First International Conference
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
28-30 June 2012
Transitions in Comparative Studies
The comparative gesture performs both the act and the question of transition between the terms compared. Understood as an intercultural practice, comparative literature may thus also be understood as both a transitive and transnational process – creating its own object/form of knowledge as it identifies and analyses lines of relation and exchange between literary cultures. When navigating between languages, it becomes critically engaged with the possibility and methods of such navigation. Meanwhile, interdisciplinary and inter-medial versions of comparative studies likewise centre about transitions which may themselves remain under-analysed.
The very diversity of comparative practices enumerated, and the attendant versions of comparative discourse, indicate a field of study that is itself faced with the reality of transition. As CLAI (Comparative Literature Association of Ireland) establishes a new space for interaction between comparativists of local and global provenance, the possible directions of this transition are of central concern to this first international conference of the Association, organised by University College Cork.
The methodological and definitional nature of transition in comparative literature resonates urgently with the transitional processes both in Ireland and around the world at the present time. As a thematic concern in comparative work, transition is thus also – within whatever historical period or other configuration it is charted and analysed – key to the renewed relevance of comparative literary scholarship and study today.