Call for Papers: Comparative Literature in Asia

Subject Fields:

Area Studies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Literature

Call for Papers

With the rise of nationalism in each individual Asian country, comparative literature began to develop. Comparative literature is typically thought of as a close textual comparison of two texts from different cultures or languages, as well as cultural studies and diverse area studies, translation studies and reception of Western literature into Asian languages. The literary world was primarily made up of intra-Asian cultural exchange before colonial intrusions in various Asian nations. The indigenous way of inheriting knowledge has been overshadowed by the colonial establishment’s
authoritative definition of literature and its disciplinary use in educational systems. Comparative literature is primarily a European field of study that brought European literary knowledge to Eastern nations along with many other disciplines.

The goal of this study is to examine the current comparative literature curricula in various Asian universities, their historical development, and the potential for the subject to grow there in the future. Through these three sorts of studies, we will engage in redefining Asian Comparative Literature beyond its Euro-America centric definition and forms. Rediscovering the areas where cultural exchanges and interactions between Asian nations have occurred for a long time is one of the ways that Asian literature might be an alternative to Euro-American comparative literature. Such cross-cultural interactions have the greatest potential to have an impact on Asian literary cultures or languages. Literatures can be located in various historical contexts of intra-Asian exchange through identifying cultural points in history.

This literary historical study will progressively become the justification for changing the comparative literature curriculum. Comparative literature as a field also might be relocated by looking at pan Asianism as a political idea found in various Asian discourses in the history of 20th century. The project also aims to advance the notion of literary Asia and the literary world from various Asian regions, such as Asian literature in the context of Korean literature or the world literature in the context of Vietnamese literature, as well as the potential for new comparative literature in those countries. With reference to various Asian contexts, this study seeks to understand the politics of literary imagination and the politics of conceiving literary worlds. Various historical, political, and economic perspectives are welcome to explore and renovate the idea of comparative literature in Asian context.

India, for instance, has a long history of cultural contacts with several Middle Eastern, Eastern, West Asian, and South-East Asian nations. The regions were not known as in their current regional identity which have been introduced by the Britishers later during colonial period. Indian
epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were translated into many Asian languages, received and retextured, and published as Asian writings, serving as a sort of literary common denominator for numerous Asian literatures. Indian travellers referred to Myanmar and neighbouring countries as “Suvarnabhumi” (land of gold). British colonists later travelled to South-East Asia through land and old marine routes. Asians were transported to various nations across the world as “Coolies” (modern- day colonial slaves) in order to boost the British Empire’s economy. Asians arrived in many different nations through this mode, and now their descendants are creating literature that both describes their current lives and those of their ancestors. Travelogues by Chinese travellers to India, travel of Panchatantra (200BCE) to the Arab world in 6th century AD, travelling of Sufism across Asian countries brings multiple axis of literary and cultural dialogues among Asian languages. Can we find new area or method or politics of study comparative literature in Asia through Asian pasts? Or through studying current international politics of various Asian countries, like India’s “Look East” and “Act East” policy?

Proposed Themes

  • Asian Contents in Literary Studies/Comparative Literary Studies in Asian Universities
  • Curriculum for Comparative Literature in Asian Universities
  • History of the Discipline of Comparative Literature in Asian Universities
  • Possibility and Need for Comparative Literature in Asian Countries
  • Intra-Asian Translation and Site for Comparison
  • Corpus of Asian Literature and Site for Comparison
  • World Literature in Asian Languages and Asian Literature in the World
  • Trade routes and Imagining Asian Comparative Literature
  • Coolie, Migration, Colonial rule and Comparative Literature in Asia
  • War, Imperialism, and Comparative Literature

Contribution Requirements

Authors are advised to concentrate only on the specified themes; if they discover anything more intriguing, they should discuss it with the editor before submitting the abstract. The abstract should be between 250 and 300 words long and include three to four keywords. It should be sent to Dr Mrinmoy Pramanick at by September 30, 2022, at the University of Calcutta, India. By October 15, 2022, abstracts that have been chosen will be notified. The selected authors may be invited to participate in an online roundtable discussion on “Comparative Literature in Asia” in November 2022. By March 31, 2023, a complete paper of 5000–7000 words that adheres to the MLA 7th edition style guide should be turned in.

Please feel free to contact the editor with any questions.

The book will probably be released in 2023 by the Hong Kong University Press. This book is a part of the series “Entanglements: Rethinking Comparison in the Long Contemporary” edited by Dr J. Daniel Elam at Hong Kong University.

Contact Info:
Dr Mrinmoy Pramanick

Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Indian Language and Literature
University of Calcutta, India
Contact Email:

Citation: Mrinmoy Pramanick. Comparative Literature in Asia. H-Announce. 08-18-2022.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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