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Teaching World Literature

Year of Funding: 
A close up of a stack of books on a table

Conference: October 21-22, 2016

Full conference program

Teaching World Literature: Debates, Models, Pedagogies brings noted leaders in the field of world literature to the University of Washington with the eventual goal of developing a new undergraduate major.

Literature is everywhere alive, transforming people and cultures within and across nations, historical eras, and languages. More than ever before, literary works today are read and have effects world-wide. The new major would study literatures as global phenomena, seeking to read texts more intensively, more extensively, and more connectedly. Who are we, and why? What values, beliefs, and perspectives constitute our identities? How have our pasts, individual and collective, shaped who we are?

Reading across world literatures allows us to deal with persistent questions such as these, exploring human ethics, cultures, psyches, and spirits in broadly comparative ways. Examining how works of literature travel across time, space, languages, and media, and exploring how they change along the way, we weigh against one another the choices that different peoples have imagined and adopted.

Speakers include David Damrosch (Harvard University), John Burt Foster (George Mason University), David Palumbo-Liu (Stanford University), Melek Ortabasi (Simon Fraser University), and Rebecca Walkowitz (Rutgers University).


  • Fall 2016 HUM microseminar “Teaching World Literature,” taught by Eric Ames (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media) and Gary Handwerk (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media)

Primary Contact

Eric Ames (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media)