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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)

The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies (LINKS), is a collaboration between London institutions involved in teaching and research in comparative literary studies, to promote dialogue and cooperation.

Participating institutions include University College London, King’s College London, Goldsmiths, Queen Mary, SOAS, Birkbeck and Royal Holloway.

The LINKS Research Seminar meets regularly during the Autumn and Winter terms at the Institute of Modern Languages Research at Senate House, to bring together scholars and graduates from London and beyond.

Events are currently held online: please see individual events for details and registrations


Time: 3.00pm - 5.00pm GMT
Institute of Modern Languages Research

Online Workshop (free)

Please note that you will need to register here in advance to receive the online event joining link and pdf copies of the preparatory reading.

Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation: Postgraduate workshop co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)

Discussants: Florian Mussgnug (UCL) and Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway University London)
Chair: Ruth Cruickshank (Royal Holloway University London)

Global warming demands new forms of linguistic and conceptual inventiveness that can alert readers to unfamiliar and counterintuitive scales. As ecocritic Timothy Clark has suggested, much environmental damage happens at a scale that cannot be fully expressed by traditional realist modes of literary representation. It is brought about by individual human actions which are not ecologically significant in themselves but which collectively, across space and over time, threaten much of what we value about humanity and the more-than-human world. In the context of the climate crisis, this relation between individual observable causes and vast global effects marks a stark challenge to familiar anthropocentric narratives. It demands an unprecedented ability to move between counterintuitive scales and to communicate the unfamiliar. Writerly and critical attention to nonhuman subjectivity – a creative process that is also known as inter-species translation – marks a particularly important aspect of this new cultural and political agenda. 

In this workshop, we will read and discuss three chapters: by Timothy Clark, who has linked scalar literacy to the political critique of anthropocentrism; by cultural theorist Michael Cronin, who has stressed the significance of translation, beyond its linguistic origins, as a powerful metaphor for inter-species exchange; by Kari Weil who invites us to explore the apparent paradox of posthuman autobiography. Eco-translation, as defined by Cronin, and posthumanism, for Weil, foreground the importance of the more-than-human world, not as a mere backdrop or context for human stories, but as a co-constitutive presence that intersects with human culture and society in a single, volatile temporal force field. Translation, which “on the face of it appears to be a pre-eminently human activity”, thus comes to express extended forms of ecological relatedness (Cronin 2017: 13). Dramatic shifts in the common perception of distance, proximity and context, according to Cronin and Weil, are not only a persistent feature of cultural and linguistic translation: they also define our planetary habitat in times of anthropogenic crisis.

Preparatory Reading (PDFs sent to registered attendees)
Timothy Clark, “Scalar Literacy”, in The Value of Ecocriticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 38-56.
Michael Cronin, “Translating Animals”, in Eco-Translation: Translation and Ecology in the Age of the Anthropocene (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 67-93.
Kari Weil, “Autobiography”, in Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Posthuman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 84-95.


Beyond the Two Shores: Indian Magazines and World Literature between Decolonisation and the Cold War

Beyond the Two Shores: Indian Magazines and World Literature between Decolonisation and the Cold War

26 November 2020, 3.00pm - 4.30pm

This free event will be held online, at 15:00 GMT. Please note that you will need to register in advance to receive the online event joining link.
Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation
Co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)

Speaker: Francesca Orsini (SOAS)

We sometimes forget that for many readers in many parts of the world, exposure to world literature largely took place on the pages of magazines, through translations, reviews, snippets of information or survey articles – with the short story as the main unit of literary exchange. One part of my enquiry in this talk – and of a series of webinars on The Magazine and World Literature I am co-running with Patricia Novillo-Corvalan – concerns the production and experience of world literature through the magazine, how magazines differ from other platforms for world literature (the book series, the anthology, the course), and what analytical vocabulary they require.

More specifically, this talk explores how Indian magazines of the 1950s to 1970s “did” world literature, and how this relates to the geopolitics of the Cold War, but also to decolonisation and Third Worldism. If competing efforts on both sides of the Cold War to promote literatures from one’s sphere of influence led to a large number of literary translations that magazines could pick from (leading scholars to hail a new “global simultaneity of literary time”, Holt, Rubin), many in India were wary of the two blocs. As a result, Hindi mainstream magazines articulated their own vision of literary Third Worldism and became sites of “spectacular internationalism”.

