Past Workshops

World Literature/s Research

Coordinators: B. Venkat Mani (German), Ellen W. Sapega (Spanish & Portuguese), Ernesto Livorni (French & Italian), Caroline Levine (English), Karolina May-Chu (German)


The World Literature/s Research Workshop aims to identify and explore the distinctions, implications, and the tensions underlying the conceptualization of "World Literature/s" - in singularity and plurality. Along with promoting new research in the field through a dialogue across departments of literature, the workshop seeks to facilitate pedagogical innovations in both graduate and undergraduate curricula at UW-Madison.

For more information about funding and past events, please visit the World Literature/s Research Workshop's existing site.

Readings for upcoming events below will be posted on the World Literature/s homepage.



Dr. Paul Tenngart, Lund University, Sweden

Dissidence, Hegemony, Ambivalence. The Global Trajectory of Swedish Proletarian Fiction

Friday, April 12, 2012 @ 3:00-5:00pm
University Club room 313, 432 East Campus Mall

(Click here for the event poster)
Proletarian realism is one of the most significant characteristics of modern Swedish literature. Viewed as a parallel to the history of the Swedish welfare state, the changing political and cultural position of proletarian realism follows a trajectory of dissidence via hegemony to ambivalence. Literary texts are, however, rarely as clear-cut as political visions. Literary renditions of social mechanisms are immanently prone to ambivalence. Furthermore, literature is not fixed in a specific time, a specific place, and a specific culture. Literature moves, and so do its political and cultural implications. Swedish proletarian realism has been translated into many languages, but the patterns of translation and its implications greatly vary according to different target cultures. Comparing translations of Swedish proletarian realism into English with translations into other languages, this lecture will discuss how a nationally central literary movement is transformed when it travels to other parts of the world.
Dr. Paul Tenngart teaches comparative literature, Swedish literature, and children's literature at Lund University. His research interests include modern Swedish and French poetry, literature and politics, literature and cognition, and literary translations. His book on literary complexity and Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal was published in 2012. In 2012, he also edited a special issue of "Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift" on politics and literature and co-edited (with Sara Kärrholm) an anthology on children's literature and values.
This event is co-sponsored by 
the Center for European Studies, the Center for the Humanities,
 the Department of German, the Department of Scandinavian Studies,
 Global Studies, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities
Readings for discussion and further information:

(login and password: worldlit)

Contact: Karolina May-Chu (


Nirvana Tanoukhi, Department of English

“Distance and Prejudice in Reading (World Literature)”

Friday, February 1, 2013 @ 3:00-5:00PM
room 212 of the Institute for Research in the Humanities (University Club, 432 E. Campus Mall)

Nirvana has provided the following readings for discussion:

1) Nirvana Tanoukhi. “African Roads.” The Routledge Companion to World Literature. Eds. Theo D’haen, David Damrosch, Djelal Kadir. (London: Routledge, 2011.)
2) Nirvana Tanoukhi. “The Movement of Specificity.” PMLA. 128.2 (March 2013, forthcoming)
3) Nirvana Tanoukhi. “The Scale of World Literature.” New Literary History 39.3-4 (2008).

All texts are available through the Workshop website


Ammar Naji, Department of English

“Traversing Worldliness: Anglophone Arab Diasporic Writing and the Stakes of  World Literature”

Friday, December 7, 2012 @ 3:00-5:00PM
Room 212 of the Institute for Research in the Humanities 
(University Club, 432 E. Campus Mall)

Ammar has provided the following readings for discussion:
1) Edward Said, The Anglo-Arab Encounter
2) James Clifford, Traveling Cultures
3) David Porter, The Crisis of Comparison and the World Literature Debates

All texts will be available on the Workshop website:


Venkat Mani, German

Workshop / discussion

Friday, November 2, 2012 @ 3:00-5:00pm
Room 212 of the Institute for Research in the Humanities
(University Club, 432 E. Campus Mall)



Gabriella Ekman, English

“Reading Tennyson in Sierra Leone: The Politics of Poetry in Nineteenth-Century Freetown”

Friday, October 5, 2012 @ 3:00-5:00pm
University Club room 212 (432 East Campus Mall)

In preparation for the talk, Gabriella has asked us to read the introduction to Transnational Poetics by Jahan Ramazani.


Graziella Parati, Paganucci Chair of Italian Languages and Literature at Dartmouth College

"Imagining Asia in Milano's Urban Space"

Friday, May 4, 2012 @ 3:00-5:00pm
Room 212 of the Institute for Research in the Humanities
(University Club, 432 E. Campus Mall)