2-3 December 2016
Teaching and research on the transnational inevitably pose questions on the nature of the framework of Modern Languages: whether the discipline should be construed and practised as the inquiry into separate national traditions or as the study of cultures and their interactions. Challenging the assumption that cultures are self-contained units that correspond to sharply defined national boundaries must become an essential part of all disciplinary fields and sub-fields that make up Modern Languages, as they seek to avoid the risk of methodological nationalism and of participating in the very structures that it is their purpose to critique. At the same time, how might the transnational acknowledge the residual pull of the nation as a potent, albeit porous, container of cultural identity, and broker of citizenship?
A great deal of research within Modern Languages is already, albeit often implicitly, concerned with the transnational dimension of culture. In so doing, it poses questions about language, translation and multi-lingualism; about the set of practices that make up a sense of location and of belonging to a geographically determined site; about the notions of temporality that obtain within cultures; about modes of understanding subjectivity and alterity. All these questions are of fundamental importance for the study not only of the contemporary world, and its likely future, but for the study of the past.
The conference explores how the ‘cultural’ and the ‘transcultural’ cannot be studied in isolation but rather need to be seen as part of a complex system of circulation which goes beyond national boundaries, canons or linguistic discreteness. The conference brings together researchers who are working on the transnational across Modern Languages and whose work poses questions both on how we study culture and how we produce a version of Modern Languages that is fully respondent to practices of human mobility and cultural exchange.
There is no registration fee for the conference. Lunch is available at a cost of £10 for non-speakers, payable on each day of the conference.
Inquiries should be addressed to: G.Wall@warwick.ac.uk