Title, Author & Summary



May 12, 2015

The Politics of the Archive in Semi-Peripheries

Adam F. Kola

Although the first world, as seen through the lens of academia, seems to be prospering, and the third world has found its own place in the postcolonial intellectual order, the post-cold war world of semi-peripheries in East and Central Europe has largely disappeared from the discourse of Comparative Literature. It sometimes appears as a convenient intellectual counterpoint or is included in postmodernist or postcolonial narratives; in both cases, however, it doesn’t convey regional specificity or allow local voices to speak. Both strategies – core and postcolonial – expropriate the semi-peripheral realm of second-world non-places. Second-world memory has been blurred and occluded within academic neocolonialism and the politics of the archive.

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April 11, 2014

Archive of the Now

Jacob Edmond

The practice of comparative literature today is increasingly shaped by the contested archive of the now that is the Internet. Contemporary works of poetry increasingly assume web searching as a precondition of reading. Though massive and massively larger than a decade ago, the Internet is a highly skewed and partial archive, subject to corporate and state control, as Anonymous’s hacktivist actions and Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency remind us. The NSA and its partners are also busy compiling an archive of the now, one that would have been the envy of twentieth-century totalitarian states such as the Soviet Union and which at the same time may well be the most extensive archive ever complied for the comparative study of everyday life. To speak, then, of the archive of the now is also to acknowledge the now of the archive: the pervasiveness of archiving in our present moment, including in the theory and practice of comparative literature.

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