University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Global Novel Symposium (co-sponsored by New Literary History)

April 10, 2019

IHGC Symposium on 

The Global Novel: Contemporary Perspectives

Co-sponsored by New Literary History


Convener: Debjani Ganguly


April 10-11, Venue Wilson 142


The looming presence of the novel in world literary studies is unmistakable. More than any other literary genre, the novel is perceived as future-oriented and open-ended, ready to absorb within its polymorphous ambit the indeterminacy of the present, a genre that, in Bakhtin’s words, ‘has a living contact with the unfinished, still evolving contemporary reality.’ It not only travels well, but is also, arguably, the genre par excellence of the mutating lifeworld of global capitalism. Recent world literary approaches to novel studies have ranged from theories of comparative morphology (Moretti); of the mutual shaping of the world novel and human rights discourse (Slaughter); of born-translated works that have an aspiration for cross-lingual circulation embedded in their crafting (Walkowitz); of formal adaptation to the visual stimulation of our new media age, global wars after 1989 and the proliferation of genres of witnessing (Ganguly), and of the novel's planetary scale in works of speculative fiction on climate change (Heise), to name only a few.    


This workshop will bring together scholars with expertise in various literary regions – South Africa, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, Southern Europe and East Asia – to examine the transformation of the novel across these cultural zones. It will explore recent theories of the novel and compare their relative provenance across multiple novelistic traditions. Offering close readings of works across various vectors – historical, political, cultural, ethical, technological and planetary – the workshop aims to generate new comparative perspectives on the global novel in the twenty-first century. 




Rebecca Walkowitz (Rutgers)

On Not Knowing: Lahiri, Tawada, Ishiguro


Daniel Kim (Brown)

Translations and Ghostings of History: The Novels of Han Kang 


Ranjana Khanna (Duke)

“Touch, Water, Death: Affect and The Corpse Washer”


Sarah Nuttall (Witwatersrand)

Pluvial Time, Ocean Ontologies and the Heterochronicity of the Present


Baidik Bhattacharya (CSDS, Delhi)

Does the Global Novel have a Democratic future? Reading Orham Pamuk and J.M. Coetzee


Ignacio Sanchez Prado (Washington University)

Transculturation and the Necropolitical: The Theory of the Novel from Latin America.


Debjani Ganguly (University of Virginia)

Catastrophic Form and Planetary Realism: Reading James George and Amitav Ghosh



Homer Statue
Wilson Hall 142