The XIXth Congress of International Comparative Literature Association: 2010 Seoul Conference

Event title (long): 
Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature
Korea, South
Event dates: 
15.08.2010 - 21.08.2010

2010 Seoul Conference



The Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) brings together academics and writers from more than thirty different nations and provides a platform for lively exchange about literary studies, creative writing, and pedagogy. Transcending the national, linguistic, theoretical, and geographical boundaries that often compartmentalize literature and its studies, the ICLA Congress also encourages an interdisciplinary approach to literature through consideration of philosophy, politics, economics, science, technology, environment, and culture as they relate to literature.

The eighteenth congress was held in the summer of 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, and Korea will host the nineteenth congress in the beautiful city of Seoul from August 15 to 21, 2010. Since the thirteenth congress in Tokyo almost two decades ago, the gathering in Korea will be only the third congress held in Asia.

I am often asked to explain what comparative literature is. I believe the recent interest in this field is apt in this era of multiculturalism and transnationalism, which calls for a continuing dialogue among diverse nations, cultures, and their literatures, and foregrounds the universality that ties together the global community.

The organizing committee for the 2010 Congress anticipates that this event will not only awaken Korean literature and literary studies from its recent lethargy, but will also have positive ramifications for humanistic studies in general. This event will be a meaningful gathering of the great minds, coming together in Seoul to address and search collectively for viable solutions to the humanistic studies.

The 2010 Congress theme is "Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature." In addition to the six sub-themes, the Korean Comparative Literature Association (KCLA) in collaboration with Korean Language and Literature Association and other foreign literary associations has proposed various topics relating to Korean literature and culture, which will also be addressed in numerous sessions, workshops, round tables, and seminars during the 2010 Congress. Thus 2010 Seoul Congress of ICLA should be an event that demonstrates the collaborative efforts of the government, private sector, and academic associations.

Chung Ho Chung
Chair, Organizing Committee of the Nineteenth Congress of the ICLA 2010 Seoul, Korea


On behalf of the Korean Comparative Literature Association (KCLA), it is my pleasure to introduce our organization.

Established in 1959, the Korea Comparative Literature Association, has more than 500 members and is registered with the Korean Research Foundation as one of the most representative academic associations in the nation. Since the third congress of the ICLA in 1960, the KCLA has sent delegates to every ICLA congress and has formed a cooperative relationship with the associations of other Asian countries including the Japan Comparative Literature Association beginning in 1966 the Chinese Comparative Literature Association from 1971 onward.

As a result of various international activities and thanks to the contributions of junior scholars who have studied comparative literature at many universities around the world and later returned to Korea, the KCLA has been able to increase its visibility on the international stage. This prominence has resulted in the election of two Korean scholars as ICLA officers: one as vice president and the other as a member of executive council. Eventually KCLA was chosen to host the 2010 ICLA Congress.

Comparative literature has been from the very beginning an interdisciplinary program, which not only crosses but also changes national and linguistic boundaries making its rich tradition more important in the era of globalization. In this context, the role of international conferences that intend to expand and broaden the knowledge and understanding of differences is critical to the development of comparative literature.

The KCLA is doing its best to prepare for the ICLA Congress in 2010, which hundreds of international scholars are expected to attend. By means of this opportunity, the KCLA would like to re-establish the status of humanities in Korea and demonstrate its potential to the international academic community. As president of the KCLA, 1 would sincerely like to ask for your interest in and genuine commitment to the XIXth Congress of the ICLA in 2010 in Seoul, Korea.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Eung-Soo Lee
President, Korean Comparative Literature Association Congress


Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature

In this era of globalization, comparative literature faces new challenges. For the past ten years, comparative literature as an academic discipline has had to embrace or often compete with other emerging interdisciplinary fields including cultural studies, regional studies, and translation studies. Today, as new technologies redefine the boundaries of knowledge and globalization draws the world closer together, comparative literature faces the added challenge of expanding its boundaries and frontiers in order to rethink its identity and role as a discipline.

The conference theme "Expanding the Frontiers of Comparative Literature" can be interpreted on many levels. We believe that comparative literature needs to move beyond its Western origins to become a productive arena for scholarly work in all literatures of the world. We also believe that comparative literature can take the lead in redefining the boundaries of literature. Today hyper-textuality and visual media cultures are changing the ways in which we approach textuality, and comparative literature can, thus, become a productive context for the discussion of the environment and technology and their impact on human civilization.

In other words, comparative literature can and should provide the grounds for new communication, dialogue, and insight in our greatly expanded world extending the frontiers of comparative literature, we hope to raise questions about the concept of ethnity, region, religion, and ideology in a globalized context as well as to place literature at the center of ail initiatives to change society and human lives for the better.

As one of the few divided countries on the face of the earth, Koreans believe that a. comparative literature conference on breaking down boundaries and overcoming frontiers will be both appropriate and timely. We would like to invite the global community to meet in Korea to discuss how to expand the frontiers of comparative literature in imaginative ways.

