David Damrosch explores the challenges to world literary studies on philological, cultural, and political grounds, presented in recent critiques by Emily Apter, Haun Saussy, and the Warwick Collective. Damrosch will discuss these critiques in light of writers who themselves foreground these issues as they represent the world, including Apuleius, Luís Vaz de Camões, and the internet artists Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries.
David Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He is also Director of the Harvard Institute for World Literature. A past president of the American Comparative Literature Association, Damrosch has written widely on comparative and world literature from antiquity to the present. His books include How to Read World Literature (2008), The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh (2007), What Is World Literature? (2003), and We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University (1995). He is the editor of Teaching World Literature (2009) and the founding general editor of the six-volume Longman Anthology of World Literature (2004). He is completing a book entitled Comparing the Literatures: What Every Comparatist Needs to Know, and starting a book on the role of global scripts in the formation of national literatures.
This lecture is the keynote address of Teaching World Literature: Debates, Models, Pedagogies, a conference October 21-22 organized by Eric Ames (Chair and Professor, Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media).