The aim of CompLab is to gather people (PGRs, early career researchers and staff) across schools who have a comparative literature background or simply adopt a de facto comparatist approach. By doing so, we aim to foster inter-school dialogue by using literature as a springboard for discussing what it means to be a comparatist in a university – and at the University of Leeds especially – today. This may be as part of an officially-recognized academic programme (such as the BA in Comparative Literature) or under the more informal umbrella of linguistic, literary, or other approaches to inter-disciplinarity. The conversation will be centred less on literary analysis in itself than on the methodology of comparative research and on the more pragmatic and political aspects of the discipline.

Discussion topics will touch upon (but will not be limited to): the reasons for and consequences of adopting literary texts in translation as part of a curriculum; questions of employability, academic prestige and the ability to raise funds by present and future comparatists; the meaning of studying comparative literature as opposed (or in relation) to the shifting grounds and centres of world literature and postcolonial studies; the processes by which globalization affects comparative literature. Such issues, and any other topic of interest raised by participants in advance of or during the meeting, will always be discussed from a politico-literary angle.

CompLab@Leeds is sponsored by the Leverhulme project “Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary German and South African Literature,” led by Professor Stuart Taberner and is co-funded by the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies (University of Leeds).