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The Comp Lit Department sponsors lectures and lecture series, as well as two conferences organized by graduate students that rotate biennially. 


Crossroads VI: Conflicts, Contrasts, and Contradictions.

September 28-30, 2018

Keynote Address: Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Columbia University. “Blackout and other Scenarios of Catastrophe in Post-Maria Puerto Rico”

Conflicta “competitive or opposing action of incompatibles,” also “the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in … fiction” (Merriam Webster);

Contrast: a “juxtaposition of dissimilar elements,” (Merriam Webster) also, in the medical context, a solution of iodine, barium-sulphate or gadolinium, rendering visible that which is otherwise transparent: thus, bringing things to light through negativity;

Contradictionoriginating from “speaking against,” a logical incongruity in an utterance or performance, going against the expectation of internal consistency of speech.

In the sixth edition of the Crossroads Graduate Student Conference in Comparative Literature, we seek to investigate the theoretical problems situated at the intersection of the three concepts outlined above in literature, film, and other media. In the spirit of this anti-consensus approach, we seek contributions tackling heterodox positionings in scholarship, literature, and art. We are particularly interested in papers exploring representations of dissent, incompatibility, and internally flawed speech/discourse, as well as works, be they literary, filmic, or performative, that embody the contradictory, and resist consensus by emphasizing conflict as a productive strategy.


Reverberations: A Celebration of Catherine Portuges

Oct. 20

The Program in Comparative Literature, Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures, Department of Communication, The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, Women Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and the College of Humanities & Fine Arts celebrate the illustrious career of Professor Catherine Portuges on the occasion of her retirement from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Former students and colleagues reflect on her legacy and present current work.


Crossroads V: Bodily Modernities

Oct. 7-9

The Organization of Graduate Students in Comparative Literature (OGSCL) held its biennial graduate student conference "Crossroads V: Bodily Modernities: Comparing, Intersecting, and Dismembering" in Herter Hall at the University of Massachusetts. While no bides were dismembered, students from dozens of universities came and delivered papers on a variety of topics, including gender, sexuality and queer studies; race and ethnicity; bodies and consumerism; visual arts, body arts, and performance studies; and bodies, violence, and war.  The keynote speaker was Laura Winkiel from the University of Colorado Boulder, whose work foceses on modernism, empire, gender, and transnationalism.  

Graduate Student Conference in Translation Studies

April 23-24

Graduate students from nine universities participated, the most from UMass Amherst (8) and Binghamton University (7), but also students from Ottawa, University of Texas San Antonio, Kent State, Alabama, as well as as far away as Cairo and Oslo.  Translations from and into languages including Arabic, Spanish, French, Irish, Yiddish, Polish, Italian, Korean, German, and Norwegian.  Topics ranged from Translation and communities, texts and media, translation in conflict zones, bodies and gender, ethics and memory in translation.  Further, Literary translation workshops were held by Jim Hicks and Regina Galasso.  Receptions were held; UMass faculty provided feedback, and a good time was had by all.


2nd International Shakespeare Conference

September 19-20

Thirty papers were presented on translations of Shakespeare into over 20 countries, including France, Holland, Spain, Greece, and Italy  in Europe; Argentina and Brazil in South America; Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan in the Middle East; and India, China, and Japan in Asia.  Even the papers on USA translation included papers on Native American Translations in Alaska and North Dakota.  Keynote speakers include W. B. Worthen (Barnard/Columbia), Alexa Huang (Goerge Washington University), Edwin Gentzler (UMass Amherst), and Debra Anne Byrd (Harlem Shakespeare Festival in NYC), which included a live performance. 


International Shakespeare: Translation, Adaptation, and Performance

March 7-9

A conference looking at the translation, production, and reception of Shakespeare worldwide, as well as on the impact of these phenomena on the interpretation of Shakespeare’s texts. Twelve countries were represented, including three scholars from Brazil.  The conference included screenings of Shakespeare films, including many international excerpts, but also full screenings of Boris Pasternak’s Hamlet, introduced by Polina Barskova, and Burza (The Tempest), introduced by Kzrysztof Warlikowski. Keynote speakers included Jean-Michel Déprats (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense), Peter S. Donaldson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Edwin Gentzler (UMass Amherst).

Crossroads IV: Roots, Routes, Roundabouts

October 10-12

With a over dozen participants from as many universities, including Leiden, Alberta, Columbia, SUNY Buffalo, Emory, and USA, panels were held on topics such as The Limits of the Center, Spreading Roots, and Routes and Translation. The keynote address was given by Valerie Henitiuk (Grant MacEwan University). Special events included an alternative careers roundtable.


Graduate Student Conference on Translation Studies: Reading Between the Lines: Interdisciplinary Dialogue in an Expanding Field

April 27-28

This year's conference title is "Reading Between the Lines: Interdisciplinary Dialogue in an Expanding Field." Our aim is to cross disciplinary lines and foster dialogue concerning the question of translation and its role in other fields, such as sociology, philosophy, communications and the natural sciences. Translation is a tool for exchanging ideas, whether they be artistic, linguistic, cultural, technical or theoretical. No discipline can escape the use of translation, and every discipline can benefit from it. This conference aims to provide a forum for young researchers from diverse backgrounds and academic fields united by a common interest in translation and its broader applications.


Crossroads III: Dead-ends, Delays, and Detours

October 5-7

Lisa Zunshine, Bush-Holbrook Professor, Department of English, University of Kentucky.

The Organization of Graduate Students in Comparative Literature (OGSCL) held its biennial interdisciplinary conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Continuing the tradition of the Crossroads Conferences at UMass, participants offered interrogations of the discipline and the profession of comparative literature as they celebrated or problematized places of encounter, moments of discovery, instances of difference, and especially the creative possibilities arising from an array of failed efforts, unexpected outcomes, unresolved conflicts, interrupted communications, elusive subjectivities, or unfinished works.


Crossroads II

October 9-10

The Organization of Graduate Students in Comparative Literature (OGSCL) hosted an interdisciplinary conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In the spirit of our inaugural conference in 2008, this year’s Crossroads Conference continues the exploration of the possibilities of this inter-discipline that spans Literary Studies, Art History, Film Studies, Ethnic Studies, Pedagogies, and Activism. Our keynote speaker was Haun Saussy, Bird White Housum Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University.


Crossroads Conference

October 11-12

The Organization of Graduate Students in Comparative Literature (OGSCL) hosted its first interdisciplinary conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on October 11th and 12th. The 2008 Crossroads Conference facilitated a student dialogue on the extraordinary outcomes of cultural encounters, national and ideological borders, disciplines in interaction, the overlapping of distinct historical periods, the interweaving of literary genres, the symbiosis between academics and social change, and the foreplays between rhetorics of war, freedom, memory, and silence.

4th Amherst-Binghamton Translation Studies Conference

May 3-4

The Amherst-Binghamton Translation Studies Conference aims to promote a productive exchange among Translation Studies graduate students. The conference focuses on interdisciplinary areas and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas as well as an environment for examining research projects under the guidance of more experienced peers, accomplished scholars, and senior experts. Ethics and Translation Discussion Panel" with the following distinguished international scholars working on different aspects of translation and ethics: Rosemary Arrojo / Edwin Gentzler / Moira Inghilleri / Carol Maier / Francoise Massardier-Kenney / Maria Tymoczko.