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Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Richard Ambrosini

Università Roma Tre

"The Beauty of Mankind": Versions of Weltliteratur in Joseph Conrad and Derek Walcott

The noun 'literature' should be handled with great care, when used in conjunction with adjectives such as 'Comparative' and 'World.' The multiplication of contexts almost inevitably ends up overshadowing the aesthetic and epistemological potentials of literary artifacts. As disciplinary markers, however, 'Comparative' and 'World' suggest paths of discovery and rediscovery of those artifacts, especially when they are the product of particularly ambitious and original artistic projects, such as Joseph Conrad's and Derek Walcott's. In my paper I intend to reframe as strategies of inclusiveness and broadened community boundaries certain particular aesthetic patterns we can find in their opuses.

Conrad was an English writer, but through his incessant manipulations of the forms, themes and genre conventions specific to the English novel he made himself into a transnational novelist.

Walcott refused to emigrate to the former colonial metropolis and instead made the literature of the world migrate into the world of the Caribbean. Such a pattern could not but end - as Goethe had predicted - with Omeros, a reinvention of the Odyssey that allowed him to conflate many personal and collective wounds he was heir to into an epic form.

Daniele Conversi

Universidad del País Vasco

Unavoidable interdisciplinarity: Studying the Anthropocene in a world of nation-states

Climate emergency, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, environmental migrations, ocean acidification, freshwater crisis, soil erosion, mass extinction. For many scientists, we have now entered into the Anthropocene, a geological epoch distinct from the Holocene.

Meanwhile, the time for public action is shrinking every day. Will the states be able to solve these problems? Could the ideology that fuels these states, nationalism, be transformed into a vehicle for change?

The presentation explores the conflictual relationship between the climate emergency and the geopolitical reality of nation-states, centred on the ideology of nationalism. The global geopolitical divide has so far prevented concerted action to stop the crisis. It has influenced all international climate agreements, including those that have been relatively successful.

In all our disciplines, the changes underway require the articulation of new interdisciplinary tools to allow for the collaboration at various levels and the exit from specialist frontiers by adopting, where possible, common words and a language free from sectoral jargons.

Interdisciplinarity can help us exiting from the double crisis: the humanitarian/environmental crisis and the crisis of the nation-state, due to its inoperativeness.

At the same time, this crisis may provide an opportunity to reassess and better understand the multiple functions and varieties of nationalism and how some nationalisms might be involved in the defence of our "common home".

Fatima El-Tayeb

Yale University

Diasporic Blackness and People Of Color Formations: A View from (De)colonial Europe

This talk explores how a decolonial approach to European racial formations, as exemplified in feminist and queer of color activism, can not only help uncover the deep roots of the recent rise of racist movements across the continent, but also offer new perspectives on potential coalitions between communities subsumed under the increasingly controversial notion of "people of color."

Focusing on the positionality of Europeans of African descent between the legacies of colonialism, labor migration and racial slavery, I push the limits of US-centric theorizations of the African Diaspora towards a model inclusive of marginalized Black experiences.

Rahilya Geybullayeva

Baku Slavic University

Literature between Irredenta and Inclusiveness: From the Medieval and Ancient Perspectives - politics, history, literary interpretation, medievality, antiquity

This lecture considers the contemporary trends of compartmentalization in societies through the prism of a post-Soviet person who has been swept along by the parade of sovereignties and wars. People always have something in common: cultural history, ancestries, territories. One of the stated causes of contemporary wars is which race is incoming and which is autochthonous (if there even is such a thing as a pure race or ethnos). In other words, it is a matter of dividing the past, dividing history. In this context the question arises - which past? The near or more ancient? This research proposes to examine the problem of the contemporary interpretation of "a native race/ethnos" of the "starting point of nationality" in the mirror in the ancient and medieval European epics, and puts forward two aspects of national identification history through literary texts: biometric (ethnos according to bloodline) and social history. We are discussing theoretical platform of criteria of the national past as "past inclusions and present exclusions" in literature, in order to take one more step towards mutual understanding and discuss the cultural heritage of the past peacefully.

Loredana Polezzi

Stony Brook University

Threads, Traces and Hospitable Places: Rethinking Translation as Narrative Co-Presence

Translation can function both as a mechanism of inclusion and of exclusion. Understood as a practice of substitution between self-contained 'mother tongues', it can reinforce the image of homogeneous linguistic communities and, by extension, act as a proxy for exclusionary gestures which affect our individual sense of belonging as well as public discourses on mobility and official regimes of citizenship. Yet other, more inclusive models of translation are possible - and they often emerge in the narratives and visual production of artists who identify with experiences of mobility and migration. In this talk, I will use a small number of examples taken from the contemporary landscape of transnational Italian cultures to explore the reconceptualization of translation not as an act of appropriation, substitution and erasure, but as a polyphonic form of narrative continuity and co-presence. In these forms of 'hospitable' translation, the multiplicity of languages and modes of expression is used to trace geographic, cultural and social mobility, while also ensuring the transmission of its memory through time and across generational networks.

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