This was also the golden period of magazine publishing in Hindi, with several story magazines that invested much effort not just in showcasing new Hindi literary talent but also in translating writing from other Indian languages and from foreign literatures, what I call here “literary activism”. What “significant geographies” of world literature did this translation effort produce? Did literary choices simply follow ideological and geopolitical affiliations? And how is the experience of world literature that magazines produce different from the more systematic but abstracted ambition of the book series or the university course?

Francesca Orsini is Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature at SOAS, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is currently completing an ERC research project on “Multilingual locals and significant geographies: for a new approach to world literature”, from the perspective of three literary regions: North India, the Maghreb, and the Horn of Africa. As part of the project, she is co-editing a book entitled The Form of Ideology and the Ideology of Form: Third World Print Cultures and Internationalisms between Decolonization and the Cold War, with Neelam Srivastava and Laetitia Zecchini.

Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Venue: IAS Forum Room, ground floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, Gower Street, LONDON WC1E 6BT

The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies (LINKS), the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), and Queen Mary University of London are proud to host Prof. Rebecca L. Walkowitz (Rutgers) in conversation with researchers in Comparative Literature. 

15.00 Masterclass with Rebecca L. Walkowitz 

This masterclass gives postgraduate and doctoral students the opportunity to discuss with Prof. Walkowitz a selection of her recent writings. Participants are encouraged to join the masterclass having read the following texts:

1. “This Is Not Your Language” (from Born Translated)

2. “Reading in a World of Wonderlands” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

3. “Future Reading” (ACLA State of the Discipline)

17.30 Roundtable: Thoughts on Born Translated

This roundtable discussion celebrates Prof. Walkowitz’s contribution to comparative studies, with specific focus on her award-winning monograph: Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (2015). All are welcome.

Discussants: Florian Mussgnug (UCL), Tamar Steinitz (Goldsmiths), Francesca Orsini (SOAS), Galin Tihanov (Queen Mary University London) 

Respondent: Rebecca L. Walkowitz (Rutgers)

Chair: Adhira Mangalagiri (Queen Mary University London)

19.00 Drinks reception



5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, 19 February 2019
IAS Forum, Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
London WC1E 6BT

Is mourning a special case of the transformation of life into literature? What are the temptations, benefits, and potential pitfalls of turning the personal experience of grief into literary forms and images? How can literature help in the lived experience of mourning? What do we even mean by ‘help’ in this context? What other roles might literature have?

In this roundtable, chaired by Florian Mussgnug (UCL) we will address these questions through three papers. We will hear from Simona Corso (Roma Tre) on mourning diaries, including Roland Barthes’s posthumous contribution to this genre. The artist Zoe Papadopoulou will share with us her innovative approach to bereavement, which embraces literary and artistic works, encourages creative expression, and includes a specially converted Italian ambulance. And with Jennifer Rushworth (UCL) we will travel back in time to Petrarch’s narration of the death of Laura in a series of dramatic images.

This seminar is supported by the London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies (LINKS), by Comparative Literature at UCL, by the Institute of Advanced Studies (UCL), and by the UCL Cities partnerships Programme in Rome (CpP).

Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

This panel brings together experienced editors active in major publications and presses in the field of Comparative Literature. The speakers will share their expertise on the nuts and bolts of publishing and on current publishing trends in Comparative Literature.


  • Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS), Editor of “Studies in Comparative Literature” book series at Legenda.
  • Emily Finer (St Andrews), Editor of “Studies in Comparative Literature” book series at Legenda.
  • Ben Hutchinson (Kent), Editor of Comparative Literature series at Palgrave.
  • Will McMorran (QMUL), Editor of Comparative Critical Studies.

Attendance free.

Please register here

Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Lecture by Pablo Mukherjee, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at University of Warwick and member of the Warwick Research Collection (WReC).

Attendance free.

Please register here.

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