Entangled Literatures and Cultures: Systems of Relations, Intersections, Reciprocity
International conference in Tallinn
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Jaan Undusk (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): Enlightened Entanglement: A Worn-Out Project to be Renewed?
9.30-11.00 Theoretical Reflections on Entanglement
Martin Klöker (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): The Model of Entanglement and Change in Literary History
Kaisa Kaakinen (University of Turku): The Heterogeneous Historicity of ReadingThe Heterogeneous Historicity of Reading: Analysing Weak Analogies of Relation and Comparison in Twentieth-Century Literature Analysing Weak Analogies of Relation and Comparison in Twentieth-Century Literature
Piret Peiker (Tallinn University): What Do We See Differently When We Adopt a Relational Perspective?
11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-13.00 Entanglement and Migration
Diana Mistreanu (University of Luxembourg/Université Paris-Est): Russians Exiles in Interwar Paris – An Example of Cultural Cross-Fertilization?
Jamie Korsmo (Georgia State University/Paris-Saclay University): Hemingway’s Expats: The Impact of Place on Cultural Performance
Margarita Smagina (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon): Entangled Cultures, Entangled Species: The Promise of “Alter-Globalization” in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and the Denial of Reciprocity in Karen Tei Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rainforest
14.00-15.30 Entanglements in the Baltics
Kairit Kaur (University of Tartu, Tallinn University Library): Totentanz and graveyard poetry: how to grasp the Baltic German reception of English Literature and Culture
Ulrike Plath (Tallinn University/Under and Tuglas Literature Centre), Linda Kaljundi (Tallinn University): Serfdom as Entanglement: Narratives of a Social Phenomenon in Literature and History Writing
Epp Annus (Estonian Literary Museum): Modernity with a Smiley Face: Soviet modernity, Soviet coloniality
15.30-16.00 Coffee Break
Stefan Helgesson (Stockholm University): Entanglement, World Literature and World-Making
Friday, 26 May 2017
Kevin Platt (University of Pennsylvania): Wavelength, Exchange and the Temporality of the Aesthetic: On Liminality and Avantgardism
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
11.00-12.30 Contemporary Entanglements
Diana Hitzke (Justus Liebig University Gießen): Sorbian Literature as Entangled Literature: Cultural Criss-crossing from Ultra-minor Perspectives
Edward Muston (Beloit College): Re-Entangling the Cisnational State: Vladimir Vertlib in Lithuania and Austria
Eneken Laanes (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre/Tallinn University): Against Hybridity
14.00-15.00 Modernist Entanglements
Mirjam Hinrikus (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, Tallinn University): Nikolai Triik’s “Martyr” (1913) and A. H. Tammsaare´s Judith (1921) in the Context of “Estonian” Decadence
Aare Pilv (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): Estonian Red Exile Literature: Entangled Alienation
15.00-15.30 Coffee Break
15.30-17.00 Entanglements Between Cultural Fields
Rein Undusk (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): The Invention of Estonia: Lennart Meri’s Silverwhite
Ildikó Sirató (Hungarian National Széchényi Library, Budapest / University of Pannonia, Veszprém): Understanding without Borders: Central-European Features of Estonian and Contemporary Finnish Plays
Piret Kruuspere (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre): Entangled Dramatic Art and Entangled Memory: Examples from Estonian Plays and Stage
Call for Papers
The study of cultures inevitably involves comparison and influence, for every culture has developed in a process of exchange with other cultures. Though this is widely acknowledged, enquiry into cultures has long suffered from “methodological nationalism” (Ulrich Beck), positing nations as the only natural units for the comparative study of cultures. The cultures of the Baltic region present a case in point. The Baltics have been an intense battlefield for various political and economic forces and have been part of a number of different states over almost a millennium. The literary culture of the region began to take shape in the context of the local German rule from the beginning of the 13th century onward, and it was largely multilingual up to the end of the 19th century, with Latin, German, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian and Russian all used. The national movements of the 19th century split the multi-layered literary field into separate literatures centred on national languages. In the 20th century, the national literatures of the region developed in lively interaction with various European literatures, and after World War II they came under the restrictive regulations of Soviet ideology. At the same time, however, the study of the national literatures of the Baltics completely erased the entangled history of literary culture from the individual canons.
In recent decades, an interest in cultural transfer has invigorated research into conceptual models that would do justice to the criss-cross patterns of culture. The study of cultural transfer offers a welcome alternative to the nation-centred exploration of cultural influence and exchange by acknowledging métissage (cultural intermingling, or mixed identity) as an essential feature in the development of national cultures. This has proven to be crucial in rethinking the question of cultural influence in so far as it draws attention to the processes of re-appropriation and re-writing of transferred cultural models and hence to the originality of the “copy” in a receiving socio-historical configuration.
However, the study of cultural transfer still fails to do justice to the entangled nature of cultures: on one side there is the general system of relations between different, national, cultural spaces and on the other side is the reciprocity of unequal exchange in multi-ethnic and multicultural contexts that have a common, or partly overlapping, cultural heritage.
The conference invites its participants to develop a conceptual framework for studying literatures and cultures as entangled by exploring various cultural contexts where cultural entanglements have been an essential feature, but which cannot be studied productively by, for example, post-colonial approaches. Some questions which may prove relevant in this regard are:
- What are the advantages of approaching cultures as entangled rather than through comparativism and the study of cultural transfer?
- What previously overshadowed phenomena can be illuminated by this approach?
- How can justice best be done to the reciprocity of cultural exchange?
- How can the unequal exchange between cultures that may result from unequal political and economic legacies but does not neatly overlap with it be studied?
The conference will explore these questions by focusing on the literary cultures of different regions of the world understood in the broadest of terms. Contributions that examine entanglements in history, theatre, visual arts and other fields of culture are welcome.
The conference is organised by the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences in the framework of its institutional research project “Entangled Literatures: Discursive History of Literary Culture in Estonia” (IUT, 2014–2019, project leader: Research Professor Jaan Undusk). Organisers: Eneken Laanes, Jaan Undusk.