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Grant number like: FEL-258209-18

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Shaden M. Tageldin
University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN 55455-2009)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019

Toward a Transcontinental Theory of Modern Comparative Literature

Completion of a book-length study on the Arab-European origins of modern comparative literature.

As a discipline, comparative literature often ascribes its origins to Europe and the United States, overlooking other histories. Through the prism of Arab-European comparison, this project develops one possible transcontinental theory of the field. It traces the rise of modern comparative literature to a new regime of language—emerging in the shadows of empire and of modern scientific method, specifically empiricism—in which words increasingly were expected to be life-like, to visualize matter and to echo the actually spoken. Languages that once styled themselves larger than life—incomparable—came to share a new, modern sense—relativist and positivist—that language must mirror or echo life. This turn to nature, bonding word to world, redefined Arabic, European, and other literatures as comparable quantities.