From World History to World Literature: Reflections on a New Comparative Method

Guest lecture by Professor Shu-mei Shih, UCLA.


Historians and literary scholars have struggled with the question of comparison as well as notions of world history and world literature. Their efforts both on the question of comparison and on the broader scale of writing about history and literature have largely run parallel with each other. This lecture will explore the possibility of considering the two sets of efforts together as a means to elaborate on a new method of comparison.

Among other works, Professor Shih will discuss Taiwan-based writer Chang Kuei-hsing’s rainforest trilogy set in Malaysia, Caribbean thinker Édouard Glissant’s philosophical works, and Patricia Powell’s novel about Chinese coolies in Jamaica, Pagoda.

Professor Shu-mei Shih has a split appointment in the Department of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies, UCLA. She currently co-directs the “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” Mellon Postdoctoral Program in the Humanities. Read more.

All are welcome!