Session I

Since the twenty-first century has brought us into the age of globalization, comparative literature must now establish a new concept of and identity for literature through theory and practice based on new knowledge that reaches beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, culture, region, politics, and scholarship to expand while at the same rime unifying its horizon. In particular, comparative literature must seek a means of expanding the direction and range of research by breaching the boundaries of Eurocentric literary theory and discourse and canonizing the long-standing and enduring literary traditions of other regions. To this end, we must find a new consilience through the comparative discussion of lesser known literary theories.

Session II

Comparative literature must present a new method of co-existence within the complex culture of a hyper-textual age. With the appearance of the hypertext, cutting-edge technology is on the verge of replacing the classical concept of text and culture. Literary texts must, thus, seek a means of surviving in an age of multiple media that surpass traditional textuality. In this age of the nascent of hypertext, comparative literature must present a comprehensive vision and compelling plan in defense of the existential value and direction of research on the literary text.

Session III

Comparative literature must carry into a new arena of discussion the issues of nature and environment, science and technology, and humanity and ethics as addressed by the diverse cultures of many nations and develop a new discourse jointly owned by all of humanity. The advancement of technology continues to degrade the environment in ways that will continue into the next generation. The First and Third Worlds, moreover, hold sharply divergent views about these issues. The comparative discussion of the environment and technology well as humanity and ethics is especially important for the survival of human civilization.

Session IV

In the twenty-first century we have moved beyond the ideological differences that brought about the Cold War. But humanity still faces discrimination and conflicts relating to region, religion, ideology, wealth, and generation. By embracing cultural diversity by expanding such concepts of acceptance, comparative literature can offer a concrete means of co-existence and reconciliation. In this way, comparative literature will be able to assume the practical and revolutionary function that falls to literature when it faces the problems of the real world. We will revisit the various concepts of othemess that have been discussed thus far, and seek out the role of comparative literature in creating a foundation for dialogue and reconciliation that moves politics and conflicts of difference.

Session V

Translation has emerged as one of the most important means of exchange and communication between diverse cultures. Translation can overcome the gap between nations, ethnicities, periods, cultures, and languages to provide a new space for exchange and communication. Although existing translations have contributed primarily to the one-sided transmission of Western culture to the Third World, translation in the twenty-first century must stand on the front lines of genuine mutual exchange between different cultures. In this light, cultural translation more proficiently examines the negotiations of culture taking place at many levels between source-text and target-text offers a new direction for translations the twenty-first century.

Session VI

Asia has developed various paradigms of knowledge, sensibility, and value through its long tradition and history. The Asian literary and culture traditions have also been disseminated and transformed through communication and exchange within Asia as well as beyond Asian boarders. After a century of Western modernization, the significance of Asian classical literature and culture is being discussed once again and is being recognized as a way of providing new vision. It is anticipated that discussions of such Asian paradigms wiII go beyond the limitations of Orientalism and Occidentalism and give Asia a chance for productive self-examine. In the midst of dynamic change in the concept of comparative literature and world literature, Asia must be actively discussed as the focal point for the integration and re-construction of knowledge for the future.

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts for the session themes received by March 31, 2009 will be considered under the standard review process. Online abstract submission is highly recommended after proper online authorial registration. The format and submission guidelines will be available at in December 2008. Abstracts should be between 250 and 500 words.

Authors are asked to submit original abstracts only. All submitted abstracts will be refereed for accuracy, originality, relevance to the congress, and quality of exposition. The abstracts will be published in the abstract book of the congress.

Call for Proposals

Proposals for workshops, symposia, round tables, and seminars should be submitted to the ICLA 2010 secretariat no later than December 31, 2008 at The Individual abstracts for workshops, symposia, round tables, and seminars will be sent to each organizer. The format and submission guidelines will be available at or in the 2nd Announcement.

Important Dates

  • Proposal Submissions Due............December 31, 2008
  • (Workshops, Symposia, Round Tables, Seminars)
  • Second Announcement..................February 1, 2009
  • Abstract Submission Due..............March 31, 2009
  • Acceptance Notice...........................August 15, 2009
  • Advance Program............................February 1, 2010
  • Early Registration............................April 30, 2010
  • Hotel Reservations Due..................April 30, 2010

Official Languages

Official languages of the congress are English, French, and Korean.


There are several selections of hotels blocked for ICLA 2010 participants centrally located and close to the venue. Most hotels are equipped with a diverse range of facilities. To benefit from the special lCLA 2010 rates, all reservations must be made by April 30, 2010 accompanied by one night deposit to be guaranteed. All rooms expire on May 1, 2010. Detailed hotel information will be available at the website as of the year 2009.

Window on Korea

Korea, lying in the north eastern part of the Asian continent, is a country where a unique and homogeneous culture has been forged by a 5,000 year heritage. Korea's warm-hearted people are ready to welcome you in to a world of tradition, culture, and art that helped to form the foundation for the world-renowned Hallyu (Korean Wave). Enjoy a myriad of healthy, flavorful food and some of the world's most advanced information technology. With many wonderful opportunities, there is something in store for everyone. Korea is sure to offer you a unique and unforgettable experience.

Convenient and Easy Access

With the opening of the new world-class Incheon International Airport in March 2001, Korea became a major transportation hub for east Asia, guaranteeing easier and more comfortable access than ever before to this dynamic region.

See also the official website
icla_call_for_papers.doc91.5 KB