CANCELLED: SELCS Research Roundtable on World Literatures

17 March 2020, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Please note that this event has now been postponed. Another date will be arranged and advertised in due course.

Event Information

Open to



Jennifer Rushworth


Room 111
Foster Court
Gower Street

All welcome. Speakers are as follows:

Xiaofan Amy Li, ‘Hong Kong Literature: local and/or world literature?’

Hong Kong literature has existed since the mid-19thC as a body of works written primarily in Chinese but also occasionally in English. Although in the mid-20thC Hong Kong was still sometimes dubbed by Hong Kongese literary critics themselves as a ‘cultural desert’, the latter decades of the 20thC have seen a flourishing of the Hong Kongese literary scene that features both many migrant writers who settle down in Hong Kong as well as local writers. In this presentation, I focus on the woman writer Xi Xi, the Shanghai-born writer who came to Hong Kong at the age of twelve and has become one of the most well-loved writers of Hong Kong. I explore how her works relate to both the cultural identity of Hong Kong and World Literature. Simultaneously, taking Xi Xi as a case-study, I reflect on the question whether Hong Kong literature gains from being read as World Literature.

Florian Mussgnug, ‘World Literature and Epidemiological Catastrophe’

Narratives of epidemiological catastrophe are perhaps the most explicitly global variety of apocalypse fiction, because of their characteristic attention to the fatal interconnectedness of transnational networks and their catastrophic effects on individuals and communities. Globalisation postulates a world in which communication, mobility and exchange are potentially unlimited. Outbreak stories disrupt this assumption: the world – as a material substrate and object of human practice – becomes unpredictable and global connectedness is experienced as tragic entanglement, which may lead to a breakdown of social structures. How does the novel represent this condition? In my contribution, I examine contemporary fictional pandemics through the dual disciplinary lens of world literature and the environmental humanities. Both fields are relevant because of their distinctive concern with spatial and temporal knowledge production and because of their continuous and critical engagement with capitalist globalisation.

Natasha Tanna, ‘Writing as Curation: the Politics of Collaborative Creation in Latin American Literature’

In my research to date I have developed a somewhat utopian theory of queer intertextuality with a focus on collaborative creation across time and space through authors translating, citing, and even plagiarising other literary voices in their own works. Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza has drawn on the etymology of ‘curation’ in pointing to the potentially healing effects of conceptualising writing primarily as engagement with existing texts. In this roundtable I will consider the allure of curatorial approaches to literature, as well as the potential pitfalls of such a romanticisation of the commons.