Open University): A spectre is haunting World Literature -- the spectre of Classics (1917-1956)

10:30   Miryana Dimitrova (KCL): Dissident Ancients: The Cases of the Theatrical Socrates and the Cinematic Aesop in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria

11:00    COFFEE

11:30-13:00    Session 5    Chair, David Ricks (KCL)

11:30   Rachel Bower (Leeds) World Literature and Epistolarity

12:00    Ziad Elmarsafy (KCL) Photosynthesis: Neoplatonisms from Suhrawardi to Abdelwahab Meddeb.

12:30    Maria Vamvouri Ruffy (Lausanne): A Translation’s Sociolect: The Weak Point of ‘World Literature’?

13:00    LUNCH

14:00-16:00 Session 6       Chair: Pavlos Avlamis (KCL)

14:30   Bobby Xinyue (Warwick): Ovid in China

15:00   Simon Perris (Wellington, NZ): Māori Writers and the Classics: Sources, Questions, and Hypotheses

15:30   Phiroze Vasunia (UCL): How we Lost the Classics, in India, For Example

1600    TEA

16:30-18:30  CLOSING SESSION  Chair: Susan Bassnett (Glasgow)

16:30    Keynote 2,  Patrice Rankine (University of Richmond) Slavery, the Book, and Classical Tensions: The U.S. and Brazil

17:30    Roundtable, kicked off by Susan Bassnett as Respondent

18:30    Wine or Pub


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